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Noodle Tuesday: Tonkotsu ramen at Menya Ifu Do Do


When it comes to tonkotsu, the cloudier the better. The broth's opaque milkiness (and extreme porkiness) is achieved by the lengthy boiling of pork bones to extract all the marrow and collagen—all the good stuff that gives the soup flavor and body. Whereas a French stock recipe instructs you to skim off fat, for tonkotsu, it's emulsified into the broth, through a vigorous boil. (Maybe it's best not to think about it.)

Pork. Fat. Salt. Noodles. It's not for everyday, but tonkotsu ramen from Menya Ifu Do Do at Shirokiya's Yataimura (along with the chirashi at Maguro Zanmai across the way) certainly soothe when the mall stresses me out, as it usually does.

No doubt it's the fat in the broth that makes it crave-worthy, and yet it never feels too heavy. Out of curiosity, I refrigerated some overnight, to see how much fat would congeal at the top. But it was so well incorporated that nothing separated—it only solidified into a uniform jello, thanks to the natural gelatin in the pork bones.

Menya Ifu Do Do, victor of Shirokiya's ramen battle last year, earned a permanent spot in the Yataimura. It's just tonkotsu ramen here. (Don't let all the pictures confuse you—it's just bowls with various toppings, including hot-right-now black garlic oil.) It's a Japanese chain from the Kyushu region in the south of Japan, the birthplace of tonkotsu ramen sometime in the 1940s. Menya Ifu Do Do started not long after, in 1953.

The noodles, made by Sun Noodle specifically for Menya Ifu Do Do, are thin and straight, complementing the rich broth made with pork bones, including the head.

But Menya Ifu Do Do isn't the only tonkotsu game in town. Next stop: local favorite Tenkaippin.

$8.95 for the basic tonkotsu ramen. In Shirokiya's Yataimura at Ala Moana Center

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