The cooler weather prompted me to go exploring in search of a few more yummy addresses for the upcoming winter. I already have some staples for udons and bubble tea (which I’ll be drinking warm now!).
I was curious about this address when I saw on their storefront that they had won “Best Gyoza award” in Japan. The best ones I ever tasted so far were in a small restaurant in Nagoya : I really wanted to see what these had to offer!
However it must be noted that Hakata Choten specializes in ramen, wheat noodle soups and more specifically the Tonkotsu ramen (with a pork bone broth that has been left to simmer for 24h). Let’s see what this is all about!
The design is all red and black (reminescent of Stendhal’s literary masterpiece, or a Jeanne Mas song, for you francophiles out there).
I started with a bottle of “Ramune”, a japanese lemonade (you’ll be familiar with it if – like me – you love getting lost in japanese grocery stores).
It’s a classical lemonade, but it’s all about puncturing the bottleneck and freeing the glass marble inside (I never really understood it’s purpose, except the thrill of doing something unusual).
The whole place has an “enhanced japanese canteen” vibe.
For starters we tried the gyozas. And they’re right to flaunt their award, ’cause it’s well deserved: the gyozas are delicious. There are 3 sorts: classic, with spicy red miso and leek.
We reasonably opted for the first two sorts only, knowing we had also ordered a bowl of ramen.
Gyozas with the chef’s own spicy miso
They are both crisp and soft. Quite up to par with those I have had in Japan. My favorite are the spicy miso ones (even if I’ll admit they’re not “hardcore” spicy): I could come back just for some more of those!
The menu (very straightforward and well thought by the way) gives you a historic recap of the tonkotsu ramen: noodles in a rather thick pork bone broth (thanks to a cook who inadvertently left his cooking pot on the fire for too long in 1947 – post war emotion no doubt)
Ajitama (flavored boiled) egg Tonkotsu Ramen
I tried the classic Tonkotsu ramen, with ajitama egg.
Don’t wait around too long to dig in once you have your ramen: the noodles are a bit thiner than usual, and cooked al dente, so the perfect texture is a matter of minutes (so forget your instagram and pictures, enjoy the moment! Haha, can’t believe I’m telling you this while presenting you with a post full of pictures!)
Special Tonkotsu Ramen with Ajitama
You can choose your “broth intensity” when you order (less or more fatty/diluted/salty): “medium” was perfect for us! My SO was delighted with his “special” Tonkotsu ramen with ajitama egg, and broth flavoured with roasted garlic and red miso (same as with the gyozas!). Truly delicious.
Long story short…
A great place to warm up with a bowl of broth and delicious gyozas.
You need to get there pretty early for lunch/dinner if you don’t want to wait outside (even though it’s a pretty good sign that the place is worth the wait!). Next time, I’ll be back without my camera to max out my tasting/enjoyment conditions (and to try the leek gyozas!) but I had to share this address with you asap! (English translation by Marine)
53 Rue des Petits Champs