Sansotei is a young, popular brand of ramen in Toronto. Established in 2012, it now has outlets downtown at Dundas Street West and Yonge Street, North York at Byng Avenue and in Markham. They also have an outlet in Ottawa.
There are often queues outside Sansotei especially during meal times. Sansotei does not take reservations.
Fortunately, it's not so busy outside meal times and I was seated immediately on the Monday afternoon when I was there.
Inside, the long and narrow space was simply laid out and decorated with coils of thick juke rope overhead and full length mirrors on one side. There is a long row of simple tables and chairs with the open kitchen at the far, deep end. There are also two bar seats at the window looking out to Dundas Street West. That's all.
Catchy Japanese pop plays in the background. The youthful Japanese staff were cheery, friendly and efficient. Customers are served water with ice cubes free of charge which is a nice gesture.
The food and drinks menu is simple with everything on one small piece of laminated card. Prices are very competitive.
I had the Tonkotsu Black with additional chashu and soft boiled egg. There were also fresh chopped scallion and julienned crunchy black fungus in the deep bowl.
The tonkotsu broth was full bodied, heavy, milky looking, almost creamy in texture with a layer of black slick from the roasted garlic oil and also clear pork oil on top. It's dominant flavour was savouriness, bold layers of it from pork bones, salts, garlic oil and also from the chashu buried in the bowl.
There is a choice of thin or thick ramen. I chose the thick one. The thick noodles were done al dente, so it has a tender yet slightly chewy bite. But, it tasted and felt like mass produced, generic noodles.
The bowl of ramen comes with 2 thick slices of chashu. I added 2 slices at CDN2.
Sansotei's chashu which has a slight browned sear outside is quite similar to siew yok or sio bak in texture and flavour, minus the crispy skin of Chinese roast pork belly. I like my chashu meat to be softer and the fat almost jiggly whereas Sansotei's chashu is stiffer and dry like siew yok. Don't like - regretted ordering extra with high expectations.
Sitting in the broth, the chashu imparts a distinct layer of siew yok flavour into the broth.
The ajitsuke tamago (Japanese marinated soft boiled egg) halves were nicely done with runny yolk in the centre. Alas, the eggs lack flavour.
I felt really full after the meal - big mound of noodles, 4 discs of chashu, 2 full soft boiled eggs and oh.... that winsome tonkotsu broth all for CDN15.54 before tips.
Fortunately, there is plenty, plenty to see and experience in Toronto's historic and yet ultra modern downtown to walk off those calories 😂
👉 I like Sansotei mainly for it's bold, deep, intensely flavourful tonkotsu broth - I emptied it to the last delicious drop. The noodles though al dente felt generic. The chashu was done a little too stiff for my liking and it tasted like Chinese style roast pork. I am a big fan of siew yok but not in my ramen 😛
Restaurant name: Sansotei Ramen (Dundas outlet)
Address: 179 Dundas Street West, Toronto, ON, M5G 1Z8
GPS: 43°39'18.4"N 79°23'11.6"W | 43.655098, -79.386566
Hours: 11:00am to 10:00pm (Sunday off)
Date: 27 Feb 2017