Showing posts with label ramen. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ramen. Show all posts

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Japanese food crawl in Burnaby: Sushi Oyama and Kamamarui

The biggest daily dilemma each day is perhaps figuring out what you want to eat for dinner, especially when you're in the area you're somewhat foreign in. That's right for me, it's Burnaby.

Thus, I turned to my trusty apps Urbanspoon and Yelp, exploring photos of dishes that catch my eye. I stumbled upon delicious looking ramen at Kamamarui and intriguing images of sushi pizza from Sushi Oyama. Both places seemed equally tantalizing and when you roll with me, when both options are desirable, why choose ? My fellow diner and I decided to go to both. 

Our first stop was at Sushi Oyama, a giant restaurant that looked like it was converted from a gigantic historic mansion.  Line up was starting to form around 6:30 pm but luckily we didn't have to wait long. The staff moved quite quickly and were well organized. However, if you're looking for authentic Japanese cuisine , this place isn't it. However, they have a large variety with pages of special house rolls. The price is about mid range and very competitive when compared to other similar sushi restaurants. I'd say they're probably Sushi Garden's biggest competitor, if they're still in the same league.

The place was huge and it gets filled up very quickly. We ordered lightly as it was our first stop: negitoro roll, kaki fry (fried oysters), toro nigiri, Las Vegas roll, and of course sushi pizza. 
Kaki fry was quick to arrive. The oysters were baby size but there were about 6-7 on a bed of greens (I ate way too fast to properly count). The sauce that accompanied the dish was a sweet concoction of honey mustard. 

Negitoro roll was pretty comparable to any other negitoro roll, but you pay slightly less for it. I was super impressed with the $1.55 toro nigiri because I haven't seen anywhere else that serves them for lower than $1.75. Of course, they're incomparable to places like Hachi when it comes to sashimi grade. I'm a huge fan of toro though, and I'd have to say that right there was value. 

I saw as many Las Vegas roll photos popping up so being a queen of deep frys, I had to figure this out. They're basically maki roll filled with salmon and imitation crab meat topped with generous amount of sauces and bonito flakes. The roll was deep fried with golden crispy crust.  I've tried deep fried rolls before and they were always either too hard or the rice was too crusty. Sushi Oyama did a pretty good job preserving the sushi rice without making them go soggy with oil or overcooked to the point of no return. 

Finally, what we came here for. The glorious sushi pizza, also a concept I've tried at Mikado in Edmonton. Topped with spicy tuna, avocado, cucumber, tobiko and generous amount of sauces, you really get a nice full and flavorful bite. The "crust" was again made with deep fried rice cut into pizza slices. The exterior was really crispy.  There was quite a bit of rice so of course both Las Vegas roll and sushi pizza will fill you up before you realize it. 

My, my. The two of us polished off all the starters and we were stuffed by all the rice. Nonetheless our gluttony carried us down to block to our next destination. 


The menu was simple and to the point.  It seems they want to focus on their unique specialties rather than trying to cater to everything. Being rather stuffed, I was quoted distraught that their fried chicken only came in full-order and no half sizes. So I ordered prawn tempura instead. They were served with a thick, sweet sauce. The kind they serve with tendon in Japan. And this is the dish I am most excited writing about. I have yet to find a place in Vancouver that serves the most divine bowl of tendon. So if any readers out there could make recommendation and guide me to the right direction, I'll be forever in your debt. 

Now, the tempura. Just looking at the textured batter, I already knew it was going to be a delight. I was right. It was light, EXTREMELY crispy, and the prawn inside was crunchy not rubbery. Combined with that sweet and savory sauce, order a bowl of rice, maybe a size of poached egg. Boom. Close to my tendon fantasy. 

The poached egg we ordered was served with a soy-yuzu sauce and came with a small cute scoopy spoon. Two of us shared a bowl of chasiu miso ramen. While Ramen Santouka still reigns of Vancouver ramen champion in my heart, Kamamarui still delivered a solid ramen with their own signature. The barbecue pork slices were tender with a hint of smokiness. The broth was flavorful, comforting during a cold rainy night. There were condiments at the table with 2 kinds of chili sauces. I love my food with a spicy kick, but I didn't feel the need to add any this time. 

We later suffered the consequences of overeating but we still enjoyed our food adventures nonetheless. If you can still enjoy a dish despite being really full, that's gotta say something about the food, right ? 
Sushi Oyama on Urbanspoon Kamamarui Ramen & Don on Urbanspoon

Friday, May 11, 2012

Ramen Champions


Arena 10 on Thonglor is a lively place to be especially on weekends.  Not only is it the venue for 2 popular night clubs, a football field, but also a go-to place for your ramen fix as well.  There are 6 individual ramen shops together in one place.  They're not just regular ramnen joints either, but all are ramen champions straight from Japan.  Each place is famous for specialized broth, and I've tried 3 out of 6 so far.  All the shops are about the same size; small with bar counters and outside seatings.  The staff are helpful and eager to inform us about their specialty.  

