(Ho Chi Minh, 8a/1c1 Thái Văn Lung )
The three of us jumped in an Uber and snaked our way through the insanity that is the streets of Ho chi Minh. I had read that this place was supposedly serving up the quintessential authentic Japanese shoyu Ramen in town. We spent the better part of 20 minutes walking in circles inside the small Japanese enclave, but finally we managed to find it before they closed for an afternoon break. The excitement was palpable. Our first real ramen experience in Vietnam. Lets see how they stand up against other countries in the region.
First impressions were great. 3 jolly Japanese chefs all small-talking in the kitchen whilst a salaryman slurped to his hearts content and offered the warmest praise whilst leaving. The bowls arrived. First sip: HEAVEN! This was up there with some of the best Shoyu Ramen I have ever tasted. The broth was deep, fatty, full of umami. The egg, perfectly cooked, the noodles al-dente, the pork melt-in-your-mouth. The Sapporo beer did nothing to diminish the charming meal. With full stomachs we gladly paid the 4 Euros and headed out into Saigon's belly with fresh optimism and belief that life is perhaps a gift, and not a chore.
(233 Phạm Ngũ Lão, Quận 1, Saigon)
After 5 visits to Vietnam, travelling from North to South over a span of 6 years, I finally found the best Phô ever! Ironically it's at the end of a shitty backpacker street, but don't let that dissuade you. Packed to the brim with locals and tourists, this 3 story behemoth stands on a corner with a few tables outside for you to enjoy your soup with the added aroma of exhaust.
Huge bowls of perfectly simmered broth, deep and satisfying, good noodles and tender Brisket makes this place a sure-fire winner on all points. Some places have tweaked a few elements of their bowls, but this place has the best over-all bowl of Phô. HANDS DOWN!
10/10 No Contest
(5 Gough St, Central, Hong Kong)
The first thing I did upon touching down in wonderful Hong Kong was to text a friend: "Best Ramen in HK?". His reply: "Shugetsu".
We headed over from Kowloon on the star ferry and walked a fair few blocks until we hit Gough Street only to see a large crowd gathered outside waiting to be seated. We put our names down on the list and headed out to drink some beer while we waited. The expectation was growing. Finally after about a 30 minute wait we were ushered in to the back where the 5 of us could all sit together. Having read that they make their own noodles, and use a base-sauce for their broth which is fermented for 18 months in a 100 year old wooden basket just added to the curiosity.
It did not disappoint.
Rich, deep, flavoursome soup, great noodles, perfectly executed meat, and a 6 minute egg. No wonder they are in the Michelin Guide. If you are in Hong Kong be sure to check out this spot before the lines start getting even longer.
(51 Parkes St, Jordan, Hong Kong)
It may look plain, but the devil is in the details. Those shrimp wontons are plump, perfectly cooked and delicious. The broth is rather flavoursome for being so "thin-looking". Decent noodles and not much else makes up a perfectly respectable way to spend an evening in Hong Kong.
There is always a crowd, which is proof that these cats know what they are doing.