When I think of reasons why I would ever trade my life and job in Korea for Japan, Ramen soup automatically comes to mind! But now I don’t have to entertain that idea, because the gods of Ramen have descended into a tiny shop on the main street in Itaewon, called Menya Sandaime 멘야 산다이메.
Located right on the main, this small, but cozy restaurant is very easy to miss. The signs on it’s outside are all in Japanese and the door requires a bit of muscle power to slide. Once you’re inside, a friendly waiter will escort you to your table, which are very jam-packed (totally New York style). There are uncooked noodles resting on a rack on the floor and happy patrons are yapping away in various international languages.
You’ll find yourself starring at a single page menu, displayed inside a wooden box. I went with the traditional Tonkatsu Ramen, while my hubby opted out for the spicy version. The prices are surprisingly affordable for the location and the amount that you get – 7,000krw and 7,500 (for the spicy version).
Once the food arrived, we were thrilled with the large serving bowls, since one of us is always hungrier than the other. The soup features half of a boiled egg, noodles, pak choi, bean sprouts and pieces of pork. The pork pieces deserve a whole other post of dedication and devotion, they were SOOO GOOD! I’d have to guess and say they were boiled, then fried or grilled just on the outside and possibly smoked on top of it. Is that even possible?! Is that even legal? The taste is so succulent and unique that I’d have to SCREAM from the roof tops that it was the best pork I’ve EVER HAD!
The broth is also fantastic and so are the noodles. They definitely rival their Japanese counterparts, while the pork pieces bring this dish home!
If you’re in the area, definitely check out Menya Sandaime 멘야 산다이메.
126-17 Itaewon 1(il)-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul, South Korea