Waikiki Eats: Ramen Nakamura

I FINALLY actually walked in and sampled a bowl of Ramen from Ramen Nakamura, a tiny shop that’s been at this corner location where Kalakaua breaks off to Beach Walk that I’ve passed by for YEARS now. I think my apprehension of going in to try it was that I might discover an irresistible delight that would instantly turn me into an addict, never able to pass the place again without going into withdrawals or feeling of guilt.

Could there be “Ramen Enlightenment” discovered beyond that yellow sign? We shall find out!

Like most Japanese restaurants, Ramen Nakamura has a display case out in front showing off the featured items on their menu in incredibly realistic 3-dimensional plastic form…

I have no idea what these notes on the wall written in Japanese say, but I’m guessing they’re accolades left by past guests.

As you see by the gentleman passed out at the far end of the counter, this goes to show, even Japanese folks can have a “Kanak’ Attack”…


Getting to business, as usual, I chose Shoyu Ramen as a combo set, which includes Fried Rice and 3 pieces of Gyoza…

Ramen Nakamura – Shoyu Ramen Combo Set, $13.00

Here’s the Shoyu Ramen…

Here’s the Fried Rice….

and here’s the Gyoza…

Hai, itadakimasu!…

Good Lord! Just looking at that photo above makes me want another bowl of ramen again, like NOW! Looks soooooooooooooooo good!

Just for teasing, here’s another shot slurpin’ up more ramen, that first one with a few pieces of Menma, now this one with some Chashu…

As you see, there were 3 generous slices of Chashu in the bowl.

Don’t mind me. I’m having another one of them “lick the monitor” moments. lol

So how is it? I’m pretty sure I told the server I wanted Shoyu Ramen, but this appeared and tasted more like Tonkotsu Ramen. In fact, if I weren’t in a restaurant, I’d swear this came right out of the package from Sun Noodle. The noodles had the same texture and flavor of Sun Noodle, and so did the broth, which was almost identical to their Tonkotsu flavored variety, albeit a little more spicy, like perhaps they added a pinch of Shichimi Togarashi in it.

Not that there’s anything bad about it tasting like Sun Noodle’s Nama Ramen, as you know I’m a huge fan of their products.

After tasting it, I should have confirmed with the server what exactly I was eating, but instead just settled with what I got and slurped my way through it.

Again, the broth tasted more like Tonkotsu style than shoyu style. The chashu slices were tender and generous, while the noodles were cooked perfectly al dente. Yet I wasn’t “wowed” by the overall dish (bowl).

As for the gyoza, it was a-aight…

A little bigger than the ones you can buy frozen at the supermarket, yet flavor-wise, nothing above and beyond that. Of course the Beni Shoga added a nice kick to it. Love the stuff.

Then there was the fried rice…

While this would have been great with a Yakitori set (grilled teriyaki-glazed chicken skewers), along with Ramen, as you might expect, it was a bit of a carbo-overload, and for me didn’t work with as set with the Gyoza and Ramen. Just the Gyoza and Ramen was enough. Even in and of itself, it wasn’t the best fried rice I’ve ever had.

So no, I didn’t discover “Ramen Nirvana” here, but was still pretty much satisfied with what I got. On this visit I’ll give Ramen Nakamura 1 SPAM Musubi (average).

Ramen Nakamura
2141 Kalakaua Avenue Suite 1
Tel. 922-7960

The Tasty Island rating:

(1) Average.

Related Links:
Ramen Nakamura – Ono Kine Grindz
Ramen Nakamura – Yelp user reviews


8 thoughts on “Waikiki Eats: Ramen Nakamura

  1. Pomai, I like this place for ramen is serve with Japanese charshu instead of spam in it. Every time I watch Tom Po Po film I would head out for real good Japanese style ramen.

  2. Their oxtail ramen is pretty good. Oxtails could have been a little more tender, but good flavor, in a tasty shio broth. Worth trying if you go back.

  3. Pomai Dude Man, I was surfing with the internet and decide to check your blog out. Man I thought of going there but now not sure. But everybody taste is different so I might still try them out to see for myself.

  4. I used to be an industry insider, but I think Sun Noodle commands 80% or even more of the ramen restaurant industry in Hawaii. Their pricing is way cheaper than made-in-Japan imported noodles, but they try their best to adjust flavorings to the individual restaurants. I think Nakamura Ramen specializes in Hakata ramen with pork heavy tonkotsu-style broth, and that is why you got a Tonkotsu-shoyu ramen. The ramen you seem to prefer is more common in Tokyo, often more lighter and shoyu-based.

  5. Nikkei-in-Japan, mahalo for clarifying all that. I think it was the Hakata ramen they gave me. My ramen preference is difficult to describe. It goes back to my childhood where my parents took me every year to this one tiny ramen shop in the Ginza, in small back alley. It was Chashumen in the Tokyo shoyu style. A late aunt of mine who used to watch Soko Ga Shiritai a lot, said one of the shop owners said their secret ingredient was SCALLOPS. I really think that’s what gave their broth a very unique flavor. The closest I’ve come yet from a ramen shop here in Honolulu that had a similar flavored broth was Ito Guruma and Daruma; both ramen shops which are no longer in business.

    Kelike, don’t let my 1-spam musubi rating discourage you from trying this place. As you see the Yelp user ratiings, there’s many who highly praise the place, and as you say, everyone’s taste is different. I have a very narrow margin of judgment in either “like or no like” when it comes to ramen.

    Norio, a lot of Yelp users rave about the Oxtail ramen. I’ll DEFINITELY go back to try that!

    Michael, I need to rent that Tom Po Po film. Being a major ramen fan, it’s a shame I haven’t even seen it yet! I think Netflix has it.

  6. Ate there several years ago and liked the taste, especially the fried garlic slivers on top, but thought the amount of noodles was pretty skimpy and I don’t usually finish a full bowl of noodles because its often too much. The fried rice tasted like it had been sitting in the fridge too long. Overall I would have to agree with your one spam musubi rating.

  7. Pomai, if you reserve from the public library with you library card you will find it under Tampopo. It great film make sure to get your ramen dish ready after watching it. My friends also heading out after watching film. Funny how it does to people.

  8. Pomai, the Taishoken here in Japan is fantastic! I’ve eaten at the one on Keeamuoku, and they try their best with whatever they got in Hawaii. The Tokyo area has a lot of Taishoken branches and “certified” shops that serve that tasty shoyu ramen!

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