If there is one type of food I could eat every single day of my life whether it was for breakfast,  lunch or dinner….it would have to be Ramen.  It doesn’t matter where in the world I am either, I always have to find out of there’s a Ramen stand or restaurant nearby where I’m staying.

My first taste of Ramen came when I was a little tyke, probably about the time when I was around 6 or 7 back in the 80’s (guess how old I am).  I can’t remember where it was but there was this little Ramen stand, I think it was an Ezogiku somewhere in town.  I use to go with my mom and dad and they’d let me share some of their Shoyu Ramen and Gyoza.  It was always there or the old Banzai Ramen…which is now a photography studio on the corner of Pensacola and King Street.

Taste is pretty subjective but I do have my favorites around town.  There are so many Ramen joints popping up it’s hard to break them up.  I’ll send a shout out to places like Ezogiku, Tokyo Noodle House (Kapolei), Tai Sei Ramen, Ayame Curry House Ramen, Sumo Ramen and Genki Ramen…I’ve dined at all, and all have satisfied but…there are a few joints in my opinion that stand out above the rest.  Check them out when you have a chance.  Let me know what you think…

I’ll start with Tier #2 and work my way up the ladder…

  • Goma Tei Ramen. Much love for the size of the portions and the type of broth. But…I stuck them here b/c the last few times I went to the Ala Moana branch, the soup was a bit watery.  Still like the Ward version better.  Tried their veggie cold noodle before since everyone has raved about it but I wasn’t impressed. I’ll stick to the Tan Tan Ramen.
  • Tenkaippin Ramen. Let me say first that I think their Koterri Ramen is gross but I hear a lot of folks love it.  It’s a bit too rich for me. I thought it would be like Paitan but this is so much thicker.  If it weren’t for the Gyoza and the Shoyu aka Asari Ramen, I’d probably leave them off the list.  I feel they are a bit overrated and their portions are unfortunately small for what you’re paying.  I also hear that they actually ship in the broth from Japan since this is a franchise. Sorry.
  • Kohnotorri is known for their Yakitori but if you have a chance, check out their spicy Kim Chee Miso Ramen.  It’s a nice ending to a hearty meal.
  • Rai Rai Ramen. My first ever love for Ramen that had the cloudy broth. I would go here more often if the parking where more available. I use to go there all the time when it was in Kaimuki across the street from City Mill.  At least they had somewhat of a parking lot there.  I love the garlic chips they throw in the ramen too.
  • Raraya Ramen. Okay so I’ve actually never had the Ramen here but I do love Tsukemen.  If you don’t like salty foods you won’t like it here but if you request the broth “less salty,” “less oily,” and the noodles firm…you’ll love the Tsukemen.  Plus if you get it with the soft boiled shoyu egg and Kim Chee, you’ll be smiling…but…sorry to get you all psyched because this place closed down recently.  Apparently I heard that the owner contracted Hepatitis and had to close the restaurant because he didn’t have time to cook anymore. 😦

    Tsukemen combo @ Raraya Ramen

    And the places I’ll go to in a heartbeat, the Tier #1 haunts for me….

  • Kiwami Ramen. Located in the Waikiki Shopping Plaza they have exquisite bowls of Ramen. I love this place because ever since Taishoken closed they are one of the few places that serves Tsukemen with homemade noodles.  The broth here is delicious too.  The only knock on this place is the fact that they don’t serve gyoza and they don’t validate parking.

Spicy Shoyu Tsukemen from Kiwami Ramen

Shoyu Ramen from Kiwami

  • Ramen Nakamura. Why are some of the best Ramen joints in Waikiki where there is no parking and so hard to get to?! This places is a winner. The broth is a mix between Rai Rai’s cloudy broth but there’s just something about it that warms you up and sends you out the door happily on your way. The gyoza here is not too shabby either plus they give Kamaaina discount!

Shoyu Ramen from Ramen Nakamura

  • Yotteko-ya Ramen in the McCully Shopping Center. I come here for one thing…and one thing only!  The Paitan Ramen. It’s Oishii. It’s a thicker broth, but not as thick as the version  you get at Tenkappin.  I get it with the gyoza, kim chee and char siu rice.  All are winner.  I hear the thicker homemade pork Ramen is the best (Kakuni Ramen) but they only serve so many per day.  I have yet to try it because I’m hooked on the Paitan broth.  You can get the noodles a little harder (Japanese style) or softer (Local style).  Throwing in some Kim Chee to the soup gives it that nice extra kick.

Paitan Ramen from Yotteko-ya

  • Goma Ichi. This is here above Goma-Tei because they’re the original. Their broth is also consistently better than Goma-Tei’s. Aside from the Tan Tan Ramen the Sung Hon (hot sour) broth is a favorite of mine. The service is friendly, Rika is always smiling and willing to talk story when she’s not pushing bowls out

Sung Hon Ramen from Goma Ichi

  • Ichiriki is the last on the list. They aren’t a Ramen establishment per se, they specialize in Nabe’s.  But what I do love is at the end of your nabe dinner, they bring you some noodles to enjoy with the soup and it’s comparable to any top Ramen establishment.  I just went there last night and I’m already craving it again!

Well there you have it. That’s my list….for now since I’m always changing my mind.  What are you thoughts for local Ramen establishments?  I think I could write another excerpt on the places I’ve been to outside of Hawaii but that’s for another day…


5 responses to this post.

  1. NONE of the ラーメン (ramen) places in Hawaii are like what you get in Japan…of course. That being said, I do like Kiwami, and surprisingly I do like the ラーメン at Gyukaku. There are places you’ve listed in which I’d have to pass~ LoL. Yes, I’m picky.


  2. I haven’t been to any of those places! I must be missing out…


  3. Posted by Joanna on March 13, 2010 at 10:08 am

    I heart ramen too . . .


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