Raijin Ramen was the last of the full-on ramen shops to open these last few months. And it opened relatively quietly. So quietly, in fact, that I never have had to wait for a table, even after 6pm. This is partly due to the fact that this space is at least twice as large as any of the other shops. There are also a lot of solo stools for people – particularly students from the nearby Ryerson – to occupy, keeping the turnover quick.
When I first saw the soup for Raijin, I thought they had put down the wrong bowl. I had been expecting something more clear than the milky broth that was set before me. But it was the correct bowl and the smell of the soup was enough to overcome my momentary hesitation. The taste of the soup – heavy and rich with porky flavours – was also very creamy. The noodle width here varies depending on the soup you’re having and the shio had a fairly dense and chewy noodle that suited the thicker soup. Delicious, only a little bit too salty, and very filling.
As expected with a rich broth and thicker noodle, a full bowl is a heavy meal – especially since I feel the bowls here are slightly larger than every where else. I usually have a tough time finishing mine when I eat at Raijin. If you’re a big eater, this is your best value of the three ramen shops in the area.
There are many variations on the broth here, with the Bamboo Charcoal soup being their signature (similar to their sister restaurant Motomachi in Vancouver). I especially enjoyed their kakuni ramen – the pork is quite soft and perfectly braised. I will definitely see if I can make the some customization requests at Raijin the next time – less salt and a slightly harder noodle is always nice.
A couple of other non-noodle items worth mentioning: the reasonably priced Petite Cha-Siu Rice Bowl ($3) is a small, satisfying, snack, and the Hanpa cha-siu ($1) is a soft braised pork served as a cold side. Of all the ramen yas, I’ve visited Raijin most often – the location, quality, and most of all, no wait, makes it an ideal place to go.