“Happiness is not found at the bottom of a bottle, it’s found at the bottom of a bowl of ramen.”  That’s pretty much how I live my life, which might explain the flat tire of a belly I have.  Since moving back to Hawaii from Japan, I’ve been searching for ramen that is close to what I’ve eaten in Japan.  While my one true love will always be Tonkotsu Ramen, (a rich broth made from cooking pork bone for hours), I tried to taste all types of ramen; Shoyu, Shio, Miso, Tan Tan, etc.

I went to Tenkaippin Ramen, Agu Ramen, Hokkaido Ramen Santouka, Kiwami Ramen, Goma Tei, Menchanko-Tei, Menya Ifu Do Do, Japanese Ramen Kai and Yotteko-ya. Since that’s a laundry list of restaurants I’ve decided to only focus of the top three.

Ramen 1

#1: Japanese Ramen Kai | Yelp
Kai’s ramen brought me back to Japan!  The consistency of service and taste has so far not been matched by any other ramen shop on the island.  The noodles have the right amount of thickness and are perfectly cooked.  The miso broth is nice and flavorful, if it’s too heavy for you try the shio or shoyu.  Don’t forget to order gyoza! Next to Kiwami, they have the best gyoza on the island.

Ramen 2

#2: Hokkaido Ramen Santouka | Yelp
Kai and Santouka are two of the ramen shops that stick closer to Japanese style ramen.  Santouka, like Kai, hit all the right flavor notes, but the service could use a lot of work.  The amount of food was rather large and the price wasn’t that bad either.

Ramen 3

#3:  Tenkaippin Ramen | Yelp
While Agu and Menya Ifu Do Do had some very good tonkotsu it depends on the day you go.  Sometimes it was good, sometimes bad, while Tenkaippin has been pretty good each time I’ve been there.  The tonkotsu broth is thick and rich with flavor.  Overall the ramen was pretty good, the only con was the gyoza wasn’t very good.

Obviously I love ramen and am particular about my tastes. These places are good to me, but I definitely suggest others to get out there and try different places.  It’s all subjective; Goma Tei is the most popular in Honolulu, but I’ve never thought their ramen was very good.  Kiwami has an interesting take on ramen and has great gyoza.  Menchanko-Tei has some good ramen, but in my opinion, the other food they serve is much better.  Subjectivity hard at work!

So when you’ve got the time, get out there and try to beat my personal best seven bowls of ramen in a single day and let me know about your experience in the comments below!