In Hong Kong it is often the case the best things are found when you’re not looking for them. This is particularly true when it comes to food.
And so it was following Monday happy hour drinks with friends. Two of us went in search of food expecting to end up at Calimex (Hong Kong’s USA-Mexican chain) or a Korean outfit I had heard about a few streets along.
As it turns out I had misjudged the distance to the Korean and as such we doubled back to a Japanese restraunt off a side road.
From the outside it looks like any of the many Japanese eateries in the city. But once you’re inside you could be in Kyoto or Tokyo. The narrow space is filled on either side with wooden eating benches with small tables, just big enough for two, at the end.
The open kitchen gives you a view of the noodle making process. All of Shugetsu’s noodles are made on-site, something for which, I later discovered, it is famed, along with the soup which is stewed for 18 months giving it a unique depth of favour.
On the recommendation of my friend I ordered 300g of noodles with Tsukemen pork belly dipping ramen. We added 5 Gypza pork dumplings for good measure.
The ramen and noodles are served separately, and rather than fishing for noodles as with other ramen dishes you dip and soak them.
The ramen itself was exquisite – flavourful without being too oily and packed with pork pieces. The noodles where fresh and heavier than the non-fresh variety. All bowls come with a Japanese egg – my favourite part of ramen- cooked to perfection.
300g is just enough. You would be hard pressed to eat anymore, even with the assistance of ‘witches tea’ – the mysterious brew they serve with ample refills to aid digestion.
The dumplings were an excellent accompaniment adding a sharper vinegar dip to off-set the rich ramen.
One word of warning – ramen should only be eaten with someone you feel truly comfortable. A few minutes in, with a table covered in broth and noodles, we were grateful for our no-holds-barred friendship.
At the end if you have any pork ramen left it is topped up with chicken broth so you can finish it off as soup. I have to admit I tapped out at this point.
Service was efficient and friendly. While prices affordable if not cheap – $89 for ramen and $45 for dumplings.
For somewhere we found by chance you couldn’t have asked for more to finish off a Monday night happy hour. I would wholeheartedly recommend it. Just make sure you go with a friend.
Shugetsu: G/F, 5 Gough Street, Central, Hong Kong Island