Ramen is Ramen is Ramen: Ramen Danbo

Forgive me for being crass, but to me all good ramen pretty much taste the same. Sure, the broth may be thicker at one place, the chashu fattier at another place, and the noodles thinner at yet a third place, but when it comes right down to it, when the flavours and textures meld together to become mouthful after mouthful of noodle soup in my mouth, I can’t really discern much of a difference between the shio ramen from Santouka, Kintaro, or Motomachi Shokudo. To tell you the truth, I can’t honestly say that there is a huge difference between … Continue reading Ramen is Ramen is Ramen: Ramen Danbo

The god of ramen: Taishoken

OK…maybe not directly related to the god of ramen, but probably a disciple of his. If not a disciple then certainly the disciple’s disciple or the disciple’s disciple’s apprentice. I think it was on one of those trans-Pacific flights in which I was trying to stay awake for the whole flight – so that I wouldn’t have to adjust to the time difference when I got back – when I found the Japanese documentary “The god of ramen” in the depths of the in-flight entertainment system. The movie was sad. I almost shed my virgin documentary tears for it. It … Continue reading The god of ramen: Taishoken

Japanese Ramen? I think not: Gyoza Bar

I get why people hate on Miku. I do. It’s easy to dislike a sushi place when it seems big, corporate, untraditional, and most importantly, sorely lacking when it comes to the residence of an Itamae who you can recognize by name. But I happen to like Miku. It is my favourite sushi restaurant in the area. It is unique, and it presents flavours that are not only pleasurable to my palate, but also innovative and different. I think the restaurant embodies the character of the city more than any other Japanese restaurant. It is Japanese in its core but … Continue reading Japanese Ramen? I think not: Gyoza Bar

New and Noteworthy: Marutama Ra-men

Today I visited the newest member of the west end ramen district: Marutama Ra-men. It is the second new ramen place with the kanji character ‘maru’ in its name to open in the west end the the past few months – with the other being Maruko. Unlike Maruko, Marutama comes to us with more of a ramen lineage. It is a the first North American branch of a modest chain of ramen restaurants that originated from Japan. Although the ramen-ya only has four branches in its native Japan, it has more than double that number of locations (10 including its … Continue reading New and Noteworthy: Marutama Ra-men

Osaka: Ippudo Ramen (at Momofuku Ando’s Original Ramen Restaurant)

  Ippudo probably severed me the best bowl of ramen that I’ve had in North America. I knew that I had to visit one of its locations when I made my next trip to Japan. I also knew that it wouldn’t be that hard to find an Ippudo in Japan since they have in excess of 60 branches all over the country. Out of the 60 some odd locations, I was fortunate enough to visit one of their most unique outposts. It is located in the building that housed the original ramen operation Momofuku Ando ran at around the same … Continue reading Osaka: Ippudo Ramen (at Momofuku Ando’s Original Ramen Restaurant)

Yet Another Ramen Place in the West End(on Robson): Maruko Ramen

I don’t think I need to list the various ramen shops in the West End and on Robson for you to know that Maruko is joining a crowd instead of providing an unique dining option. They must be really confident about their ramen to open up in the proximity of the highly-regarded Santouka and the inexplicably popular Kintaro. The one thing that I can say upon entering the restaurant and reading its menu is that they are unique in not having gyoza on their menu. Instead of gyoza they have onigiri, which is not a common item on the menu … Continue reading Yet Another Ramen Place in the West End(on Robson): Maruko Ramen

London: Wagamama

I first heard about Wagamama ramen in the mid-to-late 90’s, when it was a rapidly expanding chain of Japanese-themed restaurants in London. It was sort of a cutting edge concept back then. It served ramen, which was a much lesser-known genre of Japanese cuisine when compared to either sushi sushi or teriyaki. The restaurant also popularized a few concepts that at the time were virtually unheard of in Western casual dining chains. Its tables were exclusively communal, and its servers used wireless pda’s (think palm pilot) to send orders to the kitchen. The combination of these ‘fresh’ ideas gave the … Continue reading London: Wagamama