Thursday, January 23, 2014

博多一幸舍 Hakata Ikkousha - (Hong Kong)

 多一幸舍  [Hakata Ikkousha]  is originally from 九州 Kyushu of Japan and well recognized for their Pork Tonkotsu broth ramens.   Although tonkotsu soup bases are becoming quite cliched as there are dozens more styles in Japan,  their proliferation all over the globe is a genuine sign of it’s deserved success much like the current Bao movement (pun intended!).    In Japan,  Hakata Ikkousha is rated highly along with the likes of Jangara,  Hide-Chan and Ichiran Ramen.   Their original Hakata Ikkousha shop was permanently featured as one of the best rated  Ramen Shops in Kyushu.  Over here in Hong Kong they have also recently opened up an independent shop which breaks away from their previous Ramen Champion location.



吉村幸助,  the Founder of Hakata Ikkousha Ramen -
Quite well regarded for his Pork Tonkotsu ramen in Hakata city of Kyushu.  




Using a mixture of secret ingredients and only well-soaked pork bone -
It is suppose to be very creamy and ridding of the heavy pork smell.   “こってり Kotteri” thick style soup is already expected here, just without the floating back bone fat on the soup surface (背脂).


Customizable Menu -
I personally appreciate this customizable ordering style but outside of Japan,  I do think it opens up the Pandora’s Box?   My reason for saying this is because Hong Kong Hakata Ikkousha re-tuned their recipes for what they calculate Hong Kong customers expect – it’s meant to be less salty and less oily.  So if a Customer wants to eat the exact same flavour as the default flavor in Japan -  how should we go about ordering it?  I actually much prefer shops to make their ramens to be 99% the same as their Japan counterpart.   Hands up if you agree?     Pointing upPointing up

Original Tonkotsu Ramen with Egg and Beni Shoga Ginger -
I have had this in Japan and also their previous shop at Ramen Champion at Jordan.  This version was surprisingly more on the lighter side in terms of soup broth density.   I already ordered the original Japanese flavour and not toned-down version,  and although this was correct in Saltiness, it could do with much more Creaminess and Thickness to compensate to be a true Hakata style broth base contender.    ~  6.5/10


Noodles Cooked Super-Hard..
I always order Thin Noodles as super-hard as they will eventually go soft after some time soaking in the hot broth anyway.  Wait for the right moment to slurp them all up at the right time.   The noodles didn’t have much taste however.



Soft Boiled Egg -
This was cooked just right.  It was runny enough,  but we expected more Eggy taste or Marination taste.   The Egg is not already sliced in half,  because the Hakata Ikkousha kitchen believes the runny egg yolk shouldn't run down to the soup base and affect the base broth's taste.  ~  6/10



Pork Collar - 豚肩肉
Actually this looked different to my previous Ikkousha experiences either in Japan or in HK’s previous shop.   Less round but thicker,  over 3 different bowls this performed differently..     ~ 6 - 8/10

Black Sesame and Fried Garlic Oil Ramen -   黑芝麻炸蒜油
This was more Kumamoto 熊本 style by default,  not too far away from central Kyushu.  It is supposed to be heavier and more oilier,  and the version today was more about Black sesame though.   It was likeable but not as heavy as expected.   I liked this personally than the original Tonkotsu version above,  only because the original was missing layering compared to the Japanese real version ~  7/10



Mentaiko,  Seafood and Pork Tonkotsu Ramen - 紅拉麵 明太子海鮮

Another Kyushu Specialty the slightly spicy Mentaiko fish roe made the broth base much more exotic.  Although not the most basic recipe which put Hakata Ikkousha into their fame -  this tweaked version had us swooning more than the above Original Tonkotsu version.   Quite Likeable.   ~  7.5/10

博多一口餃子 – Hitoguchi One Bite Gyozas
Hakata Ikkousha is actually quite famous for their Gyozas.  The version here is smaller in size,  named correctly to be taken with 1 bite in the mouth.   If only they can cook it more crispier and even on the surface...    ~  6.9/10

博多竜田揚げ - Hakata Tatsuta-Age Chicken
This was moist and came with some spicy dry dip.  Some people said this could arrive with more wetter Mayo sauce.  But this is how it is more usually done with the side salty spice mix.   Personally I thought this was done really well and a highlight,  because it is original in recipe.   ~  8/10




Fried Rice - チャーハン
A prerequisite of any Japanese ramen meals.  I liked this Fried Rice course although it was too salty.   As least it was dry fluffy,  but not too enjoyable without much distinctive flavours within.. ~  6.5/10



The Whole Experience was Re-adjusted to Hong Konger’s expected taste -

I dislike this approach.  The Ramen Sauce on the left is made of 20 different seafood based ingredients and usually already added into the base soup,  but here and not available at the original Japanese shops it is acting more like a 返し Kaeshi sauce,  usually reserved for 長浜 Nagahama style ramens for re-tuning the broth to your expected saltiness... I think this shop got a few bits mixed up,  but Hong Kongers only have themselves to blame too!  Most people curse shops for putting MSG in the soup when they become thirsty afterwards,  only because 7 Million people here can’t understand the correlation between Umami and a long boiled soup broth with garlic or spices.  Most HK customers also expect richness or Kokumi,  yet they just don’t expect as much Saltiness nor Umami input, and they can’t tolerate any floating fats.   あつさりこってり style is actually precisely what Hong Kong people expect.  This shop meanwhile tried to re-adjust the formula to be it あっさり薄い for the HK market.  I think they will be much more successful if they can just make it like the Original Japanese version!




Price:  $150  (Meal was by Arrangement by UFood Magazine)
Ease of Access:   4/5
Food:  ♕♕♕ 1/2 to ♕♕♕♕

G/F, 39 Tang Lung Street, Causeway Bay,  Hong Kong Island

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