Friday, April 21, 2006

★★★ ひごもんず (Higomonzu) - Tokyo

Higomonzu is originally from Kumamoto city, located in the southern part of Japan on the island of Kyushu. Kumamoto style ramen is similar to the Hakata style where the soup is pure white and mainly from tonkotsu (pork bone), though Kumamoto style ramen usually has a stronger tonkotsu smell. I tried the 特製ラーメン which included extra toppings of cha-shu pork and kakuni stewed tender pork.

The Soup - is a combination of tonkotsu and chicken stock. It was very rich, but surprisingly void of any of the signature strong tonkotsu smell. I've never had tonkotsu soup that was so light and easy to eat, I thoroughly enjoyed it. The soup had a little garlic oil on it, garlic always goes well with tonkotsu soup. You can add some more freshly ground garlic that's available on every table though I would advise against adding too much, the soup had little of the tonkotsu smell to begin with and the garlic can overpower the relatively light soup.

The Noodle - was straight and thin like the other ramen from Kyushu island. The noodles were also very firm. Nothing extraordinary, just good noodles that complimented the lighter tonkotsu soup well.

The Toppings - were awesome. Very tender cha-shu, even more tender were the kakuni stewed pork. They literally melt in your mouth. Other toppings included menma bamboo, nori dried seaweed and lightly cooked cabbage. I had an issue with the cabbage since I felt the flavor and texture of the cabbage didn't match the soup.

Overall - The soup was the star of this ramen for me. I probably won't find another tonkotsu soup that is as light, creamy and delicious. The toppings were very memorable as well. Overall I highly recommend this to people who have never tried or resisted tonkotsu because of its strong smell. Give Hogomonzu a try first and then go challenge the other tonkotsu chains like Nanden-Kanden or Ippudou.


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