Noodle love

Shugetsu Ramen, 5 Gough Street, Sheung WanThere’s always a warm glow of satisfaction from stumbling on a new ‘find’. Not necessarily breaking undiscovered ground, but just following your own instincts. Shugetsu Ramen at 5 Gough Street was somewhere that I’d noticed a couple of times when photographing around Sheung Wan. Although it had only been open a few weeks there was a real buzz about the place and always crowded as it’s only open for lunch. Although I’d tried to get in a couple of times, I finally managed on a late lunch break from a shoot nearby. Delicious…

Butao Ramen, 11–12, Wo On Lane, CentralButao Ramen (above) at 11–12 Wo On Lane, Lan Kwai Fong was somewhere I just never managed to get in. Hong Kongers have a strange penchant for forming a queue and pretty much any time of day, there was a line opposite this tiny ramen bar. It’s got a real cult following and even on Saturday morning (when most people are either working or nursing the night before), when I passed by on the way to a shoot there was already a major queue waiting for it to open up.

Mak's Noodle, 77 Wellington Street, CentralMak's Noodle, 77 Wellington Street, CentralEven though Hong Kong has long been enthralled by Japanorama (Sogo, Hello Kitty, etc) and ramen is the thing for the kids (if not McD’s or KFC), for me, no visit to HK is complete without at least a couple of bowls of won ton mein from Mak’s Noodles on Wellington Street. It’s a real establishment, unpreposessing in its old school charm and still managing to pull in a loyal following despite the long queues outside the hot new Vietnamese across the road. Even though the bowls may be some of the smallest you’ll ever see, after a few of those babies, I’m a very happy man…

The whole ramen thing reminds me of one of my favourite movies, Juzo Itami’s Tampopo. The last time I was working in Tokyo, I caught a TV news story about a New Yorker, Ivan Orkin who had moved to Tokyo to learn the whole ramen craft locally and finally set up his own noodle shop, Ivan Ramen just outside the city. Itadakimas!


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