Hakata Ikkousha is another ramen branch directly imported from Japan. They specialize in Hakata style ramen, which translates into a milky tonkotsu broth and thin, straight noodles.
The mastermind behind Hakata Ikkousha is Kousuke Yoshimura, who is very passionate and very devoted and obsessive about the ramen coming out of the kitchen.
The ramen has won numerous awards over the years including Ultimate Ramen Champion in 2011 and 2012, selling well over 100,000 bowls each year, and now has branches in the US, Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Indonesia, China, and Australia in addition to the branches in Japan.
TV’s throughout the restaurant played looped videos about Mr. Yoshimura, and Hakata Ikkousha’s ramen making and awards, along with huge signs in their quest for global ramen domination.
The menu is fairly simple and straightforward with only a handful of different ramen options, with additional toppings that can be added a la carte.
The basic tonkotsu ramen comes with a creamy, milky and foamy broth adorned with negi (green onions), wood ear mushrooms, thin slices of pork, and tomago (egg).
The broth has a deep, rich porky flavor that is not too salty. Perhaps that deep, porky flavors is due to the bubbles in the broth. The broth is poured from a height to give the broth its bubbles, and to help aerate the broth to expand its flavor, much like pulled tea in India.
The “God Fire” ramen is a combination of the tonkotsu with chile, that can be ordered from levels 1-4. The God Fire ramen looks like an angry bowl of molten lava, amidst the calming sight of the negi, mushrooms, egg and pork. The ramen is able to maintain its porky goodness, and is not overpowered by the chile thereby retaining its most important qualities.
Many times ramen restaurants that tout the spiciness of their soup are trying to cover up the inferior taste of their broth.
The egg is cooked perfectly, just barely wobbling between soft boiled and remaining uncooked.
Accompaniments already set on the table include gyoza sauce, ramen sauce, spicy pickled vegetables, ginger (sorry Mary Ann), garlic, sesame seeds, and pepper.
Hakata Ikkousha is a welcome sight to the ramen scene in the US, but I still slightly prefer Santouka’s ramen.