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Tag / ramen

Well, back when going out to eat was an option, we took a trip to Kota Kemuning and had ourselves a couple bowls of Japanese ramen at one of the very few “proper” ramen outlets in Shah Alam at Menya Hanabi. Yes, there are more than one Menya Hanabi in Klang Valley, this is the one closest to me.

Menya Hanabi at Kota Kemuning
Menya Hanabi at Kota Kemuning

Menya Hanabi is located right next to Gamuda Walk within Kota Kemuning, a bustling township within Shah Alam that has perhaps the most “up to date” eateries. Fortunately, parking is still a relatively simple exercise at this area.

The restaurant is of a typical Japanese ramen shop set up, with a long kitchen/bar taking up 30-40% of the floor space, and tables on the other side. I also love the fact that they have pictorial menu that showcases every single dish they offer, though some description would have been helpful as well.

shoyu soup ramen, gyoza, Nagoya mazesoba
shoyu soup ramen, gyoza, Nagoya mazesoba

For our visit we tried their classic shoyu soup ramen (RM 27), Nagoya mazesoba DX (RM 31), and a portion of gyoza (RM 10).

The soup ramen came in 3 options, shio (salt), shoyu (soya sauce), and Nagoya (spicy with minced meat). The shoyu version I had was on par with most Japanese ramen I’ve tried over the years. The noodle was springy, the soup too packed quite a punch. The chasiu had the awesome 3 layer texture and came with decent thickness, though I’d love to see 3 instead of 2 pieces in there. The egg too was prepared just nice. Overall it was a very competent bowl of ramen, satisfied.

the chasiu was super yummy, so was their gyoza
the chasiu was super yummy, so was their gyoza

As for the Nagoya mazesoba DX, well, the ramen itself is of a thicker variety, when stirring it up with the minced meat, egg yolk, and leek, the entire bowl felt almost not exactly unlike a more expensive version of chili pan mee, except one that’s less spicy and carries less “kick”. Once you are done with this “dry” version, they will also give you a scoop of rice to fully utilize those sauce, something that I thought was a bit of a gimmick to be honest. I’d give this dry ramen a “meh”.

Lastly, do order their gyoza, one of the best I’ve tried, and well worth the RM 10 asking price.

Overall, Menya Hanabi is a pretty decent Japanese ramen place, give the dry ramen a try if you must, stick to soupy version if you’re into more of a traditional taste kinda guy.

menya hanabi kota kemuning map

Address:
Menya Hanabi
2-37-1, Jalan Anggerik Vanilla,
Seksyen 31, Kota Kemuning,
40460 Shah Alam, Selangor
GPS: 3.000433, 101.532942
Tel: +603 5131 9308
Hours: daily 11 am to 10 pm

Always on the lookout for a good bowl of ramen, I was recently intrigued by taufulou’s rave reviews about Ichikakuya Ramen, probed into it a little bit and realized that it is located at UOA Business Park, that big office building across from SS15 over Federal Highway, which is quite a convenient place for me to get to, so I thought we’d give it a try.

ichikakuya ramen at the Podium, UOA Business Park
Ichikakuya Ramen at the Podium, UOA Business Park

The brand Ichikakuya is from Yokohama and is a relatively new establishment from only about 5 years ago, the branch at UOA Business Park is the first in Malaysia.

The menu is pretty straightforward, choose between normal or red iekei (spicy) soup that’s either soy or salt based, and you can also opt for more chasiu (pork), soft boiled eggs, spinach, bamboo shoots, green onions and such. Additionally, they also have a few types of rice bowls if ramen isn’t your thing.

What makes Ichikakuya stands apart from other ramen places is the ability to customize the taste and noodle doneness in the following way:

Noodle – hard, normal, soft
Taste – strong, normal, light
Chicken oil – extra, normal, less

soy sauce soup, red iekei ramen, gyoza
soy sauce soup, red iekei ramen, gyoza

We went for soy sauce soup and red iekei ramen, with normal noodle, strong taste, and extra chicken oil. I guess the “purists” will want to go for hard noodle, but to be frank I’ve never really enjoyed al dante noodle in pretty much any noodle dish.

The chicken oil and soy base soup reminds me of those equally good soup base from marutama, the wheat flour noodle carries a unique texture that went very well with the soup as well. The spicy version does come with a bit of a kick, not something that I’d call “hot” but should satisfy those who enjoys spicier food.

