It was the seared swine that did it. I became infatuated with Chinatown’s Ramen Hashi the first time I walked into the sparsely decorated Spring Mountain warehouse space. One could argue the aroma of torched chashu—braised pork belly found as a typical accoutrement to ramen—is pretty much the only adornment the space needs. That alone is worth the price of admission.
But there’s so much more to Hashi, which actually specializes in chicken ramen, a dish not nearly as prevalent around the Valley as the pork-based tonkotsu. In fact, the menu centers around a trio of chicken ramen variants: shio, shoyu and tori paitan. (And yes, I know there’s a chashu rice bowl. I haven’t tried it, because doing so would break one of my cardinal dining rules: If there’s a dish in a restaurant’s name, order it. It’s not called Chashu Bowl Hashi.)
Shio and shoyu are broth-based—with salt and soy sauce infusions, respectively—with the latter referred to as white broth due to its cloudiness. In reality, it’s a complex, hearty concoction that derives its robust flavor from chicken fat and marrow during a 12-hour preparation. The time put into the soup is apparent.
The tori paitan ($10) is my favorite, a hauntingly good dish. All the chicken options are served with the aforementioned, chopstick-tender chashu, bright orange-yolked tamago, bamboo shoots and green onions. I like adding black sesame oil and nori to my tori paitan for $1 each, and while I also have ordered extra chashu ($3) on occasion, it’s not really necessary.
Like the rest of the ramen components, Hashi’s thin noodles are also made in-house. Cooked for a minute-fifteen flat, they consistently achieve the subtle balance of chewiness and firmness, sturdy enough to weather the hot broth yet tender enough for easy eating. Like everything else in the dish, they’re spot-on.
Ramen Hashi 5808 Spring Mountain Road #109, 702-202-1238. Monday-Friday, 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m.; Saturday & Sunday, noon-10 p.m.