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Showing posts with label Ramen. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ramen. Show all posts

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Bites: Double Tonkotsu = Double Goodness? @ Kizuki Ramen & Izakaya, Perth.

When I was told that Kizuki Ramen & Izakaya sat in the spot of what used to be Shiro Izakaya, I was shocked as I felt that Shiro had really punched above its weight when it came to food quality.  It even brought the Ramen Burger to Perth!! Needless to say its time has passed and the start of an interesting ramen place excites me equally. This latest Japan import is a new contender in the local ramen scene.  Playing its authenticity card in a premium location, does Kizuki Ramen & Izakaya deliver?

First, the ordering process. Super simple with the modern touchscreen system replicating the ticketing booth’s of Japan.  A high degree of customisability and toppings makes eating at Kizuki Ramen a bliss even for the fussiest of eaters.  That day I tried Kizuki Ramen & Izakaya’s pride and joy, the famous Tonkotsu Ramen.  To do that, I ordered the Double Tonkotsu.
My noodles were cooked “normal” with the broth's sodium level “normal”.  Do two “normals” make one right?  For starters I loved the kick the broth served up.  That amazing thick porky broth was superbly hearty and tasty from the many hours.  Kizuki’s Double Tonkotsu also comes with heaps of garlic so you can actually see it floating amongst the lard on the soup which gives it a fragrance that cuts through the meatiness.  Chashu was tender and melted in my mouth immediately.  Surprising considering the thickness of it!  Noodles carried the right amount of bite.  Enjoyable!  The egg was faultless though I think if they had cut it, the food would look better.  I knew I would mess it up if I tried to cut it so I did not even bother.

A really quick hit and run lunch that cost me $18.  Was it worth the buck?  But before we go there, lets just set the ground the Kizuki Ramen & Izakaya served some amazing ramen.  I have heard previous feedbacks saying its too salty etc, but salt is a matter of preference.  In fact, most restaurants in Chinatown load up on sodium too so for me this was comparable.  The Tonkotsu broth at Kizuki Ramen had a really nice garlicky punch that I enjoyed and its richness was well-toned to my palate.  If you are looking for Tonkotsu, this might be it! Price point though is definitely on the higher side of things.  Back when Dosukoi was open, it set the price point for ramen at $10.  It was one of the cheapest ramen in town while the Nao Ramen establishment sat on a “pricey” $13.  With new places charging $15-18 a bowl, I suspect die-hard fans will go all out to try the latest in town.  But can these new ramen joints beat the classics for longevity?  Only time will tell.  I know for me that the Tonkatsu alone is worth a return to Kizuki Ramen & Izakaya.  In fact, this has got to be the best new ramen in town.

Kizuki Ramen & Izakaya Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Bites: A Bowl of Miso Goodness @ Ramen Samurai, Victoria Park

There is something strangely pleasing about Ramen. Perhaps its the way the full flavoured broth bring warmth or how, the thick wavy noodles are simply made for slurping!  And who is going to forget the melt in your mouth chashu and the seasoned egg with a runny centre.  With ramen shops coming up all around town, the competition is no longer a 3 way battle between the popular Nao Ramen, Dosukoi Ramen and Arigataya Ramen.  With Ramen Lab, Oishi Ramen and now Ramen Samurai in the equation, things are a little different.  Two weeks ago I headed to Ramen Samurai  in Victoria Park during their soft opening.  Unlike most Ramen places, Ramen Samurai is not housed in a small dingy hole in a wall kind of shop.  Instead, it has a generous eating space with chefs keen to prep up a meal!

I had a  choice 4 Ramen broths during Ramen Samurai's soft opening.  They were the Miso, Spicy Miso, Kimchi and Curry Ramen.  After having a good meal of Tonkatsu at Ramen Lab just days earlier, I decided to go for the Miso Ramen, $15.  

The assemble from the top is rather typical with the addition of corn kernels which are not my favourite.  In saying that, they could have been cheeky and leave it out.  I think Nao Ramen charges $1.50 for corn!  Ramen Samurai’s handmade noodles are wavy and has a nice bite to it.  The soup is super rich with a very prominent miso flavour in it.  For those who do not take Miso too often, it might actually be a little overpowering and a tad gritty too.  Still a good bowl of broth.  The Chashu at Ramen Samurai was lovely!  In fact, I think it deserves 1 point better as the skin had a more melt in your mouth touch, though not the best I had.

