7/6 - Viva Ramen Broth Vancouver
Ramen is a very popular "Chinesish" Japanese noodle, or a Japanese dish that originated in China. It tends to be served in a meat-based broth, and uses toppings such as sliced pork, nori or dried seaweed, kamaboko or fish cake, green onions, and sometimes even corn or cheese. Almost every locality or prefecture in Japan has its own variation of ramen, from the tonkotsu ramen of Kyūshū to the miso ramen of Hokkaidō.
Most noodles for the ramen dish, are made from four basic ingredients: wheat flour, salt, water, and kansui which is essentially a type of alkaline mineral water, containing sodium carbonate and usually potassium carbonate, as well as sometimes a small amount of phosphoric acid. Making noodles with kansui lends them a yellowish hue as well as a firm texture. Noodles come in various shapes and lengths. They may be fat, thin, or even ribbon-like, as well as straight or wrinkled and the ramen chef may select the most suitable based on his own preference.
Ramen soup is generally made from stock based on chicken or pork, combined with a variety of ingredients such as kombu (kelp), katsuobushi (skipjack tuna flakes), niboshi (dried baby sardines), beef bones, shiitake, and onions, and then flavored with the likes of salt only, miso, or soy sauce.
Last week, I went to Kenzo Restaurant in Burnaby because I had a strong urge to eat authentic ramen that I usually cannot find in Langley, where I live. Kenzo is a ramen restaurant owned by Koreans. The owner studied ramen making in Japan for years and therefore Kenzo has exactly same menu as restaurants in Japan. However, the taste of dishes there are more inclined to Korean style and apparently geared to the large Korean population in the Burnaby. Koreans love ramen as much as Japanese do and they are very good at making it too.
I ordered Hiyashi chuka or cold ramen with kimchi and a bowl of rice. Hiyashi chuka is a popular dish in summer. It's like a noodle salad. Restaurants in Japan serve hiyashi chuka only in summer. Even if you don't have much appetite because of the heat, hiyashi chuka can be appetizing. Hiyashi chuka is made with the same chukamen (raw ramen noodles) as the hot ramen and is served with lots of toppings. Instant ramen noodles aren't suitable for this dish. For toppings, choose different colored ingredients and arrange them colorfully on top of noodles.
The toppings of the one I ordered include shredded cucumber, shredded barbecued pork, baked eggs and bamboo shoots. The taste was very good and the price of the entire meal was 12.02$ without gratuity.
Yesterday, I had a chance to go down to Denman Street in Vancouver and dine in one of most esteemed ramen restaurant named Motomachi Shokudo. I went to another ramen restaurant Kintaro, because it is older and even more esteemed than Motomachi. However, I gave up that idea to go to Kintaro because there was an extremely long line up outside of the restaurant and it was raining. (Please look at the picture of Kintaro and Motomachi restaurants underneath).
I ordered Shoyu (soy) ramen there. The toppings are one piece of pork, half boiled egg, bamboo shoots, bean sprouts and green onion. I also ordered kimchi, bowl of rice and diet pepsi, and the total amount was 14.02$ without gratuity. The food was excellent.
Today is Sunday, July 6th, and I went to downtown again after the church. I finally dined at Kintaro after lining up in front of the restaurant 30 minutes. I ordered Cheese Miso Ramen, my most favorite dish there, which gave me an ecstatic, spiritual, "peak experience" or foretaste of the heaven. I also ordered kimchi and rice. Toppings included bean sprouts, green onion, corn, BBQ pork, bamboo shoots and generous portion of blue cheese and Swiss cheese. Total price I paid was 14.23$ not including gratuity.
The pictures at the buttom are Kenzo's Cold Ramen, Motomachi's Shoyu Ramen, Kintaro's Cheese Miso Ramen and kimchi from Kintaro (from upper left).