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Eight of the Best Ramen Spots Around Auckland for When You Need to Warm Your Bones

Because you can't beat a giant bowl of piping-hot bowl of noodles and broth when the weather gets cold.
By Concrete Playground
May 17, 2022
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By Concrete Playground
May 17, 2022
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EIGHT OF THE BEST RAMEN SPOTS AROUND AUCKLAND FOR WHEN YOU NEED TO WARM YOUR BONES

Because you can't beat a giant bowl of piping-hot bowl of noodles and broth when the weather gets cold.

It's that time of year again, when the temperature suddenly plummets, the barbeque is packed away, and all you want is to be warmed from the inside out with a giant bowl of hot, noodle-filled broth. Luckily Auckland is home to many fantastic ramen restaurants ready to get you through the colder months. No, we're not talking about the dirt-cheap, two-minute microwavable version that you smashed during your uni days.

Proper ramen is a soul-warming dish that combines Japanese noodles in a slowly simmered broth that originates from China. Almost every prefecture in Japan has its own variation of ramen, using different broth styles and served with an assortment of toppings — from chashu pork to wood ear fungus, bamboo shoots and molten boiled egg.

Whatever your preference, it's mostly about the experience of slurping and the warm feeling that resonates inside after every mouthful. Here you'll find some of the best places to slurp up a bowl of ramen across the city as we head into the winter months.

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    Ippudo Newmarket

    Legendary ramen chain Ippudo has long been a reigning global gold standard of the Japanese dish. Since Shigemi Kawahara opened his first humble ramen store in Hakata, Japan in 1985, he’s splashed out and launched scores of stores across Japan, the US, and Europe. The emphasis is on the tonkotsu ramen that has garnered Ippudo legions of fans — but there’s also a variety of equally as tasty options for those who want something else. You’ve got the signature Shiromaru Motoaji, creamy tonkotsu ramen, but you can also opt for Tori Shoyu, Ippudo’s clear chicken blend with Japanese fish cake, or Karaka-Men, mixing things up with spicy miso paste topping and pork belly. The hardness of noodles can also be requested from soft to very hard. Also, don’t leave without giving the global best-selling pork buns a go.

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  • 7

    Steamy bowls of ramen are the main attraction to Takara. There are ten ramen options on offer, as well as three stir-fried noodle varieties – which actually only equates to a small section of their menu. Noodles are made on-site every day using local flour and free-range eggs, and the broth – the heart and soul of any ramen – is prepared during a three-hour process each morning. The base broths span a huge range of flavours – soy, cloudy pork, shrimp extract, kombu seaweed, black sesame, miso and sour and spicy – and a decent chunk of the dishes can be made vegetarian on request. The style of noodles can also be requested, including thick and curly or thin and straight squiggles, or those made rice and konjac.

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  • 6

    Ramen Lab has a core focus of using New Zealand-grown produce and free-range goods, something that makes itself apparent upon the first mouthful. You’ll find multiple varieties of the noodle soup on the menu, including traditional Tonkotsu ramen from Hakata, Shoyu ramen from Toyko, miso ramen from Sapporo and the Japanese-Chinese hybrid, Tantan. The chashu pork is ridiculously tender, falling away as you pick it up and disappearing into nothingness as it touches your mouth; you’ll eventually find some more glorious bits of pork floating on the bottom. If you’re dealing with a mammoth appetite, an extra half or full portion of noodles can be added for $2/$3. How you’re going to fit them in the already brimming bowl is another issue altogether.

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  • 5

    The Ajisen brand was founded in 1968 in Kumamoto, Japan by Takaharu Shigemitsu, but there are now 800 outposts of the restaurant chain around the world. Ajisen specialises in tonkotsu pork bone broth and wheat flour noodles. The addition of Shigemitsu’s roast garlic and onion flavouring or “the secret recipe,” in the tonkotsu soup is apparently responsible for the chain’s booming international success. The Kumamoto-style broth comes complete with an egg, chashu pork and kikirage mushrooms. Also on the extensive noodle menu are soy, miso and spicy sesame-based broths, as well as a soup-less dry ramen which comes topped with minced pork, chashu and onion oil.

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  • 4

    If you prefer your broth on the lighter side, you’re in the wrong place.  The beautifully fine egg noodles at Tanpopo are made fresh each day; the bonus is that the default texture is perfectly al dente (to the bite). Insider tip, when ordering to take away, make sure you ask for the noodles separate so you can still retain that bite when you get home. The classic tonkotsu shoyu ramen, made with a pork bone broth, is an immediate go-to. Giving that aforementioned rich broth an extra kick are your classic ingredients of seaweed, finely sliced leek – which you’ll see piled up in the open kitchen – bamboo shoots, and a delicate slither of chashu pork.

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  • 3

    You’ll find this trendy noodle house right in the middle of Mount Eden village. The brainchild of award-winning Japanese chefs Toru Hirae and Kazuya Yamauchi, Zool Zool specialises in handmade noodles, traditional Japanese izakaya tapas and whiskey. But the main attraction is the ramen. On the menu you’ll find both soupy broth and lighter broth-reduced salad versions. The tonkotsu ramen offers a deep milky broth topped with pork chashu, while the tantan packs a punch with its lip-smacking sesame chilli soup. Turn up during your lunch hour and extra noodles are provided on the house.

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  • 2

    There’s a reason why this hole-in-the-wall on lower Albert Street has been open for over 30 years. But be warned, it can only cater for around ten diners, so don’t plan on taking an oversized dining party along for the ride. The menu boasts several different kinds of ramen, but on weekdays from 12–2pm, Ichiban’s tonkotsu ramen can be paired with a Japanese curry on rice for just $12.50. Further lunch deals include a teriyaki chicken set with salad and miso, and a sushi pack alongside pork-based noodles. It’s best suited to solo or couple visits — even then, don’t plan on sitting next to your noodle partner. For more elbow room, head to the Newmarket outpost.

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  • 1

    Located down Tyler Street, the hole in the wall eatery serves big bowls of ramen and makes an easy, quick and delicious option for those working in the CBD. The dining room is tightly packed which gives it a nice cosy vibe on a rainy day. For the best seat in the house, perch on the benches bordering the kitchen. As well as giving you an insight into the cooking process, it’s a great spot for those looking to hide away and have some alone time while grabbing something to eat. There are 20 ramen options to choose from, including traditional soy, miso and pork-based soups to more substantial bowls topped with Japanese curry and deep-fried tofu.

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