When in Rome do as the Romans do.  So when eating Ramen, eat Gyoza too!

This was very typical Gyoza.  I mean what was I expecting right?  Ramen Samurai’s Gyoza is nicely charred on one side with the top kept perfectly white and slightly translucent.  While it taste good, I wanted a bit more filling in them as the Gyozas felt a little “skinny”.  So to me it did not deliver that burst of porky goodness in one bite that I like!

In evaluating the enjoyment I had, the Miso Ramen’s broth delivered the kick I wanted.  Its strong Miso flavour was slightly nutty but sweet at the same time.  The sodium level was just right and it was nice!   The egg was runny, but felt a little lacking?  Maybe Soy?  The egg did not have that balance between the Soy and Mirin.   My meal at Ramen Samurai was nothing short of satisfactory.  But was it a whole new level of ramen goodness?  Perhaps this deserves a revisit! Delivering final judgement during Ramen Samurai’s soft opening would be too harsh.

See my other ramen post below :)!

Ramen Samurai Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Bites: the Classic Hakata Ramen @ Ramen Lab, Mount Lawley

When something new opens in Perth, there is very little secret behind it in this small city.  When Ramen Lab opened its doors to the public a couple of weeks ago, I knew I had to get in.  After all, there is plenty of space for more ramen in Perth.

Coming in hungry beyond words can describe, it was safe to say I ordered my heart out.  To start, a single serve of their Bao filled with cabbage slaw, and pork belly with a drizzle of spicy Aioli.

Clearly, each of these little buns were made with love.   The bao itself was light and fully. The starts though were its top notch fillings and spicy Aioli tasted a lot better than what I remember Sriracha Mayo tasted!  I particularly enjoyed the thinly sliced pork belly that had a slight charred smokiness to it. Did not looked smoked or anything though! 


Octopus balls topped with a Worcestershire based concoction, spicy Aioli, Bonito flakes, and Nori.  First thing that comes to mind when I ordered these is that it must have came right out of the bag! So there was little to dislike.  For sure it could have been a little bit more delicate but what do you expect right?  Very few people make their own these days.  Overall, these were pretty nice since I really enjoyed their spicy Aioli!

My pick of the Ramen bunch was Ramen Lab’s Classic Hakata.  This style of ramen is my all time favourite where an honest broth is given the punch of black garlic oil! This was no different as the bowl looked super inviting.

Looking at the noodles used for the Tonkotsu, you can immediately tell that the guys at Ramen Lab had done their homework because they paired their rich Tonkotsu broth with thin noodles instead of using the typical wavy noodle!  That’s like rule no.1 in the Ramen Book.  Then comes the other elements which were all very nicely done.  The egg was a class act, along with the spring onion and fungus.   Then comes the lovely pork belly which was tasted similar to the one in the Bao which isn't a bad thing considering how good it was!   While the Classic Hakata was good, I felt that there were areas where Ramen Lab could definitely improve!  First things first, the Menma or Bamboo Shoots needed a little more marinate because it still had a very strong flavour to it.  Secondly, the black garlic oil.  I love my garlic and the black garlic oil was way too little!  Lastly the soup by itself was lovely but with the noodles I think it could do with a little more salt.  The flavour was good but something felt lacking towards the end.

As noodles in soup continue to dominate the eating scene in Perth along with the craze for American BBQ and Fried Chicken, it must be wary.  Because if logic has it that a good bowl of ramen is like a trip to Heaven, then the converse must also true that a terrible bowl of ramen is a one way ticket to Hell.   Thankfully, Ramen Lab delivered better than expected because the lacklustre reviews prior to me coming were a tad concerning.  Sure there could be improvements but there was little to dislike.  Over all, it still was a solid delivery.  Oh yes, and I eat A LOT.  I would have definitely needed an extra serve of noodles if not for the sides I ordered.   A free serve of extra noodles would be good considering a bowl here starts at $15!  Would also note that the staff at Ramen Lab were extremely courteous as they made sure I got the best from the piping bowl of noodles by telling me to mix it properly and to not eat the strong flavoured Takoyaki and Ramen at the same time!

