Location/Branches: Wellington Street, Central (Formerly located in Lan Kwai Fong); Tang Lung Street, Causeway Bay; Shop A & B, G/F, Kam Wing Commercial Bldg, 28 Minden Avenue, Tsim Sha Tsui; Shop 167, New Town Plaza, Sha Tin, Hong Kong
Opening Hours: Monday to Sunday 11:00 am – 11:00pm
Official Website: www.butaoramen.com
Facebook: Butao Ramen HK
Instagram: Butao Ramen
Tucked inside the busy streets of Central district of Hong Kong where locals sweep past designer stores and Halloween parties is a busy ramen joint that snakes queues and serves LIMITED ramen bowls every day. Founded by Mr. Chandler Tang in 2010, Butao Ramen Hong Kong has been hailed as Hong Kong’s best ramen by many food critics and has won OpenRice’s Best Japanese Restaurant for 3 consecutive years since 2010 and U Favorite Food Awards’ Best Ramen Restaurant for 2 consecutive years since 2012. With branches in Central (formerly located at Lan Kwai Fong or “LKF”), Causeway Bay, Tsim Sha Tsui and the newly opened Sha Tin branch, Butao Ramen has swept Hong Kong with much of the ramen flair, offering authentic and traditional Hakata ramen.
BUTAO RAMEN in Wellington Street, Central, Hong Kong (Formerly Lan Kwai Fong)
BUTAO RAMEN is a small, slick and secretive ramen joint that is hardly commercialized. “Buta” means pork, and “O” means king. And this makes all the ramen experience very exciting. It’s no wonder that people religiously queue for this ramen joint.
Butao Ramen’s Central branch has only less than 15 people in seating capacity but people still line just to try one of the four – and I mean only FOUR – concentrated ramen dishes that Butao Ramen is “King” for.
- ORIGINAL KING BUTAO 豚王 – the minimalist ramen with fire sauce and seabura if you’d like to taste Butao Ramen’s tonkotsu broth and Hakata noodles to its original form
- RED KING RAMEN 赤王 – For people with an adventurous palette like me, the Red King should bound to capture your spiced taste buds in no time, topped with a fireball of miso-minced pork with the hottest cayenne pepper. You can choose the chilis to be added from 1 to 10, 10 being the highest.
- GREEN KING RAMEN 翠王 – an Italian – Japanese fusion inspired ramen that looks more like pesto with its parmesan cheese, basil and olive oil fusion. Incredibly unique that’s bound to grow into you.
- BLACK KING RAMEN 黑王– With a tonkotsu broth with squid ink that’s black and incredibly dangerous, Butao Ramen’s Black King is not for the faint of heart.
LIMITED EDITION BUTAO RAMEN: SHOYU KING
Occasionally, Butao Ramen offers limited edition ramen that’s only seasonal, just like Ippudo Ramen chain. Currently they have the limited edition SHOYU KING in their Butao Ramen Causeway Bay branch. Hailed as the “soup that reminisces the old wintertime in Japan”, Butao Ramen’s Shoyu King is served these in two sections – one that starts from 11am, and the second section starting at 6pm. The stocks easily get sold!
I came here with my friends and we waited for an hour to be seated, drenched in the rain, because of their limited seating capacity. No matter. A place where people patiently line up in Hong Kong means the place is indeed worth queueing for.
OMOTENASHI SHEET – Choose how you want your Butao Ramen to be
In an old fashioned Omotenashi style, Butao Ramen offers you a checklist on how you want your ramen to be or just choose it to be a Chef’s Recommendation:
- Richness of Taste: Light, Normal or Rich
- Special Sauce: None, Light, Normal, Heavy, Extra Heavy
- Garlic: None, Light, Normal, Heavy, Extra Heavy
- Pork: None, Pork Shoulder, Pork Loin or Pork Belly
- Vegetable: None, Green Onion, or Cabbage
- Butao Home Made Fire Sauce: 1 Spicy, 2 Spicy, 3 Spicy, 4 Spicy, 5 Spicy… or just fill up a number!
- Noodles Texture: Extra Hard, Hard, Normal, Soft, Very Soft
- Add Ons: TAMAGO, Pork Shoulder or Pork Belly, NORI or SEAWEED, Extra Noodles, Green Onion, Cabbage, KIKURAGE
I highly recommend you to go for a spicy ramen and choose your noodles to be hard. Add the kakuni or pork belly as well to make it extremely adventurous!
BUTAO RAMEN’S RED KING RAMEN with 10 Spices
Being a spice addict, I got myself a hot Red King doused with TEN SPICES, and also checking the “extra thick” option for my soup.
The Great FireBall on my Red King Ramen
See those red chili on top? That’s what I like! It’s a fireball of miso-minced pork with the hottest cayenne pepper I ever laid my tastebuds on.
Millimeter-Thin Traditional Hakata Noodles
The millimeter-thin traditional Hakata noodles did not disappoint, as I was a bit slow in eating it since it was very spicy. For sure, the alkalinity of the broth had been adjusted in such a way that the noodles won’t become soggy and remain firm and consistent all throughout your eating experience, much of which is the trademark of a great ramen bowl.
I was sweaty (given the rainy night) and my heart was pounding upon eating the Red King halfway. But the experience is unbelievable. I loved it. Plus the serving size is large, so this ramen is worth every cent. The broth is extremely thick too, that’s why the spiciness of the ramen is intensified. Complimentary bean sprouts and condiments were also provided and lemon water was served to counter the spicy levels. Lemon water is served for free to counter the spices.
Sitting on the ramen bar made me feel like I was in Tokyo. The chefs were very jubilant and they induced a very lively, out of this world ramen experience. I actually prefer this over a large, commercialized restaurant where they force you to think that they serve authentic ramen.
My friends tried the GREEN KING and the BLACK KING.
They loved it, but would rather try the Original King Butao to really drill down the taste of its ramen to its minimal form and for them to appreciate the taste of the Tonkotsu broth that has been boiled for more than 24 hours with pork bones. I look forward to my next visit at Butao Ramen Hong Kong!
BUTAO RAMEN, Wellington Street, Central Hong Kong Rating:
|Taste and Originality:||( 5 / 5)|
|Customer Experience:||( 3 / 5)|
|Value for Money:||( 4 / 5)|
|Brick and Mortar:||( 2.5 / 5)|
|Average:||(3.6 / 5)|