Address: 179 Dundas Street West. Toronto, ON M5G 1Z8
Phone: (647) 748-3833
I finally made it to Sansotei Ramen after numerous failed attempts. Well, mainly because every time, I travel to Downtown Toronto on a Sunday, which is their “closed day”. I can now rightfully say, I HAVE TRIED SANSOTEI RAMEN!
It was easy for us to find the restaurant because of the long line up in front of the entrance. The systematic and first come first serve attitude was fair to everyone. The store was managed in an orderly fashion. Extremely tight space inside, where they can only sit 35 customers each full round. A large entwined rope was hung down the store ceiling to mimic the nature of the noodles. The reflecting black surface on the west wall made the restaurant appear wider. A modern minimalist decor, made the space look down to earth and comfortable to sit it. This is no romantic date night, or long chats location. Fast service and convenience of food made the turnover rate fast.
Zan Gi, Deep Fried Chicken ($4.50) is served on a straw basket lined with paper towels to absorb the oil on the chicken bites. The chicken pieces were juicy and full of natural chicken flavour. I was expecting a dried crispy surface though, hence I was a bit disappointed to find it oily, with a moist surface. A slice of lemon was served with the chicken bits, and the squeezed juices add a hint of tartness to the chicken bites. The sourness dissolved the chicken fat and oils, making it more refreshing.
Tonkotsu Black ($9.85) was served with pork belly, black fungus, egg, green onion and black garlic oil. Soup base was very creamy, with a lot of pork flavour. The black garlic oil did not do anything particular to enhance the soup. In fact, the oil tasted bitter by itself and tasteless or nonexistent when mixed with the creamy broth. I did like the crunchiness of the black fungus, as it complimented the texture in the noodle mixture.
Spicy Tan Tan ($9.60) was served with pork belly, ground pork, bean sprout, bamboo shoot, and egg. The creamy broth had a hint of spiciness. I expected something more spicy or hot, but it was so subtle or weak that the ramen should not be named SPICY Tan Tan. Maybe they should have variable levels of spiciness for the customers to choose. The lack of spiciness just made the bowl of ramen less interesting because it tasted similar to the Tonkotsu. The ground pork seems to have added more fat to the overall result of the noodles. It failed to give extra texture or flavour. Ground pork and bean sprouts made the overall result seem messy and was too soft at the bite.
The more broth I drank and the more I ate, the saltier it tasted. In fact, the broths’ after effect was almost unbearable. I was so thirsty and continuously hunted for water to clear my throat. It had an after taste of eating chips. I find it annoying that the restaurant charges you for tea and hot water while everywhere else automatically serves you one. I just thought it was unusual.
I must praise the quality of the pork belly. It was so soft and had a melt in the mouth texture. Upon a closer look, the pork belly was lined with a layer of fat in between the meat (fat-meat-fat-meat). Also, the pork belly was very rich in flavour, very well marinated.
You can choose different widths of noodles – thin or thick. I personally like my noodles slightly harder than usual because it has room to become soft after absorbing the heat and moisture from the broth. Though, the noodle was not soggy but was on the softer side of my spectrum.
We both ordered extra Cha shu or pork belly, which is $2.00 per portion and extra noodle, which is $1.00 per portion. I do not recommend ordering extra pork belly because we only had 3 slices each. I am not sure what the standard amount is, but for extra $2.00, I cannot justify the small amount of pork belly we each had. 70 cents per piece of pork belly, that is some expensive meat, when I can buy a slab of it at the grocery store for $5.00. However, the extra noodle was worth it. Bowl of noodles felt limitless, and never ending; extremely filling.