Check out my other Ramen posts:


Ramen Lab Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Bites: A Heart Bowl of Ramen @ Oceans Ramen and Donburi Bar, Northbridge

My stay in Perth was probably my last Winter experience this winter and no way was I going to go without having a bowl delicious ramen.  For this, I headed to Oceans Ramen on Roe Street in Northbridge.  From being a popular take-away in Fremantle to a humble lunch bar underneath my old office Hatch, Oceans have gone form strength to strength before finally occupying the old site of Arigataya Ramen as Oceans Ramen!

The reviews of Oceans Ramen has been less than impressive but I was still keener than ever to try!    Two ramen made their appearance that day.  The first being the Original Ramen with a Shoyu or Soy base.  Sadly, this does not come with a soy egg.  So without even hesitating, the Onsen Egg was added. 

Flavour wise it was pretty damn good.  It was not as salty as the ones you get from Nao or Dosukoi Ramen but still rich in that mild sweetness of the soy. Or maybe there was mirin? lol.  Still I only tried a bit and so my comments are hardly valid. 

Kogashi Ninniku Ramen was my pick for lunch.

Tempted by that uber black topping, I ordered the Kogashi Ninniku Ramen also known as the burned garlic ramen.  While I am more familiar with grounded black garlic, I was open to having this Kogashi style ramen.  This type of ramen is typically finished with a lard flambĂ©.  Not this time thought.  Otherwise the smoke detector would have rung!!! It was just simple ramen topped with black garlic oil.  Even then, it had the most fragrant flavours just sipping from the heart bowl of soup. Char Shu was amazingly tender and was of a similar standards to Dosukoi/Nao.  But what I liked even more at Oceans Ramen was that they serve raw minced garlic on every table.  I added a scoop and it was a massive flavour bomb that could kill every Vampire!  But why garlic I wondered?  So I googled and ended up watching a video online and apparently its quite a norm in Tokyo to have garlic on standby especially at the Ramen stands in the markets!  No explanations but perhaps it helps add flavour and reduce the porky-ness?  Thats only my two cents though!

I have probably said this a hundred times now but seriously, what is better than slurping ramen on a cool Monday afternoon?  While I was not blown off my socks or whatsoever, Oceans Ramen was an enjoyable experience for me.  The noodles were wavy, chewy with a nice bite that held the delicious broth nicely.  I also absolutely enjoyed the addition of the black garlic oil that brings back memories of the Hakata style ramen topped with black garlic oil which I enjoyed heaps.  Over all, nice!

Check out my other Ramen posts:

Oceans Ramen and Donburi Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Bites NLD: Slurping Ramen @ Genki SET Japanese, Den Haag.

The Hague is gradually descending into a cold, dark and wet season.  With more than half the day spent in the dark, I sought salvation beyond the norms of the traditional Dutch Stampot.  Through the recommendation of my colleague,  I came here for a pre-theatre meal with a couple of my mates.  Located in the heart of the Hague, Genki SET Japanese is a popular spot for a simple Japanese meal.  

While they serve a host of dishes from the basic sushi to a wagyu teriyaki and even shabu-shabu, I was actually here for the ramen!  But to share, my friends and I started with the Osaka style pressed Sushi  €6.90 which reminds me of the sushi I had at Modern Eatery: The House of Sushi in Fremantle.

To make this sushi, the fish is compacted into a mould before being filled with rice.  It is then overturned and coated with drizzling of Japanese Mayonnaise before being torched.  The result is a smokey-melt in your mouth salmon. The fish was a little thin, but it was yummy! Not sure why the sweet brown sauce though =/!

My Ramen of choice was the Shoyu (Soy) Ramen with slices of decadent Chashu €8.80.

Initial impressions were great.  You get a clear broth that smells of soy with a whiff of smokiness.  The egg with a runny yolk was promising and it looked nice over all.  That is until you actually start eating it.  My biggest dislike would be the depth of flavour in the broth. While it was mildly salty and yes there is a hint of soy with smokiness, I was looking for some strong soy flavours which should always be the focus of a complete Shoyu Ramen.  Instead, the soy flavour in the soup was flat!  Other than that, the Chashu was yummy and everything else really worked!  Can’t say I was too pleased to see a carrot in there though =.=!

