My first visit to this place was back in early Nov 2010, a few days before its prime time TV feature which created the recent hype on this little ramen joint with about a dozen seats. M (from eatshowandtell) and I waited for about 10 minutes only back then instead of the average 1 hour or perhaps 2 hours wait nowadays? It took me this long to blog about it because I wanted to give the rest of the ramen selection a try first. However, any queue for food that requires more than 30 mins wait and less than 10 mins consumption time will likely skip. Therefore, I might as well share my experiences now in the middle of the hype. If you require a more detail insight into the different selection during this hype, please check with e_tingfood.com (also Facebook Fan Page) and tomeatsjencooks.com, both who recently went an hour before it opens on a Saturday morning for its first bowl of ramen. Based on my latest information, the y have limited the supply of ramen per day to 200 bowls ....
so what's so special about this place? I am sure there are plenty of articles floating around which many readers in Hong Kong may have read already. To cut the story short, the owner of this joint, Meter Chen, hired a ramen chef from Japan and there you go! There are basically 4 selections of ramen, namely, Yellow, Black, Red and Green. Yellow King is the normal one with pork based soup and the Black King one is the more intense one with squid ink I think. Red King is spicy and Green King is the basil & parmesan. Heard that there is also a curry one called Genki King which is not always available.
What I found interesting, at least in Hong Kong, was how they use the customize options with regards to the intensity of the soup and the addition of various condiments to the ramen. It is quite common in Japan but no in Hong Kong unfortunately. Then again, it would work only if what we checked were what we get at he end.
Out of the 4 choices, I somehow picked the spicy one to try. My refined order was as shown below on the sheet with harder ramen, intense flavors, 2X special sauce and onsen egg.
I enjoy a bit of oil in all my food so I did not really mind the thin layer of oil that floated on top of the soup. And it was quite spicy once you mixed up the red ball in the middle.
How was the rest? Well, the ramen itself were ... soft, onsen egg slightly overcooked, the thin layer of oil wasn't really that thin afterall and the soup was not as intense and rich as I expected. Not exactly what I requested I am afraid. (perhaps because I did not have the chance to compared with the other ramen selection?) Avg 1.5 hours wait for this bowl ramen? I am not too sure.
- The small joint with about a dozen seats (and how we had to seat on the street section) gave me a warm / cozy feeling which reminded how I enjoyed my Ramen off the street in Tokyo a few years back.
- That was not a thin layer of oil ... there were MANY thin layers of oil.
- Ramen texture way softer than I expected (even when I ordered harder ramen)
- Avg 1+ hour wait? No thank you!
Butao Ramen 豚王
G/F, Wo On Building,
8-13 On Lane Street, Central
Tel: 2530 0600
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