This is part 2 of a series of posts featuring ramen shops around Hawaii. Please check out the full series here!

GARLIC & SPICE...

There are ramen shops in Hawaii that serve tonkotsu broth with a touch of garlic oil… and then there’s Junpuu. This small ramen shop off King Street across from Thomas Square really kicks up the scent and flavor of garlic in its ramen and even in some of its side dishes.

I’m not much for extremely spicy food, especially when it comes to ramen where I am looking for that delicious combination of umami and fat. But for those who love heat, diners at Junpuu can also ratchet up the spice in their ramen to a wide degree. Up to “x30” spice level is free with any bowl of ramen, but you can choose to go as high as “x100”. I’ve heard that the spice at Junpuu uses a variety of chilis including ghost peppers.

If you’re interested in learning a little more about ramen in general, please check out the first section, “Complexity in a Bowl”, in part 1 of this ramen series.

Garlic Gyoza from Junpuu
Garlic pan fried gyoza

As with many ramen shops, Junpuu offers a small selection of appetizers and side dishes to enjoy along with their ramen. I enjoy the pan fried gyoza here, which is meaty and crisped up perfectly. Junpuu offers a garlic version of their gyoza which is just topped with a copious amount of diced fried garlic. If you like fried garlic chips, you’ll enjoy these gyoza.

Special Garlic Tokyo Tonkotsu Ramen at Junpuu
Special Garlic Tokyo Tonkotsu Ramen with ajitama and extra char siu

Junpuu’s base broth for their ramen is tonkotsu, made with the richness of pork bones. Despite its typically rich characteristics, the tonkotsu broth here is a little lighter than most. Each sip still contains a great deal of flavor, but the finish on your palate isn’t as heavy. I found this to be a positive, as I felt like I could more thoroughly enjoy the entire bowl. Junpuu’s ajitama (seasoned egg) and char siu pork are also just a bit higher in quality than most. The char siu in particular is very tender and fatty. Garlic oil and diced fresh garlic in the broth amped up the flavor, aroma, and overall deliciousness of the bowl.

Garlic miso ramen at Junpuu
Garlic Miso Ramen with ajitama

This bowl was very similar to the other, but the richness was cut slightly by the use of miso. While not as rich or fatty, the broth’s umami was enhanced by the use of miso. The miso/no-miso decision will come to preference, as both bowls are enjoyable and delicious. Personally, I preferred the non-miso bowl.

OVERALL IMPRESSIONS

Junpuu makes a delicious tonkotsu ramen broth that is sure to please anyone who is looking to satisfy a craving for ramen. The broth is a little lighter than some other places in town, which for me is a plus as it allows me to enjoy the broth down to the last drop without my palate feeling too weighed down. The accompaniments to the ramen, in particular the char siu and ajitama, are quite good and better than most other places I’ve tried in Hawaii so far. I’d put the the appetizers on par with other ramen shops; tasty but nothing that stands out.

Service is fast, friendly, and efficient. Diners have the choice of indoor or outdoor seating. The interior of Junpuu definitely feels casual, with wooden high top tables and specials written up in chalk.

Pricing here is comparable to other tonkotsu ramen options around town. However, given the heightened quality of the char siu and ajitama, I would say you get a little more value for your dollar at Junpuu.

SCORECARD

Food 95/ 100
Service 85/ 100
Atmosphere 80/ 100
Price Value 95/ 100
Overall Score 90/ 100

Junpuu
1010 South King St Ste. 108
Honolulu, HI 96814
Ph: 8098.260.1901
https://www.junpuuhawaii.com/