Friday, December 23, 2011

Delicious ramen in BKK; Chabuton

Chabuton's founder, Yasuji Morizumi, has several bragging rights under his belt.  In 2002, he was reigned as ramen champion on Japan's famous variety show, TV Champion.  His ramen restaurants were also featured in ZAGAT LA 3 years in a row.  In 2010 "Mist", one of his shops in Hong Kong was awarded with a Michelin star and featured in the Michelin Guide Hong Kong & Macau 2010.   

Presently, Chabuton is expanding all over Bangkok as its popularity is soaring.   Almost 2 years ago, I visited Chabuton at Central World location.  At that time, I found my experience to be extremely mediocre.  I was not impressed by their gyoza or the ramen.  The restaurant was busy, but the quality just didn't meet my expectation.  I almost forgot about that memory entirely until recently.  

My first lunch in Bangkok this trip landed me back to Chabuton when my parents dragged me to its newest location at Terminal 21.   I must say that it is business as usual here.  All the tables were filled with constantly flow of patrons coming in.  I was skeptical, but I was willing to give it another go. 

 I ordered chicken karage which arrived in 4 small pieces.  Again, it wasn't anything special.  The skin wasn't that crispy and the seasoning was only sub par.  For 75 bath, 4 small pieces of average tasting fried chicken are kinda pricy.

 These 2 bowls look identical to me.  However, one is number 4 shio tonkotsu ramen (B.175), and one is number 5 kara kara shio tonkotsu ramen (B. 195).  I think someone made a mistake here, because not only did they look the same, they also tasted the same.

This experience, however, was much better than the first.  This time, the broth was quite rich, flavourful, and savory.  Just plain delicious with lots of garlic flavour. I could pretty much slurp down the entire large bowl of just broth.  The pork slice was quite thin.  The ramen was topped with ground pork mixed in with spices. The noodles were smaller and thinner than other ramen noodles, but they were good, nonetheless.  The "large" bowl was kinda small.  The price tag is still quite expensive compared to the portion.  Although, this time it's a trade off for quality over quantity.

Wow, I guess you can really find a good ramen in Bangkok.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Edmonton ramen

There were a lot of confusions to what happened to Ramen Sanpachi that was supposed to open earlier this year.  It turned out that Sanpachi had pulled out and was replaced by Nomiya Sushi & Ramen instead.  There were also high hopes from ramen-deprived  Edmontonians that, perhaps, this place would be the first to offer authentic Japanese ramen in the city.  My Edmonton correspondent had informed me of their experience at Nomiya this passed weekend.  The prices for ramen all range to about $10, a little bit higher than in Vancouver.  The portion is a fair size.  The noodles used seemed to be instant rather than house-made, along with several slices of chasu pork, boiled egg and bean sprouts.  Overall, it definitely was ramen.
Shio ramen
For those who have never tried ramen before, the selections at Nomiya are not bad tasting.  However, those that have tasted the ramen in Vancouver would find that the Edmonton location is still far from being comparable.  Starting with the Shio ramen, while the ingredients were all there, the light broth was rather bland, and lacked the sweetness the pork bones which didn't exactly come through.

Spicy miso ramen
The spicy miso ramen offers a bit more body and bold flavours than the Shio. However, it wasn't exactly spicy either.  Again, it wasn't bad, but something was definitely missing.  The pork slices were fair in size with layers of fats in between.  To add more flavours to the soup, ask for a side of minced garlic and sesame oil.  Drop a spoonful of those in the soup and it definitely would make a huge difference to the taste. 

Sashimi salad
The sashimi salad consisted sashimi  on a bed of mixed greens drizzled with salad dressing and topped with finely sliced red onions.  This dish is reminiscent of the sashimi salad at Ebisu.  Overall, it was satisfactory, but there was hardly any other special quality to it.

Nomiya offers the typical variations of ramen, in which, if compared to everywhere else in Edmonton, it is probably the most authentic in the city.  However, compared to places like Santouka, Nomiya's ramen is still considered to be mediocre at best.  The key elements in differentiation may need to be slightly tweaked as they still don't quite match up to other big players.

Nomiya on Urbanspoon

Monday, December 20, 2010

First authentic ramen place opening in EDMONTON?!

