Tag Archives: ramen

Hakata-Maru Ramen

Market City food court has always been good for cheap Asian lunch time eats, but if you didn’t know, you can find a very well priced and delicious ramen place called Hakata-Maru Ramen. It specialises in tonkotsu ramen serving a couple of differing variations yet still retains the low prices found else where in the food court.

The store is immediately to the left of the food court (second on the left) and is hard to miss with the Japanese styled decorations and large sign

The stall is quite open and behind the counter is the kitchen where the magic happens. Chefs preparing the noodles to perfection while quick and delicate hands work to put together the bowls of ramen.

The result is a moderately sized bowl of ramen with a few toppings. I opted for the red tonkotsu which is just the addition of a chilli sauce/paste.

A small condiment bar allows for some sauces and toppings like sesame and pickled ginger. A few sides are available to go with your ramen, my choice? The chicken wings with coleslaw for $4. Cool thing is that one bone is removed, allowing easy consumption like a drumstick.

Well onto the ramen, i personally think its quite delicious. The pork flavour is present and not too strong and the soup has a nice golden flavour. Its not overly thick which would appeal to those who cant handle a heavy thick broth like Gumshara’s.

Unfortunately the toppings are a little lacking from the stock menu with only half an egg and few bits of pork. To help fill you up though, kaedama (or an extra serve of noodles) is available for $1. Be careful to ensure the cleaning saff don’t take away your bowl.

Overall its a great place,good food and staff with smiles in their faces makes for a good meal. You also cant beat a genuine bowl of tonkotsu for less than $9.

Ikkyu Ramen

So there was a whole heap of hype about this new ramen place called Ramen Ikkyu opening up in Chinatown inside the Sussex centre, I remember the week of it opening, there were waits of up to an hour before you’d get your food. While I’m a bit late to join the bandwagon, I’ve finally had a chance to try this place out.

So where is Sussex centre? It’s on 401 Sussex street with an alternative entrance in the back from Dixon St next to the Chatime.

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Most of this hype came about from an article in SMH’s good food guide. To be honest, I’m not familiar with the actual terminology of Ramen, the type of soup they prepare here is known as ‘Paitain Soup’ which I understand means a white soup.

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The store is placed in a food court which means a rather minimal shopfront, there’s a single waitress whom assists with ordering at the front counter while the back kitchen is hidden away.
photos by ntranced photography (facebook.com/ntrancedphotography

Ordering is performed using iPads and allows for you to customise your order as you please. Order, pay, grab your receipt and then wait for your delicious noodles. As you can see my choice was the pork rib ramen and I decided to add some Cha Shu slices and get some chilli oil to spice things up a little.

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Great thing about this place is the many options to top your ramen and get and assortment of sides to match your preference. Toppings include extra Bamboo shoot, butter, corn as well as sauces like black garlic oil or chilli oil.
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I’ve seen what comes out for the pork rib and I was rather excited, but for those who haven’t heard of this place, the pork rib is HUGE and completely overwhelms the bowl. Just imagine, it’s $14 for just the rib. The bowl is beautifully presented with a rich vibrant colour.

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The default option provides plenty of toppings; bamboo shoots, ontama egg, black fungus, shallots and seasame. With the rib, it came as 2 whole ribs with meat up to the fatty layer. The best thing about the rib is that it just comes off the bone and is super tender, however it is sprinkled with good chunks of sea salt so mix well before consuming.

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So what are my thoughts? It’s pretty yummy, the hand made noodles have a great texture, firm and springy but not so much resistance that it feels tough. The broth flavours are nice, it’s on the light side compared to a thick tonkotsu broth and is lighter. The pork rib is delicious and amazingly soft where the cha shu also has a delicious sweet sauce glazed over it.

The overall meal was huge and with the extra free serving of Kaedama (which is always awesome) was really filling, fantastic food coma after the meal. To be honest though, I don’t think it lived up to the hype and for the price would prefer Gumshara which has a really rich pork broth – for those that find this a little too much, you may find Ikkyu more appealing.photos by ntranced photography (facebook.com/ntrancedphotography

Verdict: Good place, but personally prefer Gumshara and Ramen-kan for a cheap eat.
Cost: Somewhat expensive, you do get a lot though.
More info: http://menikkyu.com.au/
Location: Shop F1A, 401 Sussex Street, Sydney, 2000.

Paper Planes – Bondi Beach

Now I don’t usually write about restaurants, but figured since I had some pictures of food, why not? So arriving too late to see the Sculptures by the Sea, Winnie, Louis and I decided to go eat, our spontaneous restaurant of choice? Paper Planes at Bondi Beach, a nice modern Japanese joint.

Having looked at the menu, we decided to wait the 45 minutes for a table and give this place a shot. The decor of this place was pretty fascinating with Japanese themed decorated skateboards on the ceiling and paper cranes hanging about, quite a modern interior.

In the corner on one end is a sit-down bar where you can eat as well.

Despite the modern setting, sitting down there’s nice little touches of a more traditional Japanese setting with the soy sauce bottle.

The menu’s rather nice as well, sticks to the name of the restaurant and as you can see, it’s a partially folded paper aeroplane, very cool.

First thing was first, cocktails, I ended up with a ‘Tokyo Pop’ and Winnie a ‘Chee Chee Mule’. The first being Pimms and St Germain based with plenty of fruity flavours rimmed with pop rocks, the latter was Vodka based with Lychee and ginger beers. The Tokyo pop was definitely tasty and very refreshing, the Chee Chee Mule sounds better than it tastes, not a fan of this one.

