Ramen Station is a Toronto ramen restaurant like no other: it serves Japanese-style ramen, and no, that’s not a typo.
The noodles served here are a subset of a type of Japanese cuisine called chuka ryori which refers to the Japanese food served in Chinese restaurants in Japan.
The interior masterfully reflects this hybrid of two cultures, with bright red walls decorated with Chinese and Japanese symbols of good luck. The spacious seating area makes the dining experience enjoyable.
The biggest difference between Chinese-Japanese ramen and traditional Japanese ramen is that the latter uses motodar, a concentrated base sauce that is lacking in the former.
This results in a much lighter flavor of Chinese-Japanese ramen than its more popular counterparts.
My favorite here is the Shio Ramen Fried Shrimp ($14.99), which comes with an assortment of tempura-like fried shrimp over a light broth that has plenty of veggies. This is an ideal option for vegetarians.
Those with a more adventurous taste should get their hands on Spicy Tan Tan Ramen ($13.99), a popular Chinese-Japanese hybrid noodle dish that has a strong blend of peanuts and sesame sauce in its broth.
It’s also spicy, and it comes with some delicious shasho meat.
Perhaps the most classic dish is Tonkotsu Ramen ($13.99), which features shisho, eggs, stewed bamboo shoots, and bean sprouts. Tonkotsu ramen here is much lighter than those at most other classic Japanese ramen places, and is great for the summer months.
Traditionally, ancient ramen restaurants in Japan serve a limited number of noodle soup per day.
Likewise, due to the chef’s insistence that only pure ingredients be used in the soup broth, the ramen station only supplies 200 bowls of noodles per day, which you can see via a digital countdown timer. Once that’s over, no more soup (noodles) for you.
If the unthinkable happens and you arrive too late to sample their ramen, rest easy knowing that the Combo Chicken Curry ($13.99) is an excellent non-pasta option.
It comes with soup and salad, while the curry is delicious and has a very traditional Japanese taste—meaning it’s satisfyingly mild and thick.
As a Japanese-Chinese spot, it’s no surprise that Ramen Station also offers crunchy Spring Rolls ($2.99 for three) that complement any meal.
My favorite side dish is Tokyo Calamari ($6.99) which serves crispy fried squid tentacles with a homemade sweet honey mustard sauce.
For dessert, the Hojicha Pudding ($5.50) is a must. It’s sweet and slightly flaky almond matcha tofu, and contrasts nicely with the heavy main dishes.