To complement my noodles, I added a served of Karaage or Fried Chicken Nuggets for €1.95.  Definitely no complains here.  Crispy and drizzled with mayonnaise again.  Hard to go wrong but I would not mind a strong punch of ginger in the chicken marinade :)! 
My first meal at Genki SET Japanese was decent but I cannot say that I walked away too impressed. The service was good and the meal was decently priced for the Hague.  It cost me just a little below €15 for the entire meal.  However, the Shoyu Ramen just did not deliver!  Thankfully I returned twice since this meal 3 weeks ago.  Their Miso Ramen with Chashu and a dollop of Volcano Oil is absolutely delicious.  So if you are ever coming here, give their Miso Ramen with Chashu a try!  It is so much better than the Shoyu Ramen.

Check out my other Ramen posts:


Sunday, December 28, 2014

Melbourne: Little Ramen Bar X Shanghai Street Dumpling @ Little Bourke St.

The traditional Ramen has strong following that prompted many brands and independents to open outside its place of origins.  Whilst famous brands have a strong backing due to their established names, the independents are not deterred from defining their own ramen.  Such is the story of the Little Ramen Bar who has been serving delicious bowls of ramen from its narrow spot on 5/346 Little Bourke St.

Classic dishin’with a round of Gyoza for the table.  Yes? No? Maybe?  Typical.

A page long ramen selection threw me into the usual dilemma.  But I came here twice so my problems were solved :)!  The first round I saw me order the Hokkaido Ramen.  A delicious miso broth combines mixed vegetables, minced pork, corn, butter and a slice of BBQ pork for a full Japanese Northern Island experience.  Its butter melts into an aromatic whiff making the tasty broth even richer and more flavourful.  But surprisingly though, my added egg was the killer of the lot.  The runny brilliant orange yolk was all the rave.

In the second round, I shared a classic ramen + chashu slices with AC.  EGG, PORK and RAMEN.  Is there a more delightful combination?   The porky - creamy goodness stems from what the place says is a result of 10 hours of cooking.  Sure seems legit to me!

Little Ramen Bar on Urbanspoon

Sharing seems a little strange as it is something I do very infrequently.  But worry not.  The Little Ramen Bar is a few door Shanghai Street Dumpling on 342 Little Bourke St.  Another popular place that serves quality dumplings for decent pennies.  After queueing for a bit and yes, you have to queue for both the Little Ramen Bar and the Shanghai Street Dumpling, we were seated outside.  At Shanghai Street Dumpling, you order before you are seated which seems like a legit way to increase a restaurants efficiency.

This was my second dumpling meal after an overkill of Xiao Long Bao at Hutong.  Still scared of dumplings, I decided to call a crab and pork Xiao Long Bao in anticipation that the sweetness of the crab flesh would mellow well with the pork broth.
Did it work?  Comparing the two Xiao Long Bao I had at Hutong and Shanghai Street Dumpling, the one at the latter was significantly less cloying.  Thanks to the addition of the crab, there was a subtle seafood flavour through the dumpling which made it more palatable.

Shanghai Street Dumpling’s Pan Fried Pork Buns.
This dish was a reminiscence of my trip to Taiwan where the road side vendor serves these little pan fried buns at the speed of light.  But remember, do not bite in so quickly!  The hot juices within can burn and it will.  Go slow and steady!

(Note: The Chili Oil Wantons at Hutong are heaps nicer than the ones at Shanghai Street Dumpling.)

Shanghai Street Dumpling on Urbanspoon

Do you want lunch with variety?  Look no further.  The Little Ramen Bar and Shanghai Street Dumpling are within close proximity of each other on this strip of Little Bourke Street.  Mind blowingly good?  Perhaps they were not the best in the world as the ramen in NYC/KL carries more weight and even the street vendors of Taiwan makes kick ass dumpling for half the dime.  But for where we are, feast your buds with their creations and enjoy with little concerns for your wallet!  They were really quite good!


