Monday, July 14, 2014

Yutaro Ramen, Cheonho

Japanese ramen, in my opinion, is one of the best foods to have in cold weather or on rainy days. Of course it's hard to beat the original stuff that you find in the Land of the Rising Sun, but if you've got a hankering for the sodium-infused soup dish, there's not much you can really do, short of rushing to the airport and hopping on the next plane out... Or is there?

Hoho! >:D

Luckily for dwaejis like me, Korea has its fair share of decent ramen restaurants, and Yutaro Ramen in Cheonho is one such place. I remember stumbling upon this particular joint on a day when the weather was exactly as described before. It was on a cold, dismal, grey Saturday in November last year that I set out to go house hunting with Angry Eddie. When we met at the agreed spot, we had an idea of which real estate agency we wanted to visit, but neither of us could function properly because we were both so hangry. (Hungry + angry. Worst combination EVAAAAR.) So, we decided it would be best to fill our bellies first with some comfort food before getting down and dirty with the hunt.

We didn't really know our way around the area, but in an attempt to head towards the general direction of the agency, we somehow found ourselves staring down the entrance of an alleyway with a few small restaurants in it, and Yutaro Ramen just so happened to be one of them.

The place isn't that big; there are only about 10 tables inside, but it's lit with warm yellow lighting and has a lovely, cosy feel to it. The menu is pretty simple:

As it turns out, Yutaro is a chain but at this particular branch there are some cute little hand-drawings on the corners of the menu, and I think these are supposed to represent the staff who work there. The bald man with the quirky moustache rolling out dough is the owner. It's quite cool, because that's exactly what he looks like and the last time I visited, he was indeed rolling out dough to make the ramen noodles with.

Yes, that's right. At Yutaro's, they make the noodles themselves and if your timing is right, you too might be able to catch them churning out the long strands of yellow goodness from the machine near the entrance.

Another very pleasing factor is that the soup is made from pork bone stock that's been boiled for at least 12 hours. This gives the liquid an amazing infusion of flavour that really hits the spot and helps to warm you up nicely.

So... handmade noodles + rich, savoury broth = ??

Shiro ramen (6,500 won)

A very satisfying end result, that's what. Even the egg is satisfying, and it's not just any ordinary egg either. It's been cooked to perfection in a soy sauce concoction, so there's none of that bland, rubbery egg white business, and the yolk is just solid enough around the edges while still being deliciously gooey in the centre.

Okay, so if I'm to be perfectly honest... Yutaro's probably isn't *the best* ramen I've ever had in Seoul, but it's definitely right up there with the good stuff. It's very, very satisfying, and I really love the cosy atmosphere of the place and how friendly the staff are. Oh, and added bonus that you can get free bowls of rice with your ramen.. All you have to do is ask. ^____^ Winner winner, chicken dinner! XD

Yutaro Ramen, Cheonho
Hours: 11:30am - 10:30pm
Address: 서울시 강동구 천호2동 454-44 (454-44 Cheonho2-dong, Gangdong-gu, Seoul)
Directions: From Cheonho Station exit 5, go straight and take the first left after Emart. Continue to the end of the alley then turn right. Take the second alley on your right again and look out for Yutaro Ramen a few metres down from the alley entrance.

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