Monday, December 6, 2010

Butao Ramen 豚王

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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 Pageand 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 ....


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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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Likes: 
  • 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. 
Dislikes: 
  • 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! 
Avg Spending: Below HKD 100 per person

Butao Ramen 豚王
G/F, Wo On Building,
8-13 On Lane Street, Central
Tel: 2530 0600




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12 comments:

HK Epicurus said...

I am so glad you pointed out the fact - having Self Optional Choices on a sheet of paper is authentic. Some people seem to think its too fussy or inauthentic, just because they haven't seen it in Japan b4. Even most shops without the fill-in sheet can cater for your needs anyway upon request!

As for the ramen here let's hope for the best when (and if) it improves ! :P

e_ting said...

I like the ticksheets too. If only the ramen was really "hard"/"normal"... Also, just from your photos, it looked like your ramen were a little thicker than mine (but maybe it's my eyes). Hopefully I'll have time to write up a blog post soon. Thanks for the links!

Mochachocolata Rita said...

soft ramen? ewwwww

cheeky angel said...

I don't understand this wait more than 30 mins for food in HK logic, and definitely not for a bowl of noodles! However, this is HK, & when the big local TV company does a show featuring the place, you know it's going to be trouble getting a table after it airs. I often wonder how genuine the views that are presented on their shows are and how much reads more like a scripted infomercial.

Luckily, you went in its early days and before the hype that now surrounds it.

Minh said...

Sometimes I think people like lining up for the sake of lining up! I'm more than guilty of this lol.

I did like the fun of being able to having the self options, but ended up checking everything on the normal list to see what their standard was like!

Had much fun that night, thanks for showing me around :D

Suzanne said...

Thanks for posting this!!! This place was actually on my "must-try" list because I read about the other day in the magazine, but I think you just saved me from wasting my money and being let down by another Ramen place! :))

Jason said...

@Suzanne: I think the whole experience got downgraded because of the line up. I think it is still worth a go when the hype dies down ... not sure when though consider we are in Hong Kong and we are talking about food. sigh ...

Jason said...

@Minh: The pleasure was all mine! We were lucky that we went before the hype!

Jason said...

@Cheeky Angel: I often doubt the commentary on TV food shows especially in Hong Kong. I cannot recall one the last time I heard something bad was being consumed haha ... or something not with the expression of "Woah!" haha ...

On the other hand, it is like the necessary evil in some cases and it is not about genuine views but more of the marketing perspectives, unfortunately.

I think the logic behind lining up is often the urge not to miss out on things, no matter if people are familiar with what they are lining up for.

Jason said...

@Rita: very unflattering indeed with soft noodles. Again, personal preferences only :)

@HKEpicurus: Many people are not willing to accept new facts, facts that are to them. There is a great difference between the two in my opinion. The Option Sheet is a new fact to many but the fact itself is nothing new indeed haha ... okay, I am confusing myself now! :)

HK Epicurus said...

You're speaking in cryptic terms, haha and I like the way you phrased it!

Anonymous said...

Was there last month and waited 1 hour. Not worth the wait. If you want real ramen and not get suckered into the hype go to Mutekiya in Tokyo.

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