BUTAICHI RAMEN 豚一族拉麵
at Hankyu Mall 阪急百貨
No. 8, ZhongXiao E. Road, Sec. 5, B2
MRT: Taipei City Hall
website: Butaichi's FB page
hours: 11AM- 9:30PM; Fri/Sat 11AM- 10PM
Kid friendliness: boosters available
Visit reviewed: 3/2/2014
Too many new ramen shops to keep track of... ended up at Butaichi Ramen because we were looking for a quick place to grab lunch with friends who were staying at the W Taipei Hotel and had to leave for the airport right after lunch. Wandered around the food court at Hankyu mall and this shop had seats available for six people without a wait. There's actually lots of great Japanese eats to be found at this mall- the tempura shop in the corner is a hidden find (with eggporn-ilicious tempura soft boiled egg), or Anzu Tonkatsu. I'm not crazy about the tsukemen or Ramen Kagetsu Arashi even though you'll usually spot lines there too.
Tight seating quarters so people usually don't linger, but there are some adjustable table seats on the edges in case your group or family is larger.
Menu has English and photos (thank goodness) and is quite straightforward. The ramen at Butaichi is on the long and skinny side (Hakata style) with the choice of three types of tonkotsu pork broth- Shiro (original pork bone broth in a white bowl), Kuro (caramelized garlic in a black bowl) or Aka (spicy chili oil in a red bowl), with or without egg. You will also be asked if you want your noodles to be cooked al dente, regular or soft and can ask for kaedama, one complimentary additional refill of noodles which come served on a plate.
Appetizers include gyoza, deep fried chicken, fried fishcake/age, edamame or grilled chashu pork. I liked the gyoza and fried chicken (Sorry no pics though, my pictures were strangely blurry!)
The free side dishes are hidden in the buckets on the table (I totally forgot to try them)- bean sprouts, ginger, mustard greens. Fresh garlic to press.
I stuck with the classic Shiro pork bone tonkotsu broth with a perfectly soft boiled egg - Shiro Tama (NT$220). The ramen was long and thin and I found the "regular" hardness to be fine. The ramen is served with a small ball on the side which I thought was a meatball until I took a bite and my friend clued me in that it's to be added to your broth if you want the broth to have heavier flavors. Duh.
I liked it enough to eat there again. The broth was porky and rich enough to drink almost the whole bowl, without being too heavy or salty. For chashu lovers, you can order the signature ButaIchi ramen which comes covered with pork pieces, or add 2-3 pieces for an affordable NT$20-30. I think it's comparable to Ippudo even though it might not be as well known. I liked that they give you a sizable portion of extra noodles for free, so noodles aren't wasted on those that might be lighter eaters.
Sorry for the long lags between posts. Life has been so crazy and busy as I'm sure it is for all of you. I haven't given up on blogging, I've just prioritized sleep and other things over obsessing over photoshopping photos and writing posts that can never be perfect. But I recently got a new laptop and finally downloaded the past six months of photos, so I hope to be back to more posts soon. There's lots to eat and share and hopefully everything won't be old news by the time I write about it here. For those of you who can't wait, follow me on instagram @hungryintaipei!