There it is, folks...the finest and most authentic bowl of Japanese miso ramen in town! (because I say so)
This is easily Jangsan's best kept secret. Just think of how many unknowing and most likely VERY hungry expats are living in those Divervita and Blue Square apartments...happiness is just up the road!
was introduced to Hotaru roughly two years ago by a friend who had perked his ears up when he heard me mention that I am crazy about authentic Japanese ramen. I haven't stopped going since, and I usually make it a note to go there at least once a week (usually ends up being more like 2-3).
Now I'm guessing many of you probably settle for the typical morning/afternoon offerings prior to heading out to whatever teaching job you currently hold. Let's face it, there's only so far you can get on the kimbab-chungook places. Let's also be honest about one very important thing: they treat their ramen like McDonald's treats their hamburgers.
HIS, ladies and gents, is RAMEN! Tonkotsu Miso boasts a rich and savory broth, complete with a palette of flavors that starts with a slightly salty and creamy pork base and finishes with just a touch of spice. It's a harmonious amalgam of flavor, and it's certainly a welcome change from the "spicy and nothing but" taste of the instant Korean ramyun mixed up at the kimbab places. Everything is made from scratch, the broth is simmered over several days using pork bone and soybean paste. The noodles themselves are hand-made, hitting all the right notes being just a tad chewy, sport just the right consistency, and are the gold standard by which all other ramen noodles should be judged.
Topped with green onions, bean sprouts, half a marinated boiled egg, and two slices of pork that are so tender they literally melt in your mouth!
"What, pray tell, is the cost of admission for this monument of ramen perfection!?" you ask? 7,000won to leave your gullet brimming with the golden, authentic flavors of Japan. Sorry folks, but if you like your "ramyun" like you like your beer, cheap, tasteless, and 3,000won...you'll have to stick to the script I'm afraid. This bowl earns every single ship-won, and I promise nothing but pure satisfaction.
otaru is run by a man named Mr. Jung, and he has been a ramen chef for well over ten years. He earned his passion for the art by training and working in Tokyo for that period of time, and even married a Japanese woman before returning to Korea to settle into a humble, modest life of making ramen as his "hobby". He does not seek glory, or money. He simply hopes to show you what honest-to-goodness Japanese ramen is all about.
I introduced this place to the Busan Haps magazine, and John Bocskay did a tremendous job of representing with his awesome article. I know the article brought some traffic into the place, but I'm almost positive that a good majority of people living in Jangsan missed the boat on this one.
Now Mr.Jung has opened for lunch, from 12:00-2:30 before taking a break and then re-opening at 6 for his nighttime clientele. He only recently started doing this, and not many of his regulars show up for lunch so I figured this would be a great opportunity to help him to establish a new customer base for expats who find themselves scrambling for a really tasty and fortifying lunch.
The Busan Haps article's directions are as follows:
To get there: Walk north from Jangsan Station exit 4. Cross the first major intersection, keep going, The road curves right, take a left at the next light and Hotaru’s on the left.
Another way of directing you would be from the street intersection where Divervita and Blue Square are. Stand on the corner where Divervita is and head in the opposite direction of Jangsan station. So you'll be crossing at the light and going up that road that sports about a dozen different restaurants and samgyeopsal places. Stay on the left side of the road and keep going up until you see the famous "Pollo Oakwood Chicken" place on your right. You'll be reaching another small intersection, and when you do, just follow the sidewalk around the corner to your left, and you will see Hotaru there. You'll know because a blue patio chair is sitting out front presenting the lunch menu.
If you haven't been to this place...it's time to change that! It is definitely worth discovering, and if you live in Divervita or Blue Square, you have absolutely no excuse. It's literally 5 minutes away.