Saturday, July 12, 2014

NYC Bites: Hide Chan Ramen & Totto Ramen @ Midtown Manhattan

The Japanese culture is big in the States and ramen has a huge following in this part of town. Whilst chain stores like Ippudo are hugely popular amongst New Yorkers, I wanted to try something a little bit more independent.  During my trip I visited two places which very fitted very well into the category. That was Hide-Chan and Totto Ramen.  Coincidentally though, they were both owned by the same owner (see this article).   In terms of location, whether you live on the East side or the West side, consider yourself covered as Hide-Chan sits comfortably on the East side whilst Totto Ramen covers the West.

Hide-chan was the venue of my first ramen meal with its specialty Hakata Style Ramen!  If you have no intentions to be part of a queue, this was the place to be.  Coming in at 6pm, I was politely offered a choice at the table or at the bar counter.  Needless to say, I took a seat at the counter.  Unfortunately, the counter did not quite offer the view of men working hard to produce piping hot noodles.  Instead it was a normal bar counter. Naturally, my camera went back into the bag until the food came out =/.

It did not take long before a couple of perfectly cooked Gyoza came.  It looked great but in terms of taste, it was rather typical.  Decently marinated mince with all the essential herbs.  Nothing you cannot get elsewhere for sure. 

Then comes my main course, Hide-Chan’s Hakata Style Ramen with Black Garlic Oil.  The broth itself was good, thick and rich.  Just what a good ramen is meant to be.  But with the flavoured oil, it was heavenly.  The garlicky punch in the porky soup elevated this basic Fukuoka-styled Japanese noodle dish to a whole new level.  It made me reminisce my first meal at Menya Musashi.  Absolutely moreish.  
Slurping strands of noodles mouthful after mouthful were all part of the ever rewarding Ramen meal.  What made me a little confused though, was the noodle used.  It felt a lot thinner than what I was used too.  I later found out that the ultra thin and white noodles were common in the region of the Hakata style ramen.  Thankfully, I requested it to be prepared “ a little firm”.  This ensured that I did not end up with sloppy noodles. 

Hide-Chan Ramen closes really late at around 3-4am, so if supper is your sort of thing, definitely drop by then!
Hide-Chan Ramen on Urbanspoon

Totto Ramen was my next noodle haunt during my trip.  An establishment with queues out of the door which snakes down the street, this was definitely not the place for groups more than 4.  But if you are curious with patience to match, you are in for a treat.

I like chicken noodles but never quite the way the most people do it.  That was until I came here and tried what they call the “Chicken Paiten Ramen”.  To me, it sounded nothing more than a cross between Street Fighter and a Ramen Master creation.  In my mouth though, the soup was so potent in chicken flavour that it had me wonder how was this even possible.  The next closest thing to this was my very own mom’s special chicken essence which she makes 2 bowls from an entire chicken. 

Its condiments were a standard of blow-torched chashu, finely chopped scallions and chicken shreds.  To add my own touch, I chose to top my bowl of noodles with a soy egg and seasoned shoots.  Damn it was good. Springy noodles, fresh scallions, and man I was happy. My only discontent?  The yolk was not brilliantly orange and runny!  Big problem?  Definitely not.  Also, to big fans of melt-in-your-mouth chashu, this did not melt but had a very mellow smokiness that is equally pleasant!
Hide-Chan vs Totto Ramen verdict?  Different but equally good.  A pork broth vs a chicken base should never be a cause for an argument.  This is proven true here as both broth were equally rich, and tasty with its own bragging rights.   Looking for a sub-$20 meal in the Big Apple?  Sorted.

Totto Ramen on Urbanspoon


Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Bites: Nao Ramen @ Perth CBD.

Quality ramen is my once a month treat when I am back home in Perth. A distinctive broth filled with springy noodles and topped with melt in your mouth Chashu slices, this is simply carbohydrate heaven. Along side Perth favourite Dosukoi Ramen, Nao is a ramen shop to be reckoned with. Its reputation has long been instilled into the taste buds of Perth residents. Any single day Nao is open, expect to see a long queue at peak hours. But with their speedy service and the typically quick ramen eating culture, the wait is often fairly bearable (approx 30 minutes).

