Rating: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
The hunt for the perfect ramen bowl continued. I woke in partial sweats after witnessing the street riots, police, smokebombs, bins on fire, from the safety of my 18th floor hotel room. The situation in Hong Kong was tense, but not tense enough to really notice during the day. A sort of "night hides it all" approach had been adopted the last week, with nightly riots placated by the coming dawn.
I had never felt in danger, but I was worried for the locals watching the iron grip of Northern might crush individuality and freedom with every passing day.
Ramen distracts from the realities of life, and today was the turn of Taifu. A fifteen minute walk, a ten minute wait, and a corner perch suited me dandy. I ordered and sat mesmerised by the spackling of notes hung all over the insides, like distress scratchings on a multicoloured cave.
Tsukemen (dipping) style ramen is not something I naturally gravitate too. I far prefer noodles submerged in a hot broth, supported by achingly succulent pork slices, a soft marinated egg, menma and whatever else the chef is in the mood for. The thought of lifting noodles that go instantly cold and sticky, dipping into extremely pungent broth (that cools hastily) and then having to eat the egg as an afterthought, it just doesn't tickle my fancy.
Ramen Taifu didn't change my mind.
The quality of the noodles was distinguishable, but the broth had a murky unnerving sweetness to it that reminded me of the gravy left at the end of a christmas dinner when the cranberry sauce has bled into it and made it sweeter than it was initially. A squeeze of lemon did little to combat it and I slurped a few sad noodles into my mouth and figured it was better to save some stomach real-estate for a better meal later that afternoon.
In Hong Kong you have to make every single meal count.
These recommendations are just personal opinions based on my palate, things change, chefs get fired or replaced, places open-close, relocate, so take it all with a pinch of MSG and discover your own gems too. But please do try a few of these, they have been researched exhaustively.
"Sadness is tempered by umami, grief by the motion of slurping, hope restored by the ladling of glistening, fatty broth"