I AM ECSTATIC! First Beard Papa's came to town, and now Sanpachi, a ramen chain straight from Sapporo, Japan, is soon to open its door in Edmonton!  Unlike Vancouver where ramen joints flourish, this will be the first ever Japanese ramen joint to open in Edmonton and the location will be in the south side on Calgary Trail. Finally, we don't have to fly to Vancouver every time we crave a descent bowl of ramen.  A fancy "fusion" version and udon noodles simply don't fill the void either.  I'm talking about flavourful, rich broth, chewy house-made egg noodles, tender slices of pork from a place that is actually authentic and owned by Japanese people, not just random interpretations of how ramen should be.  As far as I'm concerned, real ramen is currently non-existent in Edmonton.  Hence, this is probably one of the most exciting and refreshing news ever!  It's nice to see Edmonton culinary scene finally progressing.  Now that I've expressed my optimism, here's my concern:  If it's only a franchise, will it be authentic (especially in Edmonton)?   I've eaten at fast food chains in Japan and I thought they had excellent control over quality of their food.  With Sanpachi also being a fast food chain, I hope they have some ways of maintaining quality here.  Although, I've heard that the Vancouver location is doing quite well.  I guess the ramen lovers in Edmonton will have to wait and find out.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Good Eats in Vancouver

I'll update this post often as I go to Vancouver a lot , solely for the food.

Wo Fung Dessert Aberdeen Centre, Richmond, BC

I was extremely heartbroken when Little Bean which had the crispiest and juiciest fried chicken wings no longer serve chicken.

Then, I heard rumours that the best fried chicken wings are at the food court and Aberdeen Centre. It took me a couple trips before I found where this joint was located. Finally, one day when as I was making another hunt for chicken wings I came across something peculiar. While other food joints were waiting for one customers to come and order, only one had a lineup of about 10 people. I quickly observed to see what people are ordering and behold, fried chicken wings are flying out of the kitchen. It seemed to be the only thing patrons are ordering from Wo Fung Dessert. I think the "Dessert" part is what threw me off and why I never found this hidden treasure. Anywho, I took one bite of the freshly fried wings and I think one single tear of joy came out. It was crispy, juicy and the skin and the meat are perfectly seasoned and marinated. There's tons of flavour but not over powering and you can just taste a hint of ginger.

Frappe Bliss

If you walk a few steps over across the food court you will find a shop called Frappe Bliss which offers all different kinds of shaved ice dessert. It may sound too simple but their secret ingredient lies in the shaved ice which is made of milk, a combination fresh ingredients and milk, or yogurt. The texture of the shaved ice is very smooth, almost velvet and has creamy flavour. Aside from the different flavoured shaved ice you can also pick different toppings to go on the dessert. It's very different from all the other shaved ice desserts and extremely refreshing even after a full meal. I didn't find their website having a lot of information but you can click here to see their selections and reviews.

Steveston Pizza Co. Steveston, BC

Steveston Pizza Co. is a small shop on the corner of Moncton and 3rd Ave in Steveston and only does takeouts. In the summertime, it's a perfect spot to stop by and picnic by the beach which has a scenic harbour view. Steveston Pizza Co. is well known among the locals for using fresh and gourmet ingredients. It's hard to make a selection from the menu when everything sounds fantastic. My favourite is the simple Margerite One but I'm still making it my mission to sample everything on the menu.

Cheesy leftover!!

Tenku Richmond, BC

I call it the giant takoyaki, but the apprporiate name is actually "Bakudanyaki". The giant ball is sold at 500 cents a pop and is consisted of rice cake, shrimp, calamari, cabbage, quail egg, and different toppings. Look for a Tenku stand when you are hungry for bakudanyaki at 7100 Elmbridge Way (in a parking lot) from 11-8 pm everyday. Here is the website for the delicious menu and location.

Gmen Ramen Richmond, BC

G-Men Ramen is achain of Gyoza King and is known as Kintaro's biggest competition in Vancouver. The key here is the broth; shoyu, torigara (chicken) shoyu, and miso; all of which are rich and packed with flavour. Cheese lovers should try the Miso, Cheese & Kimchi Ae Soba. Aside from ramen, there are also donburi (rice) dishes such as bbq eel, salted cod roe, or marinated pork on rice. The only downer is that the space is extremly limited and there's always lineups. If you are planning to go with a bigger group of people, all party must be present once your table is available, otherwise they'll give up your table. Inside the restaurant, the decor is kinda cute. They make the kitchen to look like a street vendor, reminiscent of authentic ramen stands in Japan.

Japadog downtown Vancouver

Located on Burrard street, (one location on Burrard and Smithe, the other on Burrard and Penderstreet, Japadog is probably the most famous hot dog stand in Canada, having been aired by CBC, Global, and CBC, not to include published in various magazines. some of the past clients include Steven Seagal, Daniel Dae Kim, and Ice Cube. The lineup on any regular day may be long but nobody seems to mind the wait. You can find all sorts of people from businessman to tourist sitting down on the pavement and enjoying the delicious fusion between Japanese flavour toppings and a North American staple. The most popular being the Terimayo, which branches into different types, and the Oroshi. Patrons can check on their website before embarking on the search for Japadog as they maybe opened or closed depending on the weather.