Thursday, February 7, 2013

Santouka Limited Time Uma-Kara Niku Soboro Men

A month long Mitsuwa sale going on from today at a So. Cal. store branch near you. Not a lot of information is provided about it online, but you can pick up a flyer at the store with the details if you're not already on their mailing list. This event the next four weeks are only during days Thurs~Sun.

Like always my personal main interest is to check out any limited time Santouka offerings. This time we have a soupless spicy minced meat (soboro) noodles, Uma-Kara Niku Soboro Men ($6.99). Their riff on a variation of mazemen (occasionally aka abura-soba or even shirunashi soba).

While it visually looked decently promising and portions surprisingly large to boot, I felt it was unfortunately an interesting concept executed poorly. :( At least speaking for my plate which was one of the first served the day at the SD locale. Your experience later and/or elsewhere may vary but if I'm back this week I'll be having the Chicken Katsu at Kayaba.

The spicy soboro had a mushy texture and the flavor rather one-dimensional. The noodles were also a little starchy and on the limp side. They probably should've been rinsed/chilled before plating (as done for their Hiyashi Chuka), and while subtle charred notes may be foreign to traditional soboro, in this context I think it would've benefited from some high heat wokkery, bringing out the more rendered oils of the minced chicken lightly caramelizing with the seasoning, as well as the roasty aroma of hot spices used.

The almost soft-boiled eggs despite being unseasoned were pleasant and the large mound of fresh pea shoots piled on top were a nice welcome as well. Maybe a more generous drizzle of quality chunky taberu raayu hot oil may have also helped, but in reality still would've been tough to save the dish with critical sogginess issues. At least it only set me back seven-bucks.
While the success rate of these ad hoc limited time dishes from Santouka tend to be spotty, kudos for trying and I still look forward to see what their North American test kitchen may come up with next.

I did have a Imagawayaki (aka Ōban-yaki) that was pretty tasty though ($2).

A few flavors to choose from where I had the green tea Matcha and Azuki sweet bean filled. The skin on these are extra stretchy than typical, almost like mochi. I got lucky with timing and had a freshly made one. I want to try the custard filled next!

Santouka Ramen, 4240 Kearny Mesa Rd (Mitsuwa Market Food Court), San Diego, CA 92111


KirkK said...

You know, it just seems that Santouka has never really been able to do a good cold noodle dish.

Junichi said...

Bummer. I was about to try this weekend but now I'm not so sure.

Mary said...

The dessert thing looks awesome! I'd eat that.

Dennis K. said...

Hi Kirk! I think you're right. I'd also be happier with their summer hiyashi chuka if it came with more toppings (or was cheaper) too.

Hey Junichi! Yeah, I'd pass. Even if everything went well it'd be an ok dish tops maybe.

Hi Mary! If I had more a sweet tooth I would've tried more flavors.

Jenne said...

Custard imagawayaki!! My favorite! :-)