No longer a secret, this Soi Thaniya ramen spot blows others out of the water.
Running a ramen restaurant in Silom’s Soi Taniya is tough business. With the likes of Ramentei and Hokkaido Ramen Gantetsu nearby, it’s not surprising a place like Momotarou has flown under the radar for most.
For years, the restaurant hid behind a rickety wooden door without so much as a menu outside, barely noticeable amid the Thaniya lunch chaos. You either found it by chance or on a friend’s recommendation, which gave it a charming, hidden feel.
Today, it bears the marks of a typical attention-grabbing Thaniya dive—bright red signage, menus out front and waitresses beckoning you inside. This definitely dulls the excitement of a secret spot, but the core of the restaurant remains the same. Most of the diners are still Japanese salarymen, reading crinkled newspapers and watching Tokyo baseball or sumo wrestling on the overhead TV while digging into plates of gormoku yakisoba (fried noodles with seafood and veggies, B220) or smashing back big glasses of Singha draft (B99) in the middle of the afternoon.
The plastic-laminated menus list over 100 dishes, some of them great, some not. First-timers should start with the restaurant’s best, a steaming bowl of savory chashumen (shoyu ramen with pork belly, B260). With 5-6 slices of tender, thick-cut pork inside each bowl, it’s an all-you-need-to-order portion that blows the likes of Ramentei out of the water. The piping hot, flavorful broth deserves a nod as a hangover destroyer, too.
The gyoza (5 pieces/B100, 10 pieces/B190) is as good as most we’ve had, as is the teba gyoza (same filling, this time stuffed inside a fried chicken wing, 3 pieces/B160)—crispy, salty and bursting with juicy filling.
Some of the other ramen options, like the shio (a saltier chicken-based broth with pork, B200) and wantanmen (with wontons, B250), get it right while others, like the stodgy, sloppy curry ramen (B250), are best avoided. For our money, the yakisoba offerings are less than exciting—bland and rubbery—but seem like the go-to for most regulars.
We wouldn’t booze here, either, but it’s worth noting happy hour runs from 5pm to 1:30am, and the walls are lined with bottles of shochu (from B149/glass) and whiskey (from B129/glass) for those that fancy, but we suspect they don’t sell much.
Nothing about Momotarou is flashy. It’s nicked up, cramped and quiet, but proves delicious ramen, novelty Japanese TV and cheap beer can go a long way.
This review took place in September 2018 and is based on a visit to the restaurant without the restaurant's knowledge. For more on BK's review policy, click here.