Tora Ramen – a no-frills ramen shop in Boston’s Chinatown.
Earlier this year, I made it a goal to try every single ramen around Boston. Tora Ramen was last on my list and did not disappoint. It’s a small, comforting ramen shop in the heart of Chinatown.
My friend and I visited Tora Ramen at noon on a Monday. Parking is limited in Chinatown on weekdays, so keep that in mind if you’re driving.
The restaurant was on a street corner. The door had a giant sign stating that Tora Ramen was CASH ONLY and that they had an ATM inside. The restaurant was cramped, with only six tables and two rows of barstool seating. There was also a window to the kitchen where I could see the cooking process. The minimalist decor and limited seating were very reminiscent of what you’d find at a typical ramen stall in Japan. Given its size, this restaurant is best for groups of two to four people.
Once seated, we scanned the QR code at our table for the menu. The menu was pretty straightforward. It included appetizers, drinks, and a small selection of ramen. They had traditional ramen flavors like Miso, Tonkotsu, and Shoyu. They also had a few unique flavors like Black Garlic Tonkotsu and Citrus Shoyu.
We decided on the Kuro Karaage appetizer, Spicy Kara Miso ramen, and Shoyu ramen. Both ramen bowls came out within ten minutes of ordering. The first thing I noticed was how perfect the presentation was — the ramen looked just like the pictures on the menu.
The Spicy Miso ramen came with wavy yellow noodles, two torched pork belly slices, a marinated egg, corn, scallions, and two pieces of butter. I first tried the broth on its own. The broth had a spicy, salty, and umami flavor from the miso paste and peppers. I was skeptical of the butter, but it pulled the dish together. It made the broth super rich and creamy! I just wish that they had toned down the spice. While I enjoy spicy food, it overpowered the miso.
The wavy noodles tasted fresh and homemade. They were incredibly chewy and bouncy. They also absorbed the broth well, so each bite was very flavorful. The torched pork belly was thick-cut and fatty. It was so tender that it fell apart when I lifted it.
The Shoyu ramen came with yellow wavy noodles, pork slices, naruto, seaweed, and a marinated egg. The shoyu wadashi broth was a much more traditional Japanese style. It was light brown and had a mild soy sauce flavor.
Just as we started to dig into our ramen, the Kuro Karaage arrived. The appetizer was five black boneless chicken bites, a lemon slice, and a chipotle-mayo sauce. At first glance, the chicken looked burnt! It was completely black from the black garlic batter.
I hesitantly took one bite and was pleasantly surprised. The chicken was super crispy outside but had juicy white meat inside. The taste was salty and garlicky, with a slight tang from the lemon squeeze. The chicken was so hot that steam came out, so I recommend waiting five minutes to avoid burning your tongue. Honestly, I liked the chicken even more than the ramen.
Our server was attentive throughout the meal. He regularly refilled our water and promptly brought the check as we finished. I found it a hassle that we had to pay in cash, given each ramen was nearly twenty dollars. However, it’s nice that they had an ATM inside the restaurant.
Overall, I recommend Tora Ramen for a quick meal in Boston’s Chinatown. Both ramen were flavorful without being overly salty, and all the ingredients tasted high-quality and fresh.