Radical, revolutionary ramen arrives in the east end.
Toronto is spoiled for choice when it comes to ramen, so why get excited about one more ramen shop?
Because Kyouka Ramen, which recently opened on Queen East, is the life’s work of Keiichi Machida— a chef whose award-winning ramen has been described as radical and revolutionary. His philosophy, dubbed kyouka-ism, focuses on doing one thing really well, and his menu aims to achieve the perfect balance of ingredients.
Kyouka Ramen has become known for its chicken broth, so when I visited on a wet, blustery afternoon, I felt duty-bound to try it as part of the shio (salt) ramen. I was served a deep bowl of the richest of chicken noodle soups: a light, clean broth with exceptional flavour. It came with slices of chicken and pork, char-grilled to preserve their unique taste, and a generous helping of noodles that had a great texture— springy, not chewy. The bowl was garnished with the usual nori (seaweed), naruto (fish cake) and a soft-boiled egg. However, it also in- cluded spinach and diced chives—more of Mr. Machida’s signature choices. The nori was a rich, smoky, earthy complement to the clean broth, and the lightly blanched spinach added a delightful crunch.
To appease my love of pork, I also tried the Kyouka ramen, the signature dish that Mr. Machida created specifically for the Toronto location. The Kyouka broth is a flavourful, garlicky combination of chicken and pork that is far richer than the shio, without feeling heavy or oily. It was served with char-grilled chicken and pork as well, but their flavour was deepened by this broth, making the chashu pork almost buttery. Perched atop the ramen was a dollop of chili paste that is handmade each day. I followed the suggestion to mix it in partway through so I could appreciate how it changed the flavours. I felt the heat of the chili paste in the broth, but instead of singeing the tongue it added new notes to the ramen—notes that were still surprising me as I reached the bottom of my bowl.
As good as the shio ramen was, the Kyouka ramen took things to a new level. I could taste the care that had been put into combining the perfect ingredients. It was such a high-quality bowl that it felt like a steal at Kyouka’s very reasonable prices.
Staff: Nicholas Jones
Nicholas lived in a tiny fishing village in Hokkaido from 2009 to 2011.
Ostensibly, he taught English, but he spent most of his time wrangling elementary students and frequenting their parents’ sushi restaurants. He is currently on a quest to find Toronto’s best kara-age.
2222 Queen St. E., Toronto | 647-748-6288 | kyouka.ca
Open: (Lunch) Wed–Mon 12 pm–2:30 pm (Dinner) Mon, Wed, Thur 5:30 pm–9 pm • Fri 5:30 pm–10 pm Sat 4pm–10pm • Sun 4pm–8pm • Tue closed
*Last order is 30 minutes before closing time.