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Hide-Chan ramen in Central – worth a 10 minute queue

This is some rapid fire reviewing. Hide-Chan’s new ramen shop opened today and I am, erm, reviewing it today.

The reason I was so prompt in getting there with a fellow collection of #ramendorks is the fear of the Hong Kong queue.

Butao Ramen, the current fashionable choice for a bowl of ramen, offers you three hours of queuing and a bowl of liquid sludge. Quite frankly, the thought of queuing for three hours at Hide-Chan with the possibility of another bowl of bad ramen meant that I was going to be first in this time. No time for queues to develop or listing magazines to give unfathomable good (and wrong by reference to Butao) reviews to it.

So today the queues were minimal, no more than 10 to 15 minutes at their worst. And I am glad to say that the ramen was worth a 10 minute queue. It might, as long as you order the flamed pork belly as a side, even be worth a 20 minute queue. Longer than that though… probably not.

The style of Hide-Chan is, fearfully enough, probably the future of dining in Hong Kong. Take “fashionable” food, stuff people in a room to eat it without thought to decor, experience or service, price it ok-ish, and start churning. Ensure a constant queue stretching out the door so there is never an empty table and off you go.

People may balk at the above and say that ramen is always a quick, dirty affair. But it is a quick dirty affair in Japan, where even bad places offer good service and you don’t have to chase the side dish you ordered for 20 minutes (as we did here).

Still, on the food front, it’s better than average. Thick, weighty tonkotsu broths, not overdone ramen or eggs, delicious pork. Basically what you want as a pit stop, no trouble, pop in anytime place. But with a queue… well it is pushing it.

  • Price – 100hkd a headish with some extras
  • U/G, The Loop, No.33 Wellington Street, Central, Hong Kong (2522 5990)

PS like Butao Ramen it offers a series of stocks. “white” which is original tonkotsu, “black” with charred onion and garlic and “red” with Korean sweet chilli. I went “white”, it was the right choice.

PPS thanks for e_ting and dimsumdiva for reconvening the ramendork party and dealing with someone who walked too far too fast.

PPS following a couple of revisits, I wouldn’t bother with Hide Chan again. The broth seems to taste a bit too like a river estuary. Over thick and bitty and under good.

10 Comments

  1. Which pork cut did u guys choose for the Ramen bowl itself? :) I had the shoulder cut, since the very yummy additional flame grilled one you recommended me is the belly! With the also flame grilled ramen one – the aroma disappeared in the soup!

    Btw, they will be introducing their much stronger proper Tonkotsu broth version soon. This White one we had is meant to be the softer, more sophisticated version for the HK market. But for some reason ppl are comparing this White version with a thick Tonkotsu version, when they’re not aimed at the same audience. (?)

  2. Well whatever the shortcomings, it looks a damn sight better than ramen in London! And I also fancy some of that blow-torched pork!

  3. I’m not sure they do quick dirty affairs in Japan do they? Definitely quick, clean affairs. Maybe Piss Alley comes close.

    And as for the ramen you;re talking about and the relative quality vs queue rating. I just want to refer yo to what Mr Noodles said above. If we ever get good, quick dirty ramen in London, I’ll be able to talk more about it.

    • It has to be the big gap in the market. Why don’t you and Noodles buy a copy of Chang’s Momofuku cookbook together, start riffing with the ramen recipes and go for it.

      I am not sure people could be more obsessed by ramen if they tried. Instant market. And this innovation of flame grilled pork belly is a great one.

  4. laydeejol

    is it juz me, or did u feel the soup base was rather…powdery? o.O x

    • A fair few people have said that – I had the white base which seemed ok. The red and black ones looked a hella lot heavier and seemed a touch overwhelming. If that thickness is just from extra flour, why bother? Oh well – which base did you have?

  5. HKCharsiubao

    I’ve tried hIde-chan a couple of times now. The first time round I had the “white hide” which was a decent bowl of ramen. That said, I also encountered the “floury” issue which I associated with the noodles more than the soup. Second visit I had the “original hakata” which seriously upped the fat/collagen quotient which took the form of a layer of fat globules floating around on the surface. I’m no ramen expert but I got the impression they simply took some rendered fat/collagen (perhaps from slow-cooking the pork shoulders?) and threw it into the “white hide” base. Pork Neck was good though. I should have ordered that as an extra side dish.
    If it’s cleaner, more refined flavours you’re after then MIST is the one to go for I would think (but I’m sure you already know that!). Can’t wait ’til Ippudo opens in Silvercord.

    • Glad it worked this time! As I mentioned on Twitter I probably won’t go back there. I find that the ramen is too heavy, almost silt like. The newish ramen place on Hillier Street is far better (as is MIST of course).

      But I basically am waiting for Ippudo as well!

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