My choice for today was the delicious Spicy Miso Ramen with Extra Chasu ($14.50). Melt in your mouth Chashu? Checked. Perfectly cooked noodles? Checked. Superb broth? Not so check. Unfortunately a lardy soup is sometimes not up to scratch. In this instance, I felt that the ramen at Nao was a fair bit oilier than usual. Its flavours though, was still every bit tasty and the taste of the miso stood out despite the presence of the chilli.  I was a little bumped about the oily base but this was not enough to displace my trust in this little establishment.  Additionally prices here can be  a little steep compared to other ramen places but considering its easy to reach location, most will find it very well worth it.

Is Nao one of my favourite ramen places in town?  Definitely so.  But to blog about this is like stating the obvious.  Nao Ramen is no hidden secret by any means.  It is clearly a Perth favourite. 


Nao Japanese on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Bites: Dosukoi Ramen @ Allendale Square, Perth CBD

The pioneer of what is inevitably one of the most authentic Ramen is Dosukoi Ramen which first started in the Fremantle Markets many years ago.  But with something so tantalizing yet affordable, news did not take long to spread.  Soon, queues for ramen at this original shop in Fremantle stretched 3 hours long.  Fortunately, the mastermind behind this establishment decided to open on in the CBD making it super accessible for a quick meal.
With no price increase, there seem to be enough for a decent meal here.  My favourite ramen here is the Shoyu or Soy based ramen with tender pork slices (Chasiu).  For $10, you get 5 pieces of Chasiu with their signature Sumo stamped Nori and a slice of Naruto along with Dosukoi’s decadent ramen.
Whilst this bowl is named and priced the same as the one in Fremantle, I cannot help but feel that something was lacking.  It felt a little salty but that was not the problem.  It was something else that was missing.  However, this is no way deterred me from enjoying this bowl of ramen.  Its noodles were bouncy, the Chasiu was tender as hell and all in all, it just was a really good bowl of noodles.

Many people would compare the ramen here to the ramen served in the Fremantle Markets.  But in all honesty, if the CBD shop saves me the need drive to Fremantle as well as a 2-3hours on a weekend, I can happily forgo the small difference present.   In this city of pretty expensive food, a good meal for under $10 is not an easy find.  Especially so when so much detail and effort is required to make a decadent broth with matching tender pork slices.  So if you are looking for a delicious bite without the cost, definitely checkout Dosukoi Ramen :)!  And if you are not a fan of noodles, they have several rice dishes on offer too :)!

Check out my other ramen links below:

Dosukoi on Urbanspoon

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Bites: Kai Japanese @ Bull Creek

