New ramen joint brings Okinawan flavour to Hamilton


Published February 13, 2024 at 4:18 pm


A new ramen joint has recently opened in Hamilton offering a uniquely Okinawan take on the noodle dish.

Toronto favourite Tondou has expanded into a new location on 234 King St. W. They started with a soft opening back in September with evening-only hours. However, they expanded to a full operating schedule of 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. at the end of January.

Ramen is a complex dish with many regional variations across Japan. The dish was brought over from China at the turn of the 20th century first appearing in Yokohama’s Chinatown. By the reign of Emperor Showa in the 1920s, ramen had become ubiquitous.

Following the Second World War, Japan saw the nation’s worst rice harvest in decades leading to a sharp increase in wheat use supplied by the occupying Americans. While the US troops banned outdoor food sales, wheat was often diverted from mills to illicit noodle stands.

By the 1950s, these restrictions had lessened as American forces pushed the benefit of wheat noodles like ramen and animal protein. Around this time instant-dried ramen was invented, later voted by the Japanese public as the greatest Japanese invention of all time in 2000.

However, instant noodles are nothing compared to fresh-made authentic ramen, which had by this time greatly diversified in each region of Japan. Sapporo became a famous ramen centre known for a rich seafood miso-based ramen. Meanwhile, Tokyo, which now operates 5,000 unique ramen joints, became known for thin, curly noodles served in a soy-flavored chicken broth.

Perhaps most uniquely, Okinawa evolved soba noodles, a thicker noodle more akin to udon. While Tondou offers several ramen variations, they’ve become best known for their Okinawan style.

Toudou Hamilton is now open seven days a week.

  1. Tondou Ramen
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