This is definitely not a new find. I have been to Santouka so many times that it surprises me that I have never got around to writing a review. Long overdue review indeed.
Tucked away in a corner on the second level, Santouka Ramen is a small establishment with roughly around 20 tables inside. Be prepared to queue if you are here during lunch or dinner when the queue stretches from the door along the wall outside to the nearby Chinese restaurant. It is a small cozy restaurant where you would stay only long enough to finish your bowl of delicious ramen. The queue outside discourages inconsiderate souls from sitting around after your meal.
The Roasted Pork Cheek ($19.90) with a bowl of ramen was apparently a popular dish so I decided to go with that the other day. Indeed, the slices of Roasted Pork Cheek were lean and yet so very tender. There was no fatty meat at all yet it tasted so soft and delicious. They were very well braised and I loved the flavour in the meat. You could choose the soup base - shoyu (soya sauce), shio (salt), or miso. I took shoyu because I wanted to try something different from my usual shio. Shoyu was definitely more salty than shio and I think I would stick with shio the next time I come around.
The good friend I was with shared with me the awesome Santouka Membership Plan. I had to download the QRreader (which is honestly such a stupid thing that I felt sorry for having to download it) and scan the code on the membership card attached to the menu. After scanning the code, I would be directed to another page where I had to fill in my details. When that was successful, I showed the page to the cashier when I was paying for my ramen. I was given a 1 for 1 coupon that I could use anytime in the next month!
Sometime that week I received an email (since I was now a member on their mailing list) informing me that Santouka was having a 1 for 1 promotion from 4 February 2014 to 18 February 2014. Being the auntie that I am and since I was so hooked to their ramen recently, I dragged the boyfriend for dinner one day after work. The promotion was limited to certain types of ramen so we both chose the Char Siu Ramen ($17.70). We both opted for Shio Ramen this time.
The slices of char siu were definitely more fatty and marbly as compared to the Roasted Pork Cheek. The char siu was still delicious and well-braised but you would not fancy it if you did not like fatty meat. I am not much of a fan of fatty meat so I would prefer the Roasted Pork Cheek. The Shio soup base was also lighter than the shoyu soup base.
The proximity of Santouka Ramen to my office means that I will definitely be back soon.