Yes, you read that right. Cappuccino ramen. So many questions. Is it cappuccino with ramen in it? Or rather coffee-flavored ramen? Maybe half espresso, half broth?
No! It’s actually tonkotsu ramen, but with a creamy and frothy upper layer, resembling the top of a cappuccino. It’s the bestseller of Choi Oi Noodle, a small ramen restaurant located in JapanTown across from Tiger Sushi.
Choi Oi Noodle, the restaurant that serves this dish, is relatively new in the Saigon ramen scene. The cappuccino ramen in itself is not a new invention, but I do believe it’s the first restaurant in Saigon that serves it.
The comfy restaurant has some seating at the counter, where you can see the chefs prepare the ramen right in front of you. The heat, the smells, the ingredients... Everything happens right in front of you. First row at a basketball game? No, thank you. Give me the first row at a ramen kitchen, please.
There’s also a table for four, but the restaurant is not suited for a big group. They are open until late, so they are perfect for those late-night ramen cravings. Admit it, we all have those.
The Tonkotsu Cappuccino Ramen arrives with two big nori leaves, first covering that beautiful frothy ramen. The tonkotsu broth itself isn’t the creamiest I’ve had, but it’s the perfect flavor partner for that foamy layer.
You find your regular ingredients like thin noodles, a seasoned egg, black mushrooms, seasoned bamboo, a thick slab of fatty chashu pork with a nice char on the outside, and a little tower of green onions. If you’re a fan of thick, fatty pork in your ramen: definitely visit Choi Oi Noodle. Never seen pork this thick in any of my other favorite ramen spots in Saigon.
Next to their trending Cappuccino Ramen, they also have other special ramen dishes like the Tonkotsu Cappuccino Ramen with Shrimp and Cold Ramen or side dishes like Shumai dumplings, Gyoza or even Grilled Shrimp Chashu. I am definitely going back to try that Garlic Fried Rice too.
For spice lovers, you can also try the Dan Dan Noodle Spicy Ramen (or Tantanmen), one of my favorite types of ramen. This one looks red and fiery!
There, a lot of questions are answered. That feels good. What a rollercoaster that was, thinking it would be coffee-flavored ramen. Pfew. But… I do have one final question. I must ask it, or it will keep me up at night. Here goes: Would the cappuccino ramen give you a little foam mustache when you drink from the bowl?
Sadly, I forgot to test this out, so now it’s your responsibility to try and report back to me. Let me know if you liked this frothy tonkotsu ramen and the adventure of trying something new as much as me.
Choi Oi Noodle
Lê Thánh Tôn, Bến Nghé, Quận 1, Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh
Opening hours: Monday - Sunday: 11:00–03:00 (I do believe they take some breaks, but around lunchtime, dinner time, or late at night, you should be good)