TONTORO RAMEN :
One of the BEST TONKOTSU RAMEN in Kagoshima
Welcome to a new episode of Ramen Escapade Japan where your host, Le Captain Foodie, travels around Japan to review the best Ramen Restaurants available.
In Today’s episode, i am bringing you to the relaxing city of Kagoshima, in the island of Kyushu. Where i followed the footsteps of the king of pork in Japan, the black pig named Kurobuta.
The equation for this escapade was really simple: Kagoshima’s black pig Kurobuta is renowned for being the most tender and tastiest pork in Japan. Now imagine a Tonkotsu Ramen made of this delightful Kurobuta pork. You get it right? One can expect a creamy and tasty broth topped with delightful slices of Chashu pork. Heaven on a bowl? That’s what i dreamed of during my stay in Kagoshima. In fact, it is probably every Tonkotsu addict’s dream, a comforting bowl of Tonkatsu made from the best pork available in Japan. It was time to find out if Kagoshima could answer my challenge. I can already tell you that Tontoro Tenmonkan Ramen does not disappoint.
TONTORO RAMEN 豚とろラーメン :
Tontoro Ramen was not a random choice. It is a renowned Ramen restaurant in the city of Kagoshima. (In fact, they have several branches in Kagoshima). Tontoro Ramen has been recommended to me as one of the best tonkotsu Ramen in Kagoshima, Especially when you try to get your hands on a Tonkotsu ramen made of the famous black pig Kurobuta.
The restaurant i visited is the Tenmokan branch. It is located near the busiest area of Kagoshima, Tenmonkan street. The closest tram station is Takamibaba or Izurodori. The other branches are also at walking distance from Tenmonkan street. Both branches are renowned to be busy but it wasn’t the case on the day we visited.
A bit of information about Tontoro Ramen. The name says it all. Tontoro ( 豚とろ) can be translated as Fatty pork in Japanese. From Ton 豚 Pork and Toro とろ Fatty. You get it? Fatty pork Ramen. That sounds pretty appealing to me.
Just to add, Tontoro Ramen has taken part for many years in the Best Ramen of Kagoshima contest scoring interesting places.
In terms of layout, the restaurant has an interesting set up with counter seats an low tables where you sit on directly on the tatami mat floor. We went to the counter seats.
CHASHUMEN AT TONTORO:
KING OF PORK AND SOULFUL HEAVEN:
If we were in a Cowboy Bebop episode, this review would probably have a cool name such as King of Pork & Soulful Heaven. When i think about my experience at Tontoro it brings me back to music. The warm voice of saxophone and the devilish rhythm of Rock n Roll, it’s all there is to know about Tontoro. The punchy flavour of the Kurobuta pork will shake you like a riff of ACDC while the heartwarming tonkotsu broth will comfort you as an improvised solo of Charlie Bird Parker would.
Me and my brother ordered several items including the traditional Gzoya, (What is a Ramen without the classic RGB Combo, Ramen, Gyoza, Beer?), a plate of pork called Tsumami Chashu fatty slices of braised pork) and two Chashumen with extra toppings.
The Gyoza were pretty decent an the tsumami pork was succulent and tender. I really recommend both if you are hungry
Now let’s talk about the chashumen review.
Broth: The broth of the Chashumen served at Tontoro is incredible. Let me clarify one thing here. When you order a Chashumen in the city where the best pork of Japan is produced, you expect three things: Tenderness, Creaminess and Umami. We are not here to discuss ten layers of complexity, yuzu or truffle flavoured broth … We are here to taste a broth made of pork bones from the best pig in Japan. Our goal here is to be taken away by a tsunami of flavour, umami and aburi. After a few sips of the broth, the creaminess an taste will propel you to the Tonkotsu heaven. The cloudy broth is warm, generous, comforting.
Noodles: The noodles served with the Chashumen are of medium size whereas i was hoping for thicker noodles. Don’t get me wrong, they marry the ramen perfectly. Then it is just me and my preference. The noodles’ bit is firm with a decent Koshiness.
Pork: Here we are, *drum rolls*. Was it worth it? Was it really an absolute blast, a pork heaven reigning high above other cities of Japan? The answer is yes. The pork was perfect, super tender with a perfect ratio of meat and fat. You take one bit and the pork melt in your mouth. The taste was impressive, one of the best pork i had serve with a ramen. I definitely recommend the Chashumen for the extra slices of Chashu.
Toppings: The toppings were pretty decent. The Menma (Bamboo shoots) were superb, thick and crunchy. Same for the egg, creamy and tasty as it should be. The rest is also a great addition to the broth, negi, radish, Fried chili and onions.
Size: With all the toppings, the extra slices of chashu and the two appetisers, we ended the meal full and happy.
Service: We were the only foreigners when we visited. The staff was all smile with us and really friendly. Quick service.
Price: ¥950 for the Chashumen. ¥420 for the gyoza and ¥580 for the tsumami Chashu. A real bargain!
Overall: After eating a lot of Tonkotsu Ramen in Fukuoka a few days earlier, we thought it would be difficult to appreciate again a decent Tonkotsu in other cities. We have set our expectations quite high when we visited Tontoro and it does not disappoint. The Chashumen is a must try if you are all about that piggy heartwarming comfy food. We left the place satisfied with a grin on our faces. Once again, the King of pig Kurobuta gave us his blessing to continue on our food adventures in Kagoshima.
“The Tonkotsu broth made of Kurobuta is an absolute blast.
The slices of Chashu pork are divine.
Probably one of the best ramen in Kagoshima”
Price for value: 5/5
9-41 山之口町 Kagoshima, Kagoshima Prefecture 892-0844, Japan
Opening Hours :
- Everyday : 11:00am – 03:30am