Haikan, located in Shaw at 805 V St. NW, serves Sapporo-style ramen and small plates in an airy, modern space.
The location’s interior attracts attention with large glass windows flooding light in from outside. Order indoors from sleek all-wood booths, high-top tables and bar seating, or sit out on the patio at communal tables to enjoy the sun rays with added warmth from the ramen broth.
Haikan’s menu offers eccentric cocktail options with punchy names like the Lumpy Space Princess ($11), a drink with white rum, purple sweet potato syrup, coconut and lime, and the You Go Glen Cacao ($13) with cacao-infused gin, lemon and cappelletti.
If cocktails aren’t your thing, keep it simple with rounds of Haikan’s house sake ($9) and Sapporo draft beer ($6). For non-alcoholic beverages, try a refreshing matcha lemonade ($5) or house-made ginger beer ($5).
Haikan takes inspiration from Sapporo-style ramen. The restaurant uses Chintan stock, a clear broth containing chicken, beef and pork that is known for its flavorful taste. Each non-vegetarian ramen option is immaculately topped with garlic, onion, bean sprouts, ground pork, roasted pork shoulder, nori and scallions.
Though most ramens come with the same toppings, the differences lie in Haikan’s variety of broths. For something on the spicier side, the spicy shoyu ramen ($14) adds complex spices for the perfect amount of heat and a soy sauce-based tanginess. Those looking for something lighter can try Haikan’s miso ramen ($14) in a broth flavored with both miso and sesame seeds.
Each dish can be customized with extra toppings like a seasoned egg ($1.50), wood ear mushrooms ($1.75) or bamboo ($1.75). If you’re worried about your bowl’s broth-to-noodle ratio, opt for extra noodles ($2.50).
Though Haikan is known for its ramen, the small plates are not to be overlooked. Small plate options range from crab rangoon ($7) stuffed with cream cheese and crab to more exotic dishes like crispy pig ears ($6) in a yuzu vinaigrette.
The small plate that stands out is Haikan’s kitamura poutine ($8), an Asian twist on the French staple.
The dish starts with a bed of crunchy french fries. The salty dish comes topped with mapo tofu, mozzarella curds and ground chicken. Each of the toppings add complexity with their own texture and flavor.
The tofu is soft, blending perfectly with gooey mozzarella curds. The ground chicken topped with freshly ground Szechuan peppercorn packs the biggest punch to the tastebuds, and its spices mix perfectly with the salty fries and softer bites of tofu and cheese curds.
The tastes combined make for one delicious dish, translating an assortment of traditional ingredients into something unique and irresistible.