There is a distinct flavor that I particularly like about Japanese Ramen. Something about a pork broth that has been brewing for hours on in always titillates my appetite to get a ramen fix. Hakoya is one place that I decided to visit to try and eliminate that craving. This particular location is off exit 7 from Gangnam Station – one street to the east – and does a good job soliciting that this is a place to get Japanese Ramen in Korea. The interior is small and quaint, not great for big parties, but the decor does fit the type of food that is served (for some reason, a handful of the Japanese Ramen places I’ve dined at always incorporate the colors black and red).
The waitress suggested another choice that was apparently popular amongst the customers, but I decided to order their conventional ramen, the Hakoya Ramen, and my buddy ordered a Katsu-don rice dish.
I should’ve have gone with the waitress’ recommendation. The meal comes with a small plate of kimchi and for the rice dish, a small bowl of miso soup. My ramen did look appetizing – when you’re really hungry, what food doesn’t!? The pork chasu and the other ingredients in the ramen were predictable, and the soup was lacking. I usually like my soup base to be rich, full of sodium-pork-flavored goodness, but this particular bowl was bland. It could’ve have used some more marinating time in pork flesh. Maybe this was the intended flavor of the Hakoya Ramen, but while I was slurping up the noodles, which were excellent and appropriately textured, I was tempted to ask for soy sauce. I was hoping this was going to be my “favorite Japanese Ramen restaurant in Korea”, but it wasn’t and isn’t. So the search and journey continues. I might try out some of these recommended places from a fellow grubber – Top 10 Japanese Ramen Restaurants in Seoul.
Low down: Hakoya Ramen if you you’re craving a simple bowl of ramen, Katsu-don Bowl.
Address: 824-22 Yeoksam-dong