Hakata Ramen

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Submitted by Danza

Boston is a pretty cool foody town, with its local specialties and eclectic ethnic food scene. One thing you are going to still have trouble finding, though, is a good bowl of ramen. Specifically, a hakata tonkotsu ramen. I tell you, it’s a pity because this is going to be the next Phở as far as food trends go. Mark my words.

A thick, velvety pork bone and salt broth, fresh noodles, and delicate yet sparse toppings, doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of describing this soup. Which mind you, should be up there with clam chowder and matzo ball in the soup pantheon, imo. In order for you to properly appreciate what I am talking about, I think the best way is to take you along during the preparation of this godsend. About three gallons of it.

Hakata Ramen



  • 5 lbs pork neck bone
  • 2.5 lbs pig feet
  • 3 lbs pork spare ribs
  • 2 lbs pork bellies
  • 2 lbs chicken wings
  • 1 lb chicken feet
  • 10 cloves of garlic in a bouquet garni bag
  • 1 large onion
  • 4" piece of ginger
  • 5+ Gallons distilled water
  • ¼ cup sea salt
  • 2 Tbs white vinegar


  • 1 lb pork tenderloin (sorry MaverixOr)
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • ½ onion, sliced
  • 2” piece of ginger
  • ¾ cup soy sauce
  • ½ cup sake
  • ½ cup mirin


  • Fresh straight ramen noodles
  • Scallions, sliced
  • Toasted garlic slivers
  • Sesame seeds
  • Soft-boiled egg
  • Pickled ginger (optional)
  • Naruto, sliced (optional)


First off you are going to need the largest pot you’ve got. I used a 7 gallon electric boiler/turkey fryer I borrowed from my mom. This worked really well at keeping the roaring boil necessary for this broth, so I recommend it wholeheartedly. Add 2 gallons of distilled water to the pot and bring to a boil. Add all your meat/bones/seasonings except for the ribs and half of the bellies and the vinegar. Once it comes back to a boil, skim the surface for the first half hour of boiling. You want to reach a roaring boil, evaporating about a quart of water every hour. Replenish the water level every 4 hours, and after 6 slip in the remaining bones.


The broth will slowly emulsify and turn a milky opacity and velvety consistency. After 10-12 hours strain the soup add the vinegar and reduce to 2 ½ gallons. You could keep adding bones and carry on this process indefinitely, but this stuff is going to set like ballistic gel in the refrigerator so we can call it a night.

Let’s turn our attention to the châshû now. In hindsight I would have preferred using a pork belly instead of a tenderloin, but that’s what was on sale… It turned out rather well though.


Cover the tenderloin with water and add the remainder of the ingredients. Simmer on medium heat for 40 minutes and allow the meat to cool in the strained cooking liquid. Once cooled, remove any fat from the broth surface and refrigerate. At this point you are just minutes away from the best bowl of ramen you have ever tasted.



Slice the pork tenderloin into ½ inch pieces and bring to room temperature. Soft boil (3 min) an egg and immediately place in ice water to stop the boiling. Toast thinly sliced garlic in 1 Tbs of peanut oil until golden brown and fragrant. Boil the noodles for 2 minutes and drain well. Assemble the ramen bowl, by placing two/three cups of piping hot tonkotsu broth, 2 Tbs of warmed châshû broth in a deep bowl. Add about a cup of the noodles and gently stir. Layer the remaining toppings, sprinkling with sesame seeds. Other suitable toppings are small nori sheets and roasted black sesame seed oil.


Apart from the obvious inconvenience of cooking for a regiment (there really isn’t any way to scale this recipe down and obtain the same results), it's justifiable cost wise since bones aren’t really that expensive. And it freezes well.

Well, until Boston will dignify its populace with amazing ramen, my place is open for lunch business. So what’s in your ramen?