How can a restaurant survive with only six items on the menu? Yet Hakataya’s trade is the envy of many other local establishments.
Open for 14 hours a day every day, Hakataya’s on every blogger’s list of ‘must do’ places, and highly recommended as the ultimate cheap and cheerful by travellers.
Don’t expect somewhere grand, however. Instead, the Surfers Paradise Hakataya (one of three in Queensland) is a tiny shop in the distressed ‘60s Centre Arcade, crouching below paint peeling wrought iron handrails.
Yes, this is it! One of the most reputed ramen shops in Queensland.
We arrive at a rare quiet time just before midday, but by the time we’re seated there’s a queue twenty deep into the arcade. Sitting amongst students and travellers from diverse cultures, we are bound together by canteen laminate, orange chairs and the love of ramen.
We order across the menu: firstly, gyoza (6 for $7) to whet the appetite. They’re a really good version, yielding tenderly to the fork, the meat succulent and delicious. Served with motodashi sauce, vinegar and chilli oil, they’re a great intro to this menu.
The Ton-Meshi (pork soup flavoured rice topped with shredded pork, shallots and seaweed for $6.50) is a tasty, affordable belly filler but, as we’d expected, the real hero is the ramen.
Ramen, for us, has been a slowly gained obsession. First gyoza, then Xiao Long Bao… Now we’re being conquered by ramen. Led gently across the cultural divide, slowly a ‘conversion’ has taken place. Bring on a cooler night and sometimes I dream of a steaming bowl of ramen.
Nagahama Ramen is Hakataya’s classic pork noodle soup. They claim that their pork bone broth has been simmered for 39 hours. The result: a thick collagen-rich ‘Tonkotsu’ soup. Full of flavour, it’s packed with thin ramen noodles and tender Char Siu (pork slices) which have been slow-cooked in soy and mirin. Add some extra chilli oil, takana and ground sesame seeds and you’re in soup heaven!
Who needs more!
Shop 26 Centre Arcade, 3131 Surfers Paradise Boulevard, Surfers Paradise Ph: 07 5526 7055
You’ll also find Hakataya Ramen at Pacific Fair, Broadbeach in the food court outside the supermarkets.