Overall, with the vege, seaweed, egg, and everything else, the ramen was as good as any I’ve tasted, well balanced and certainly delicious.

chasiu, egg, and soup all comes together
chasiu, egg, and soup all comes together

As for the gyoza, they were perfectly ordinary and would be something that I probably won’t order again. Price of ramen starts from RM 18.00 to RM 32.50 depending on how crazy you want to go.

map to UOA business park, shah alam

ichikakuya ramen menu (1) ichikakuya ramen menu (2) ichikakuya ramen menu (3)

ichikakuya ramen menu (4) ichikakuya ramen menu (5)

Address:
Ichikakuya Ramen
Unit 1-3A, Level 1, Tower 3,
The Podium, Uoa Business park,
No. 1, Jalan Pengaturcara U1/51a,
Kawasan Perindustrian Temasya,
40150 Shah Alam, Selangor
GPS: 3.086171, 101.586808
Tel: 014-958 3884

While the breath of Japanese cuisine kept advancing in Malaysia, there’s a segment of this food that alienate majority of the population here in Malaysia. See, you can find sushi, sashimi, and yakotiri that are suitable for most everyone to consume for the most part, but when it comes to proper Japanese ramen, the pork free or halal version proved to be a bit of a challenge to locate.

Kogura Chicken Ramen, Lot 10
Kogura Chicken Ramen, Lot 10

The good news is, we now have Kagura at J’s Gate Dining in Isetan KL.

Kagura Chicken Ramen is hailed from Tokyo with the name of Seimenka Kaguraya, and even back in Tokyo, the recipe has always been pork-free and lard-free. Rare but still pretty popular at the same time.

There’s a selection of different soup base and ingredients, ranging from RM 12.88+ to a maximum of RM 22.88+. When it comes to proper Japanese ramen at these type of set up, I’d say they’re very competitively priced.

While the base is chicken, there’s a choice of shoyu, miso, and “rich” soup. They also serve gyoza, fried rice, and a limited choice of tempura (menu below)

Kagura Chicken Ramen
Kagura Chicken Ramen

So how do they taste like?

We tried the “rich” and shoyu ramen together with their dumplings, and I gotta say that the soup base rivals the pork based ramen, with a slightly less greasy note. They also did a good job with the chicken base chasiu, but I do feel that the texture of pork chasiu is still superior. Overall though, this is a more than decent version of ramen that certainly did not make me regret having it for sure.

The dumpling though was sort of average, I guess perhaps it’s the lack of fatty bits that failed to bring it to my expectation.

fancy some dumpling to go with your ramen?
fancy some dumpling to go with your ramen?

Skip the dumpling unless you are way too hungry, otherwise, this ramen is fit for anyone who loves ramen, even if you’re not specifically avoiding pork for whatever reason.

Happy eating!

map to Lot 10, KL

Address:
J’s Gate Dining
Level 4
Lot 10 Shopping Mall
Jalan Bukit Bintang
GPS: 3.146462, 101.711758
Tel:  03-2110 6850
Webwww.js-gate.com

Ampang Park is said to be the oldest shopping mall of such set up in the country. First opened its door in 1973, this place has been in existence since our current Prime Minister’s father was in office as the Prime Minster.

Recently, my office moved to Intermark, which is located just right across the road from Ampang Park, so naturally I went to check out some of the lunch options at this place since the two buildings are connected by a skybridge.

food court at Ampang Park, the oldest shopping mall in Malaysia
food court at Ampang Park, the oldest shopping mall in Malaysia

As it turns out, the oldest mall also has one of the oldest food courts at the top floor. There are a variety of hawker stalls at the area, but two that caught my eyes were the Korean and the Vietnamese food outlets.

Both of these places are pork free, and offers exceptional value.

Vietnamese beef, chicken or fish noodle at RM 5.00 to RM 6
Vietnamese beef, chicken or fish noodle at RM 5.00 to RM 6.00

The Vietnamese dishes are typically made from the same soup base, you can get beef noodle, beef stew noodle, beef ball noodle, chicken noodle, and like the example above, fish noodle for the price of RM 4.50 to RM 6.00.

There’s mint leaves, fish sauce, and a soup base that’s undoubtedly Vietnamese, but don’t expect great cut of beef or beef tendons in them. A pair of spring rolls here goes for RM 2.50 and they are rather decent too.

The Vietnamese lady who operate this place doesn’t speak much English, but can converse in Malay, and of course in Vietnamese.

kimchi soup ramen for RM 7.00
kimchi soup ramen for RM 7.00

If you fancy some cheap Korean food, just look at the busiest stall in this food court.

The menu here includes Korean glass noodle with soup (RM 6.50), seafood noodle soup (RM 6.50), mixed vegetable rice (RM 6.50), kimchi rice roll (RM 6.50), bibimbap (RM 7), kimchi pancake (RM 6.50), kimchi soup rice (RM 7), kimchi fried rice (RM 6.50), and more.

Most of these dishes come with side dishes that includes kimchi, vegetable, bean sprout, and an omelette lookalike thingy.

the ramen noodle comes with a side dish of 4 too
the ramen noodle comes with a side dish of 4 too

My favourite dishes from the Korean food stall is the kimchi ramen noodle that also comes with side dishes that goes for RM 7. The soup isn’t very intense, but for the price you can’t really ask for more. There’s plenty of kimchi and overall taste is rather decent.

