I went to O-An for lunch with a few friends and from prior experience was prepared to wait for a long time for the food to arrive. The restaurant is packed at lunch time and appears to be severely understaffed. What I wasn't prepared for, however, was the bowl of horror about to masquerade as Spicy Tonkotsu.
I ordered the $13.90 lunch set (which is a trap, because I ended up paying $20.85 including service charge and GST) and added $2.90 for Spicy Tonkotsu ramen, with a side of chashu and (half a) boiled egg.
The pork bone broth was cold (think "Winter is coming"), the noodles had an entire ocean's worth of salt packed into them, and the pork...where do I even begin?
I picked up a slice of chashu with my chopsticks and chewed. And chewed. And chewed. And I think you know where this is going. Honestly, I have no idea how they managed to cook it so badly, why it was so dry and rubbery, and why the slices were so d*** thick! I spent a good amount of time Googling "How to cook chashu properly" in the evening, and I learnt two things:
1. It is not that difficult
2. Do not look at delicious pictures of food after eating an unsatisfactory meal
Anyway, back to lunch. I am an optimistic person, so I thought, "Okay, so the chashu in my ramen sucks, but maybe all the extra chashu I ordered will be yummy."
No points for guessing what happened when I tried one of those slices. I even tried removing different parts of the slice and eating only the tender bits, but when there are no tender bits...sigh.
Keeping with my inability to write anything off completely, I have to admit that the chicken karaage that my wise lunch companions ordered was good, but if you need a ramen fix, please head to Circular Road instead.