Friday, December 30, 2011

HIDE-CHAN Ramen (Hong Kong)

My Uncle Donald took me to HIDE-CHAN Ramen for lunch one day for some quality uncle-niece bonding time. HIDE-CHAN Ramen, located right between SoHo and Lan Kwai Fong, is listed in the "Bib Gourmand" section of "Michelin Guide Hong Kong & Macau 2012". As you may know, I posted about Kenzo Ramen in Toronto a while back where I voiced my frustration about the lack of ramen places (or good ones) in Toronto. Having said that, why not see how ramen is like in Hong Kong? So when my uncle asked me what I wanted for lunch, I told him I wanted ramen and he knew exactly where to take me. Turns out it was was his first time going to HIDE-CHAN Ramen too.

From HIDE-CHAN Ramen's website: 

"Set up in 1993 by Hideto Kawahara, Hide-Chan serves up a ramen taste that is a perfect cross between novelty and tradition. With a vision of creating a taste that surpasses that of Fukuoka ramen his father devoted to crafting for almost 50 years, he opened his very first HIDE-CHAN Ramen in Fukuoka in Japan. Kawahara then brought his special blend to Akasaka in Tokyo in 2002 and to New York City in 2010 to continue serving up the thick and rich tastes that transcend two generations."

What sets HIDE-CHAN Ramen apart from other ramen places is its tonkotsu stock; their soup base is created by boiling pork legs for at least 24 hours. The thick stock is then put through eight different procedures. According to HIDE-CHAN Ramen, the water used in the ramen making is controlled through several purification processes to adjust for the acidity to yield water that is similar to the water used in the HIDE-CHAN Ramen in Japan. Intense!

Line-ups out the door during lunch is the norm at HIDE-CHAN Ramen so my uncle suggested we go at noon (most people have lunch at 1pm or later in Hong Kong).

HIDE-CHAN Ramen is very tiny; it only has seating around the sides of the restaurant (as in, no tables in the middle).

We sat in front of the kitchen.

HIDE-CHAN Ramen features 3 distinct soup bases (description taken from their website):

1. White Hide for the original thick tonkotsu taste that boasts a rich source of collagen; added to it our homemade sauce which rounds off the soup with a great aroma. It is MSG free too!

2. Black Hide for the charred garlic tastes the gives the tonkotsu soup base a fantastic, intriguing aroma

3. Red Hide for tonkotsu soup base that is added with a special Korean sweet chilli sauce to refresh and excite your tastebuds.

You can also customize your ramen on this order sheet.

Pan-seared Hakata Dumplings. These were nothing special.

My uncle's White Hide Ramen.

My Black Hide Ramen.

The menu at the restaurant actually did not have the detailed description of the three different soup bases I listed above, if it did I would have chosen the Red Hide instead of the Black Hide. Not that the Black Hide wasn't good but I wasn't feeling the charred-garlic (a bit too charred for my liking....of course this is just personal taste). What I did like was the consistency, thickness, and the richness of the soup base as well as the thin, smooth texture and chewy-ness of the ramen (basically everything else besides the charred-garlic flavour LOL!)

Hopefully I will get to try the Red Hide Ramen one day! Oh, my uncle liked his White Hide Ramen =)