Scallops and ramen don’t exactly go together, and you need something to bond the two elements together. Unfortunately, Ramen Kiou forgot that binding element, and their Hotate Chashu Ramen ($17.90++) felt odd & disjointed. The ramen is decent, but the main attraction of scallops never quite fit into the bowl of noodles.

Ramen Kiou’s tonkotsu (pork bone) & vegetable broth is pressure cooked for five hours, which gives it a savoury, full bodied yet light flavour. It’s slightly sticky on your lips thanks to the collagen leeched from the bones, and I thought it to be somewhat milky even though I doubt that any dairy was added. It’s also pretty peppery too, as my throat did protest a little as I jubilantly slurped the soup. The noodles were perfection, with a sprightly springiness & a velvety smoothness that facilitates easy slurping.

One pleasant surprise about Ramen Kiou is that they put a lot of veggies into each bowl of ramen, and the crunchy cabbage & beansprouts were a welcome change from the softness of everything else. The char siew (or chashu) was possibly the finest one ever found in a bowl of ramen. A thicker than usual slice of pork belly belly is braised in Ramen Kiou’s proprietary aged chashu stock, and you can really taste said stock. The strong shoyu based stock pervades every molecule of tender pork belly, producing an incredibly deep & savoury soy scent with every last bite that cancels out any possible porkiness.

The scallops themselves are gargantuan, and they are passably fresh, but they just don’t fit into this ravishing bowl of ramen. It would’ve been better if they came as a side dish instead of being shoehorned awkwardly into the terrific tonkotsu ramen that didn’t need any extra assistance. I’d definitely return for another bowl of ramen, just not the Hotate Chashu Ramen.

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