It’s the end of 2011, and I’m cleaning out my files to make room for the new. And that’s when I discovered I had one more post from my trip to Honolulu back in September. So here’s my look at Tenkaippin Ramen in the Kapahulu neighborhood.
I ended up at Tenkaippin after an experimental dinner with my Mom, brother and nephew. The restaurant we went to featured small plates, which didn’t cut it for my Mom. So we ended up having to get more food, and that’s how we made it to Tenkaippin, which is near Waikiki.
Tenkaippin is a major chain in Japan, and it has an outpost in Honolulu that has been quite popular. But it moved to a new strip mall that also houses a Jamba Juice and Kozo Sushi and some critics say it lost some of its taste in its ramen in the move.
The spot isn’t fancy, and has that local feel of a long-time ramen spot with the no-nonsense furnishings and cash-only policy. The ramen selection is a bit different than I’m used to in the Bay Area. There wasn’t any tonkotsu broth, the popular pork broth found at a few shops here. But Tenkaippin is known for its kotteri broth, which is a chicken broth that’s as rich as the tonkotsu broth.
The broth was rich with body and taste, and the ramen did hit the spot. Maybe because we were slightly hungry. The chashu wasn’t anything amazing (not super tender), but I liked the variety in the bowls we got in our group, some topped with bean sprouts and some including the Chinese won tons. Even though this is franchise, I felt like it could have been a neighborhood ramen spot locals came to for years to satisfy their late-night munchies.
Rating: 2.5 out of 4 camera snaps
Tenkaippin Ramen, 617 Kapahulu Ave., Honolulu. PH: 808.732.1211. Open daily. No reservations, cash only.
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