Tonkotsu Ramen at Sydney's Reopened Gumshara Is the Hottest Dish This Month

Tonkotsu ramen at Gumshara, Sydney

How to describe the soup component of a tonkotsu ramen? “Cloudy” is one understated description; “gelatinous” is another. “Hectic” is the word chosen by Mr. Wong chef Dan Hong after trying the unapologetically pork-powered version at Gumshara, which has reopened in Haymarket after closing its original location in 2023. However you describe the thick, collagen-heavy pork and noodle soup that originated in Japan’s Fukuoka Prefecture, what’s certain is that you don’t enter into a bowl of tonkotsu lightly. It’s a commitment that will stay with you long after the last slurp.

The secret to this brawny version is the way Gumshara owner Mori Higashida boils nothing but pork bones – no vegetables, no flavour enhancers – in a special pot called a hagama. The curved bottom makes it easier to stir once the soup gets arm-wearyingly thick. “Only about 20 people in the whole world make tonkotsu this way,” says Higashida. And only he has been boiling the same soup for 15 years, for about 15 hours a day, so that the marrow and soft bones dissolve into the liquid to impart a rich, meaty creaminess unmatched in most other ramens.

All that porkiness has given Gumshara’s ramen a “do it if you dare” reputation. Though about 350 bowls are served every day, even the most devoted fans can sometimes struggle to finish. Higashida wants people to enjoy his food, not treat it like a trophy, so he and his team are more than happy to adjust the soup to taste. “We can add some stock, make it less salty, less sweet,” he says. “‘Whatever you like’ is our policy.”

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