Saturday, November 3, 2007
To me, nothing says "comfort food" more than a nice, steaming hot bowl of noodles. When I discovered Goma Tei at Ward Center, I was hooked. After my first visit, it wasn't long until I craved Goma Tei's ramen again and I was fortunate enough to visit this place twice in one month! :)
Goma Tei is known for their "Tan Tan Ramen" which is ramen made with a spicy, nutty broth. Tan Tan Ramen has its roots in China's Sichuan Prefecture and it consists of a pork and chicken broth with a rich sesame sauce. This ramen has gained popularity in Japan and we now have two restaurants (that I know of) in Hawaii. I first tried Tan Tan Ramen at Goma Ichi, and I wasn't entirely impressed. Goma Tei, however, was worth a second visit (and more)!
At Goma Tei, you can choose from several appetizers including gyoza, chicken tatsutaage (fried chicken) or ban ban ji chicken. The ban ban ji chicken was slices of cold, poached chicken sitting atop a bed of sliced cucumbers, topped with a soy-sesame type sauce. If I had to choose another side dish, it probably wouldn't be this one again. Although the sauce was tasty, with hints of the delicious broth, the chicken was a bit dry. After leaving the restaurant, I read the article on the window and found out that the chicken tatsutaage might have been a better choice. This chicken is marinated with apples, ginger, garlic, sake, and the secret soy sauce and then dredged in starch to fry up in a crispy outer coating.
Even though the chicken was just "okay" the ramen made up for it ten-fold! :) At Goma Tei, you can choose from shoyu ramen and tan tan ramen. I haven't tried the shoyu ramen because once trying the tan tan ramen, its hard to order ordinary shoyu ramen. The tan tan broth is so rich with flavor that I can't imagine a shoyu broth would have as much character! Each bowl of ramen is prepared using Sun Noodles, and they are cooked with a slightly chewy texture..just the way I like it! The Vegetable TanTan Ramen is topped with choi sum, carrots, green onions, and three varieties of mushrooms: shiitake, button, and straw.
The Char-Siu Tan Tan Ramen included slices of Char-Siu and choi sum. This one was also a good choice; however the Char-Siu at Yotteko-Ya was much more tender and flavorful.
The cold vegetable ramen was also very very tasty! It included the same vegetables as the Tan Tan Ramen but it was served with a sesame-soy sauce. This sauce was so rich in flavor, I almost thought it was made from miso; however upon tasting it further I was pretty sure that it was sesame. The sauce had the same nutty characteristics as the broth and also had a kick of spicy-ness. If you're in the mood for something more refreshing, this is an excellent choice!
As I was observing the other customers order, I noticed that the curry was also very popular. The curry is next on my list! Oh! And I almost forgot... when visiting Goma Tei, don't forget to order a glass of Kirin because its half price! :) You can enjoy a nice cold glass of beer for a little less than two dollars!
Ward Center (Near Borders)
1200 Ala Moana Blvd. Suite 42
Honolulu, HI 96814