Ramen zealots, welcome to the newest stop on your quest for perfection – Ramen O-san. The new Dixon House stall comes from Kazuteru O-San, a veritable noodle master in his hometown, Kyushu, the birthplace and spiritual centre of the tonkotsu broth.
Kazuteru’s heart-stopping tonkotsu, made from 12-hour pork-bone stock, mixed with pig skin, feet, pork belly and other cuts, is verging on dhaal levels of viscosity. It may even challenge Gumshara for the title of Most Intense Broth In Sydney.
O-san director and Kazuteru’s translator, Jun Toyoda, says he’s a big fan of Ryo’s and nearby Gumshara, but he and Kazuteru want to provide something different. O-san brings in Tokyo’s thicker, eggier style of noodles, not usually seen in Sydney. “They’re more popular in Tokyo. For Kyushu-style ramen, the soup is very thick, so we use thinner noodles. In Tokyo, where the soup is less thick, people like thicker noodle.” However, if you are attached to a thinner noodle, the regional guide isn’t gospel; just ask for the noodle style you want.
It also makes its own soy-bean paste for its rich and slightly sweet miso ramen. Unfortunately, the kitchen can only pump out 10 bowls a day because the paste, using homemade soy sauce and a several-week-fermentation process, is a fiddly thing to make. The other lamentably inflexible menu item is O-san’s tsukemen, a style of ramen where the noodles are served separately and dipped into a flavoursome broth. Kazuteru prefers a newer, extremely thick seafood-style stock that relies on hard-to-find clams – the reason it’s not always available. “You can make an easy tsukemen soup with a little MSG; it’s still edible and nice, but we want to make a good one,” Toyoda says.
We told Toyoda that any new Sydney ramen shop gets embroiled in the who’s-best debate, and with O-san being a prime contender, he should prepare himself. “People have preferences, they have different taste buds, some people want thicker, but you can’t really say which is number one. Of course we try to be the best but it doesn’t mean there is the best.” He says he’s just happy for more ramen restaurants to open up. “First it would make competition but then it would contribute to the growth of ramen in the area.” The more ramen shops the more ramen culture can grow.
Shop B1, Dixon House Food Court, Haymarket
Mon to Sun 11am–8.30pm