Photos and Words by Amanda DeJesus
If you are a ramen lover, you should check out Santouka Ramen in Harvard Square. Ramen is super trendy right now, and as such, there are a lot of different ramen shops scattered around Boston. Santouka serves its noodles in a delicious Tonkotsu broth, which is simmered to provide a lighter flavor profile than other broths. You can choose the original broth or choose from a few flavor combinations, including soy sauce (shoyu), miso, and spicy miso.
Santouka offers three different bowl sizes: small, medium, and large. Each bowl comes with noodles, nori, menma (bamboo shoots), kikurage (mushrooms), naruto (fish cakes), scallions, and delicious cha-shu (braised pork belly). You can also add additional toppings like corn or a soft-boiled egg.
My favorite thing to order at Santouka is the ramen combo, which includes a small bowl of ramen (you can upgrade your size for an additional price), a salmon or pork rice bowl or gyoza appetizer, and a soft-boiled egg.
The ramen noodles and toppings are fresh, perfectly cooked, and provide a variety of fun textures. You can add additional flavor to your broth with the provided chili oil, soy sauce, or vinegar. Unlike the broth at many other shops, Santouka’s broth is so light and delicate that you can drink the whole bowl, and you probably will. The cha-shu gohan (braised pork belly rice bowl) is very flavorful and provides a nice contrast to the ramen, and the gyoza are tasty and crisp. The soft-boiled egg is the ultimate addition to the soup.
The staff at Santouka is very friendly and helpful and will explain everything on the menu if you have never been there before. Their service is quick and attentive.
Santouka doesn’t take reservations, so get there early- the wait can get pretty long. Fortunately, it is located right next to Harvard Square, so you can shop and go sight-seeing while you wait for them to text you about your table. It’s a fun place to take out-of-towners as well as locals, and their menu has something for everyone. So next time you’ve got a craving for a steaming bowl of noodles, go to Santouka and you won’t be disappointed.
1 Bow St, Cambridge, MA 02138