Now the food, we decided to share food and picked a few different dishes, the first were entree dishes, Agedashi Tofu and King Fish Belly Carpacio. Both were very tasty, the tofu had a nice smooth texture and a flavoursome but not overpower sauce, definitely one of the better tofu dishes I’ve had. The King Fish was delicious, the chilli oil isn’t too strong and the crunch of the jalapeños gives a nice texture and a bit of spice to bring the flavours together.

The next dish is the Salmon Tartare Nachos, these are a must have, the dressing of the Salmon is just lovely and goes well with the slight saltiness of the prawn crackers.

Last entrée was the PaperPlanes Prawn Gyoza, this is probably the best Gyoza I’ve had in Sydney, what really makes it special is that lemon wasabi foam sauce. It has a nice crisp on the outside and the inside doesn’t feel mushy.

Next up was some kushiyaki, we went with the Mocha rice cake & smoked speck, Shiitake mushrooms stuffed with prawn and the Chicken thigh fillet. The first was flavoursome and delicious, the texture was good too, not too glutinous like a lot of rice cakes can be. The next two were similar in taste with the preference to the chicken thigh fillet as they were just so tender and juicy, perfectly cooked.

Our final dish was the Confit duck ramen, we weren’t too sure what to make of this when ordering, but were pleasantly surprised when it came out, beautifully presented. Digging in, it was exceptional! The curry sauce was full of flavour but not overpowering and the chilli oil adds a nice chilli hit on top of the curry. The fried noodles change up the texture and made for an amazing dish, the soft quail eggs and the crispy skin of the duck was just too good.

That was it for the savoury food, we couldn’t go without some dessert and we chose the Black egg and the Green tea rocher. The black egg is like a coconut pana cotta and a reduced dark chocolate sauce coated with a little macadamia oil. It’s a rather light dessert and the macadamia flavours didn’t flow through as much as we were hoping.

The Green tea rocher reminds me of a cross between a Ferrero Rocher and a churro (the ones from the theme parks), it’s got a nice crunch on the outside and warm chocolate and a hazelnut on the outside. The coating of green tea sugar is almost like a substitute for the cinnamon sugar, I quite liked this one.

That’s it for the food, but the restaurant has one last surprise, the waiter brings out a divided tray of water and we were a little confused. He had forgotten something and came back, he pops a tablet looking thing into each and suddenly they puff up to become a wet towel! It was like magic, we were amazed!

Verdict: Would highly recommend this place and say it’s definitely delicious.
Cost: Slightly pricey, we spent about $60each
More info: www.paperplanesbondi.com
Location: Shop 15, 178 Campbell Parade, Bondi Beach – “The beach house”
Map:

Day 21 – Miyajima, Nara and Kobe

Again we had an early morning to hope to catch the morning light and get some nice shots of the floating torii gate, this time though, it would actually be appearing to float as it was no longer low tide.

The torii gate floats

We also got the chance to explore the Itsukushima shrine as it closes at night.

Entrance to the Itsukushima shrine

Continue reading Day 21 – Miyajima, Nara and Kobe

Day 19 – More Kurashiki and Naoshima Island

So because we couldn’t get good view of Kurashiki by night, we decided we would get up early and see it in the morning light, as you can see, the sun was barely up when we left the hotel room.

Early morning start

We basically walked to the same shrine and explored around there and could see where we walked passed during the previous night. There were actually quite a few cemeteries around the place and they’re all quite small, with only a few burial plots.

Cemetery around the shrine

We also saw a few of these little ‘poles’ in the ground which I didn’t really understand, not sure what it was actually referring to.

May peace prevail on earth

Continue reading Day 19 – More Kurashiki and Naoshima Island

Day 15 – Universal Studios Japan

Universal Studios Japan (or USJ) was on today’s itinerary, it’s a short train ride away from where we were staying.

This way to USJ

We were expecting a lot from this place and was definitely hoping that it would be better than Disneyland. Entrance was a little more expensive Disneyland though, at 6300 Yen if I recall correctly.

The entrance

Like the one in the US, there’s the massive universal globe which spins around the front, just outside the entrance. Excellent spot for photos :). Thankfully for us, it was nowhere as packed as Disneyland, hopefully this meant very short queues for rides.

The revolving globe

First thing was first, we hit up the only roller coaster that was there, and we did it over and over again. Four times all up, quite funny as the coaster cars themselves have an ability for you to choose your music. We simply had to go through all the options, there were two Japanese pop songs, an RnB one and a rock/pop one. Kinda funny singing along in a rollercoaster.

Continue reading Day 15 – Universal Studios Japan

Day 6 – Tsukiji

So as part of my New Years resolution, I had vowed to finish blogging about japan and hopefully get all the pics uploaded soon after. I’ve quickly gone through the 7278 shots and selected a few from each day which I thought highlights our trip and now it’s just time to post them up and write a few things about the adventure of each day. Day 6 would be the long awaited wait to visit the Tsukiji Fish Markets to check out the sights and have some delicious sushi. We didn’t go for the tuna auctions as they were at 5am, so when we arrived, we just perused the fish markets themselves. On the way there we saw a bunch of police officers (or something) handing out fines to bikes parked on the street, gave me a bit of a chuckle.

Cops fining bikes

Like the Lonely Planet book warns, you really have to get out of the way of these carts which blaze along the markets. The operators are in a real rush and get rather impatient annoyed when you’re in the way (unlike what you get in the streets of Japan where they just wait until you make room then they make the run for it.

Carts used in the markets

First thing going through the markets, we see various stores selling kitchen knives, they were rather expensive, most selling for over a hundred Aussie dollars. Other things that were for sale were picks, at first we didn’t know what they were for, but it became apparent that they were used to handle the large tuna.

Knives for sale

 

Continue reading Day 6 – Tsukiji