The only complain I have is that the portion is perhaps overly huge though.

If you work or happen to around the area and want something cheap and decent for lunch, here’s a food court to check out.

map to Ampang Park

Address:
Ampang Park Food Court
Level 2
Ampang Park Shopping Centre
Jalan Ampang, 50450 Kuala Lumpur
GPS3.16054, 101.71947
Hours: weekday lunch

Hailed from Hakata, the supposed ramen capital of Japan is Ippudo, the latest international Japanese ramen chain to arrive on our shore. The founder Shigemi Kawahara started selling ramen at a ten-seater stall in Fukuoka some 28 years ago, and has since expanded to some 10 cities around the world, serving up piping hot tonkotsu (pork bone) based ramen to eager diners.

We were invited for a tasting session last week ago to find out what the fuss is all about.

Hakata Ippudo Ramen at KL Paviliion
Hakata Ippudo Ramen at KL Paviliion

Ippudo Ramen is located just a floor up from the semi-alfresco dining area and a floor below the GSC cinemas. The ramen shop itself is pretty compact in size and could probably cater to around 40 pax or so.

The interior decoration is modern, and they even include “handbag drawers” under some seats, something I’m sure most ladies and dudes with man bags approve.

curry cheese haru maki, pork bun, spicy shrimp mayo
curry cheese haru maki, pork bun, spicy shrimp mayo

If you’re a fan of rather unique Japanese appetizers, you’re in luck. Ippudo carries quite a few dishes that goes well with hot green tea (or beer) before the main meal.

Curry Cheese Haru Maki (spring roll, RM 10) is indeed cheesy inside with a crispy skin as its exterior, delicious while hot, but you gotta find a balance and not let the melted cheese burn your taste buds.

Pork Bun (RM 7) is another one that I really enjoyed, reminds me of those “tong por” pork I had at Dengkil Seafood Restaurant.

Spicy Shrimp Mayo (RM 15) is beautifully presented and reminds me of those fried shrimp and mayo dimsum dishes that you could have for half the price.

goma Q, crispy corn, hakata style soup gyoza
Goma Q, Crispy Corn, Hakata Style Soup Gyoza

If you prefer something cold to start with, Goma Q (Japanese cucumber, RM 9) will fit the bill. This is very similar to those cold cucumber dishes served in some Chinese restaurants such as Private Kitchen at Uptown, or Hong La Qiao at Pudu.

Crispy Corn (RM 8) is something that I haven’t seen before and find myself liking it. The sweet corn seemed to be seared with a healthy dosage of paprika and other seasoning on top, giving the kernels a pretty unique taste. A serving is only 4 slices of corn though.

Hakata Style Soup Gyoza (RM 15) is an alternative to the usual pan fried version. It is served in the same tonkotsu soup with a bit of ginger in it. The gyoza was decent, but not something I’d get excited about, the soup is nice though.

akamara shinaji, shiromaru motoaji, and karaka-men ramen
akamara shinaji, shiromaru motoaji, and karaka-men ramen

Then came the ramen.

Ippudo serves three basic variety of ramen with noodle much thinner than most other places. Much like Italian food, you can also choose to have it al dente (cooked to be firm, but not hard).

Most basic is Shiromaru Motoaji with original tonkotsu broth, belly chasiu, bean sprouts, kikurage (black fungus), and spring onion. Akamara Shinaji has the same core ingredients but enhanced with special blended miso paste and fragant garlic oil. For those who like their ramen spicy, there’s the Karaka-men version, which incorporate special spicy miso and ground pork.

KY & Haze at Hakata Ippudo Ramen, KL Pavilion
KY & Haze at Hakata Ippudo Ramen, KL Pavilion

I find myself enjoying the original broth most, and have a bit of a mixed feeling for the other two miso infused soup as I think it somehow dilutes the essence of the pork bone taste (which takes 15 hours to cook, as I was told). I’m also not a fan of making ramen spicy, for that I’ll have my kimchi soup instead.

The chasiu at Ippudo is easily one of the best I’ve yet. Premium cut and prepared to perfection, this is the part I like most.

Over all though, I find Ippudo pretty decent and will certainly face strong competition from nearby ramen places within walking distance (Marutama at Fahrenheit 88, Hokkiado Santouka at Pavilion, Ton Chan at Cosway). While having the best ambiance among the competitions, Ippudo is also the priciest, expect to pay RM 26 for a basic bowl to RM 36 with everything in it.

map to Pavilion KL

Address:
Ippudo Ramen
Lot C4.07.00,
Connection Level 4, Pavilion
Jln Bukit Bintang, 55100 Kuala Lumpur

GPS3.148872, 101.713368
Tel03-2110 6233
Website: www.ippudo.com.my
Hours: 11 am to 11 pm