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The hit noodle spot serves five types of signature ramen

Beloved ramen bar Mengokoro Kunimoto was founded in 2011 in the special ward of Katsushika in Tokyo. Despite having just 12 seats, this small family-owned restaurant has become immensely popular thanks to owner Kunimoto-san’s dedication to serving the best ramen to his customers. 

In April this year, the restaurant was even named the best ramen bar in Katsushika City, making it a must-visit destination for noodle fans from around the globe. 

Mengokoro Kunimoto has now chosen Hong Kong as first destination for its first branch store. To achieve the same quality and taste that made the original establishment so popular, the Hong Kong branch will import most of its ingredients directly from Japan and will follow the same tenets adopted at the original Tokyo location, including its practices of eliminating food waste, whether it’s in regard to its soup base, noodles or seasonings. 

The soup base is the soul of every ramen restaurant. Mengokoro Kunimoto offers a different base for each type of ramen that it serves, and the ingredients and seasonings are selected and prepared with the utmost care. For example, the shio ramen is made with a homemade salt sauce. 

A true labour of love, this sauce is made by cooking four types of salt with different degrees of coarseness and salinity and then letting it sit for two days to allow the flavours to mellow so that it creates a complex yet rounded and delicate soup base. Kunimoto-san also uses four different house-made oils – shallot oil, garlic oil, chicken oil and scallop oil – zested with yuzu peels to enhance the flavours in the different types of ramen on offer. 

As for the noodles, Mengokoro Kunimoto has selected a local Hong Kong factory to craft three different types of noodles. Made fresh every day in accordance to Mengokoro Kunimoto’s special recipes, these noodles boast the same taste and texture as the ramen served in the restaurant’s original Tokyo location. 

Mengokoro Kunimoto’s Hong Kong branch offers five signature ramen, including the shoyu ramen, shio ramen, tsukemen, maze soba and noukou ramen. Each ramen has its own distinct characteristics and is available in limited quantities every day. Shoyu Ramen ($88) 

This tantalising soup base brings together a rich chicken broth that is made by boiling poultry meat and bones for six hours, and a fish broth that is made by cooking bonito flakes at a specific temperature. Homemade soya sauce and scallion oil are also added to these two stocks to create a rich and savoury base that brims with the umami of the fish. 

The ramen is accompanied by thick-cut pork belly chashu marinated in soya sauce, slow-cooked chicken breast chashu as well as bamboo shoots that have been marinated and cooked in the chashu marinade. As a flavourful finishing touch, the ramen is served with scallions that have been fried until charred, crispy and fragrant. Shio Ramen ($88) 

A bowl of shio ramen often reveals the skills of a ramen chef. The version at Mengokoro Kunimoto is prepared by adding homemade salt sauce, chicken oil and scallop oil to a clear chicken broth, resulting in a mellow, smooth and delicately sweet soup base that directly reflects the quality of the ingredients. A thicker noodle is selected for this base and is served with slow-cooked pork shoulder chashu and slow-cooked chicken breast chashu. An elegant garnish of chopped scallions and a sheet of nori complete this simple yet unforgettable shio ramen. Tsukemen ($98) Instead of the more common thick tsukemen sauce, Kunimoto-san opts for a lighter dipping sauce made by adding garlic oil to fish stock. The combination of the hot and flavourful dipping sauce and the cold and thin noodles is a match made in heaven. After finishing the tsukemen, guests can ask for more fish soup to enjoy in one satisfying gulp. Maze Soba ($98) A great maze soba attaches great importance to the combination of ingredients and the texture of the noodles. For the maze soba at Mengokoro Kunimoto, a thick ramen is chosen for its firm yet al dente mouthfeel. The noodle is seasoned with garlic oil and soya sauce and is then topped with ten ingredients, including garlic, shallots, onion, bamboo shoots, bonito powder and slow-cooked chashu. A flavourful fish soup is served on the side and, depending on a guest’s preference, can be enjoyed with the noodles or separately on its own. Noukou Ramen ($118) This rich and robust ramen is made for those who love bold flavours. The noodles are served in a full-bodied soup base that’s made through a complex process that involves first boiling chicken feet, pork knuckles and pork bones until the ingredients are completely broken down. Dried fish is added, and the mixture is cooked for approximately 18 hours, during which it’s stirred regularly until it becomes thick and rich. This process yields about 30 bowls of soup. Bonito powder is added to this base, which is then served with thin ramen noodles, thick-cut pork belly chashu marinated in soya sauce, bamboo shoots and a generous heaping of onions to bring a refreshing balance that cuts through the soup’s richness. Each of the above ramen options can be upgraded with our Tokyo Special for an additional HK$38, which includes 2 extra slices of chashu, a seasoned boiled egg, and dried seaweed. Mengokoro Kunimoto’s Hong Kong branch recreates the aesthetics and experience of the original Tokyo location. With a simple design dominated by dark tones, the small shop boasts counter seating and tables that can accommodate 21 guests at a time. During the opening period, Kunimoto-san will be at the Hong Kong shop to personally deliver his popular ramen to guests. About Kunimoto-san Tired of the monotony of office life, Kunimoto-san decided to leave his job to explore a new career path from scratch. He became an apprentice at a famous ramen shop, where he realised that his passion was for creating things that could make people happy. He founded Mengokoro Kunimoto four years later and started serving his own unique ramen. Kunimoto-san has spent the past 12 years creating the best ramen experience for his guests and even remembers his customers’ preferences. This passion and thoughtfulness has helped Mengokoro Kunimoto garner a loyal fan base as well as many accolades. Mengokoro Kunimoto Hong Kong Opening date: June 12, 2023 Address: G/F, 12 Spring Garden Lane, Wan Chai Opening hours: 11:00am – 9:30pm Seating capacity: 21 seats (walk-ins only)

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