Restaurant review: Totto Ramen

By Ling-Mei Wong

 

Japanese chain Totto Ramen opened its first Massachusetts location on May 3, standing out with a chicken-based broth amidst a pork-dominated ramen scene.

Paitan or “white broth” is made from animal bones, resulting in a milky, creamy texture. According to Eater Boston, it was Totto’s whole-chicken version that inspired Nghi Nguyen to leave law and open the Allston location, to the delight of ramen fans in the Boston area.

At Totto, appetizers include the char siu mayo don ($5.50). Two thick slices of pork are dressed with yuzu mayonnaise and blow torched, then laid atop a bed of lettuce and rice.

Char siu mayo don. (Image courtesy of Ling-Mei Wong.) 美乃滋叉燒丼。(圖片由黃靈美提供。)

Char siu mayo don. (Image courtesy of Ling-Mei Wong.)

For the main course, the Totto chicken paitan ramen ($9.75) highlights the chicken and soy broth, along with scallion, onion, nori and char siu pork. Its firm egg noodles must be slurped straight away for the proper al dente chewiness, or else the noodles will soak up the chicken soup and turn mushy. The soup is lighter compared to fatty gelatinous broths, but still has plenty of rich flavor.

Totto chicken paitan ramen. (Image courtesy of Ling-Mei Wong.) 鳥人白湯雞拉麵。(圖片由黃靈美提供。)

Totto chicken paitan ramen. (Image courtesy of Ling-Mei Wong.)

The Totto spicy ramen ($11) includes hot sesame oil for a slight kick — it doesn’t quite hit fiery. It comes with scallion, char siu, bean sprouts and nori, along with optional add-ins. I added corn ($1) and a boiled seasoned egg ($1) to my bowl, with the runny egg yolk melting into the unctuous soup.

Totto spicy ramen. (Image courtesy of Ling-Mei Wong.) 鳥人辣拉麵。(圖片由黃靈美提供。)

Totto spicy ramen. (Image courtesy of Ling-Mei Wong.)

If you’re still hungry after polishing off your ramen, you can ask for “kaedama” ($2.50) or extra noodles in your broth.

Be prepared to wait on the weekends, as fans line up fast. Totto Ramen also does not provide takeout boxes. After all, ramen this tasty deserves to be enjoyed fresh and hot.

 

Totto Ramen

169 Brighton Avenue
Boston, MA 02134
(617) 202-5075
www.tottoramen.com

This post is also available in: Chinese

About Ling-Mei Wong 黃靈美

Editor of the Sampan, the only bilingual Chinese-English newspaper in New England 舢舨報紙總編輯。舢舨是全紐英倫唯一的中英雙語雙週報。
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