Where is the Butter
In the Sapporo Ramen
At new Koyuki?
Hokkaido is the second largest island in the Japanese archipelago. Being further north, the island has a colder climate than the rest of the country. As a result, the place is known for its seafood like the heavenly Bafun uni and hairy crab, agriculture, dairy products, and the heartiest and renown bowls of ramen. In fact, miso ramen was invented on this island. It is no coincidence the locally beloved Santouka chain’s full name is Hokkaido Ramen Santouka.
When I visited Koyuki Sapporo Ramen I was expecting bowls of noodles bathed in a rich broth augmented with butter (remember Hokkaido is known for their dairy and Sapporo is the biggest city on the island).
What I got was not at all robust. The miso ramen I ordered was quite light in flavour. The soup base was not the tonkotsu soup that almost every shop I town is using but instead a shoyu tasting broth. I also didn’t get the salty or aromatic hit of miso either. The broth was sweet and salty like a light soya sauce but was thin, didn’t have any complexity, or depth.
The soup may have benefitted from some creamy rich butter but oddly this was not available. I understand not having butter as part of the standard toppings for their ramen since Vancouverites are mindful of what they eat and health conscious. However Sapporo ramen without the option of butter is puzzling. Both Santouka and Kintaro (purveyors of Hokkaido style ramen) offer butter as an extra charge topping option.
The thicker wavy yellowish noodles were prepared well. I was glad to see corn as that’s a Sapporo ramen staple topping. The bowl was completed with canned bamboo shoots, bean sprouts, a fish cake slice, green onions, and cha su. The pork was a bit tough. I added a ramen egg to the bowl for an extra charge. It was nicely prepared – marinated well with a gooey yolk.
I made my meal a combo and added the norimayo. The chicken was seasoned well. I probably should not be dunking it into my soup but it made it tastier as the rice soaked up the soap. The item is simple and nothing to complain about.
I don’t think I’ve seen norimyo being offered since the departed Ramen Sanpachi had them on the menu. To be honest, my meal at Koyuki reminded me a lot of Sanpachi.
If this shop was in the burbs, the quality served would be okay but it’s not. Koyuki is located in the West End, home of the best ramen shops in the city with the far superior Ramen Danbo less than 20 steps away.
I understand all shops can interpret a style of ramen as they see fit. However at a minimum Sapporo ramen should be comforting, filling, and stick to one’s ribs good, which Koyuki’s ramen is not.
Butter issue aside, the flavour of the broth is simply too weak. I’m not sure if this ramen-ya has what it takes to compete with the big boys in the competitive ramen scene in the West End. If one wants to experience the Sapporo style of ramen, I suggest walking to Kintaro.
Koyuki Sapporo Ramen
795 Jervis Street
Vancouver, BC V6E 2B1
604 695 9177
For me, you cannot talk about Sapporo ramen without thinking about this old commercial (note the cows and farm setting). If you’re older than 30, you might even remember watching it on TV. Perhaps this is where my ramen obsession began. Sorry for video quality it was the best I could find. Enjoy and try not to get the song stuck in your head.