Ramen has always been a pleasure food for me.  The act of slurping piping hot noodles is something mom strongly suggests against, but in cold weather, it is simply joy.  Summer has been quite mild this year and with the festive season kicking in, most places are often close.  But if you are craving for some ramen, it is good to know your choices.  To feed my ramen cravings this time, I headed to a quaint place in Bull Creek called Kai Japanese.  With no more than 15 seats in the eatery, it is highly recommended to come before the peak hours which are normally 12-1pm or 6.30-8pm.
While many people here ordered Bentos and Donburis, their ramen is equally famous.  XL, Fishman and I ordered different types of ramen to see which came best.  To accompany our cha-su (sliced pork) laden ramen, we also called for a side of Kaarage.PC280010Bloody delicious.  It was srispy, fragrant and tender in each bite making the Kaarage at Kai so good it is only to be beaten by my favourite one in Toraya.  Squeeze some lemon to reduce the oiliness of dish dish before dunking it back into a rich chili mayonnaise for a food-gasm.  Outrageous.  Not bad at all.  
The first ramen on the table that day was the Shoyu Ramen or Soy-based Ramen ($9.90).  Initial impressions were decent but the overpowering flavor of the bamboo shoots makes it a hard sell.  For some odd reason, the “canned bamboo shoots” flavor were overly intense.  For this reason, my favourite Shoyu is still the one at Pak Dosukoi Ramen in Fremantle or the City.  After that comes my Miso Ramen ($9.90).OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOne thing to note about Kai’s ramen is their soy egg which is given for all flavors of ramen.  It is superbly moreish and not many places in Perth (if any at all) serves it the way Kai does. In fact, a ramen place called Arigataya (Roe St, Northbridge) served me a fully hard boiled one which was sadly, boring.  But that is where the good news ends for my Miso Ramen.   The soup had a distinctive Miso taste that was slightly spicy.  But my biggest dislike about this was how there were chunky slices of vegetables throughout my soup. It felt in many ways, catered to a distinctive group of people despite the generous slices of Cha-su.  Even more dislike was how the vegetable tended to overpower the flavor of the miso at times.  An OK ramen this was, but definitely to Nao Ramen (Murray St., Perth) for the best Miso Ramen albeit its significantly more expensive pricing.
While the Shoyu and Miso Ramen did not quite hit my fancy, there was one particular ramen that totally hits the sweet spot.  It was Kai Japanese’s Tonkatsu Ramen ($9.90).PC280018It was simply superb this one.  Look at the how rich the soup is.  Ramen for me is all about the soup.  You can take away the egg, the meat, the Naruto and all the other condiments.  But if the soup is good, it is something to rave about already. Such is the story of the ramen.  The noodles like its other less favorable counterparts were cooked to perfection, the Japanese al dente.  Pick it up with a pair of chopsticks and it retains enough springiness to keep its strand of noodle wavy, not withered like a dead plant.    Considering how lardy this was, it definitely is not an everyday affair but when you are in the mood for something like this after a month of fasting, you deserve it.   If it is any consolation, the Cha-su here is extremely lean unlike the ones in Dosukoi, Nao or Ippudo Ramen.  In fact, it reminds me like the one at Menya Musashi. 
While I can really repeat the same thing over and over again, I have to say that Kai Japanese really did leave a great impression.  Despite needing a 20 plus minutes drive to reach, it was worth it.  Tasty noodles, with some really good flavor.  For me, it was all about the Tonkatsu Ramen but you might like something different, so do not limit yourself and give it all a try :)!  Lastly, the price at Kai Japanese in Bull Creek is really reasonable.  All their ramen is priced at $9.90 which puts it on par with Dosukoi Ramen and about $3.50 cheaper(for the Cha-su Ramen) than Nao Ramen in the city.  If you live in the Melville area, you have my envy! But if you are like me who sometimes suffer from a Ramen craving, definitely try Kai Japanese when other venues are exhausted.  Oh and did I mention that parking is a breeze here?  Super convenient ;)!

Kai Japanese on Urbanspoon

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Bites HK: Ippudo Ramen @ Tsim Sha Tsui

Ippudo Ramen is one of the mainstream franchises from Japan that is taking the world by storm.  With its first Australian shop running on a high in Westfield Sydney, there is no doubt that we will see a similar trend happening in Perth.  But before it comes, is Ippudo Ramen really all that good?  Well, I was in Hong Kong last Christmas and had the opportunity to try the franchise  a little closer to the home of ramen, Japan.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPork belly buns is an appetizer bun that seemed really popular,so I followed and decided to order one!  The pork was soft but to say “OH! It melts-in-your-mouth” would be an overstatement.  Steamed buns were soft and fluffy.  I found myself not understanding the hype.  Back in Malaysia, I would sometimes see a generous slice of pork belly sandwiched between fluffy buns that really hits you like BAM!  This was nowhere near that in comparison. The meat was just so little!  But for most people, it must have been enough.  If not Momofuku would not even be half as famous as it is now.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe little darling ordered some Gyoza for us to share too.  It was perfectly cooked on the outside as the picture shows.  But what it does not show is the filling which were OK but it could have been juicier on the inside.  

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERARamen is what we were here for and for their December special, Ippudo HK had a special Ramen on promotion.  The soup tasted great and noodles still had enough resistance when clipped out using chopsticks.  To make it easier maybe I should just call it Chinese Al Dente? haha.  The oozy center of the egg was very yummy but when I look at the ramen package as a whole, what is so special about Ippudo?  I struggled to find my answer. 

From this bowl of delicious noodles, I did not see how it differentiates itself enough to make an impact in town.  I would rather go to Nao or Dosukoi over this anytime.  However, if we had something more unique like Menya Musashi or Santouka Ramen in Australia, then we are talking!  Conclusion?  Ippudo is OK only.