Toronto | Hokkaido Ramen Santouka – A Lunch Loveable

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Fall season is cold season.

It seems like that I have some kind of an Asian food phase, but after my 8 hours 45 minutes flight to Toronto, jetlag and an upcoming cold stick to my bones like a child to its lollypop.

Fall has finally hit home and the days have become grey, cold and wet. The perfect misanthropic environment to suck all energy out of our bones. And one, two, three, you´ll get struck with the most awful cold, a stiff nose and a head that is ready to explode.

Fall season is poison to workers like me who are close with hundreds of people on tiny space while rocketing from A to B in a composite tube with two engines. Being sick ruins not only your schedule (and private plans), it also costs a heck of money when grounded in bed. And this is the least desirable to me.

Hokkaido Ramen Santouka seen from the street.
Hokkaido Ramen Santouka seen from the street.

So the night before my rotation to YYZ, when I began to feel that something was sneaking up on me, I implemented my “Anti-cold plan”:

  1. No sports
  2. No alcohol
  3. Lots of fluids (water, fresh juices)
  4. Natural mucolytics & nose spray
  5. Light meals, preferably spicy for inner disinfection

It´s not always a guarantee for success, but at least it helps me to actively fight the breakout and to accelerate the healing. Without blocking symptoms. Because one thing is clear: Flying ALWAYS makes things worse!

IMG_7839So after a good night´s sleep of around 9 hours and a bottle of organic “Kale, Spinach, Pineapple & Orange juice” from my favourite Toronto supermarket Loblaws (read about it in my earlier post), it´s time for a little stroll through Moss Park neighbourhood.

It´s a sunny day and the low Fall sun lights up the leaves in bright orange, yellow and red. It could not be more romantic, actually! If there wasn´t my headache, this was to be named the perfect day, really. But my mission was clear: I needed to find a place for a light meal, preferably spicy (without ruining my sensitive stomach) to warm me up from the inside and to help my body fight the virus. So adding these two requirements together, there was only one match possible: A soup!

IMG_7828It was more or less luck that I ended up at Hokkaido Ramen Santouka on 91 Dundas Street East, just across the street from Ryerson University campus. While Toronto bursts with Asian Ramen restaurants, this traditional Japanese one really comes close to what I have tasted before when traveling to Japan for work.

The quality and taste of my soup are outstanding! It is perfectly spiced and seasoned, ingredients are fresh and everything is prepared to order. The atmosphere is lively and very urban, if you wouldn´t see the Toronto tram pass by the window from time to time, you would really think that you were everywhere but in Canada. And since my parents have always taught me during our travels to go eat where the most locals eat, I knew that I was right in this place when taking a peek through the window from outside.

IMG_7830The service is typically Japanese: Extremely welcoming and very, very friendly. Moeko, my waitress, bursts with joy when she recognizes my shopper that I once bought in Tokyo some time ago. She then seats me at the bar from where I have a neat view into the open kitchen, where the different styles of ramen simmer in huge steel pots.

I opt for a Ginger Ale, the Tofu & Shrimp Salad and a Kara Miso Ramen, spicy.

The salad comes with a light soy sauce dressing and could use a little more seasoning for the Western taste. But the Tofu is so extremely soft and lush, I can only assume that it is either self made or simply of fantastic quality. Great!

Tofu & Shrimp salad, delicous!
Tofu & Shrimp salad, delicious!

In combination with my Kara Miso Ramen, I could have not asked for a more perfect lunch. Exactly what I was looking for! And with altogether 22,50 CAN$ (roughly 15 Euros) an exceptional price performance.

I leave as a bunch of people are already standing in line for a delicious lunch break. Well-fed and re-energized for a red-eye night flight back home, Hokkaido Ramen Santouka will definitely be one of my favourite lunch/dinner spots in the future, regardless of my physical condition.

If you go, try to make it here before noon! The best times are right after opening at 11am or in the afternoon. Don´t miss out on this one! Once you go, you´ll come back for more…

Hokkaido Ramen Santouka

91 Dundas Street East, Toronto ON M5B 2C8

647  748 1717

www.santouka.co.jp

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