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
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:
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
Hidden within Fahrenheit 88, also known as the re-branded KL Plaza, is a little Japanese ramen restaurant that has it’s origin in Singapore.
The island republic does not usually have the upper hand when it comes to food, but Japanese ramen is one of the rare exceptions. Here in Malaysia we have been stuck with trying to make ramen halal for way too long while our neighbor kept it real and true to the origin – with pork, like how ramen should be.
Marutama Ramen is located on first floor of Fahrenheit 88 (old KL Plaza)
Local eateries have since realize what diners really want and it is good to see that there are a lot of ramen places that serves the dish with the right ingredients.
Marutama was introduced to me by Timothy, who got to know the place from his girlfriend Audrey, who in turn got the recommendation from Ringo. The two of them must be the most “Japanese” lookalike and act alike Malaysian in the country, so if they say it is good, it must be good.
chasiu ramen, I love it with plenty of fried garlic
I always measure a ramen place by its most essential dish – the good old chasiu ramen.
Marutama’s version is unpretentious, four slices of chasiu (not to be confused with BBQ pork, the Japanese version is slices of rolled pork shoulder), 3/4 boiled egg, seaweed, spring onion, and ramen noodle in pork chicken broth.
check out the glorious 3/4 boiled egg
The broth at Marutama is one of the thickest and most flavorful I’ve had from anywhere, very savory and absolutely brilliant. They also have the egg boiled just right, and the chasiu were fatty and tender like they should.
Best of all, there’s free flow deep fried sliced garlic on the side to be added to your ramen.
I went with timothy and david on separate occasions
Other than ramen, they also serve some side dishes like grilled pork belly, fried rice, gyoza and so forth. Their gyoza was just alright, and I wouldn’t recommend anyone to try their fried rice (it was quite lousy). Stick to the ramen and you’ll have a wonderful experience at Marutama.