Posts Tagged Australia
Update: More pictures, including from Taro’s Ramen (Brisbane) and Kokoro Ramen (Melbourne)
It’s a big statement from me. But I would like to think I have tried a few bowls of ramen in my life without being completely obsessed (ok, a little) about it. In the 8 years I have been in Melbourne, many soups bases have been devoured. On the Brisbane front, My brother lives there so he would be pretty in touch with which ramen shops are singing out. In Sydney is my friend and along with my pre-visit research, I have tried a couple of places with good words said about them. I am going to first admit my limitations and will be more than excited to hear about other places to see some porky goodness.
I have made a couple of posts on ramen in Japan, including the best ramen I have tried to date. In Melbourne, Ramen Ya, Momotaro Ramen (great soft-boiled eggs) are my favorites (as of 2012, Kokoro Ramen (see below) and Ramen Ya are the best in Melbourne). Sydney has Gumshara Ramen and Ichi ban Boshi posted by Grab Your Fork. One thing I have yet to try is Ichi ban Boshi’s limited-number tonkotsu ramen. I tried waiting for one last year by getting in early, ordering food and then asking the waitress that when the special ramen was ready I am also ready for round 2. Sadly it was too far away and I would be sitting there for another 45 minutes twiddling my fingers. This year I went to Gumshara ramen which is stuck in a crowded food court in Sydney’s Chinatown. Their limited 20 serve pork spare rib with thick soup was hand-down the most pork-rich soup I have ever come across. The first spoon full was so intense that I wasn’t sure it it was soup or something gravy-like. But the flavours were just too much to take in a bowl. Maybe I was already feeling hot and greasy from walking all day. Notably, Gumshara has choice of thin and thick soup base. My friend suggested a thin base might be more balanced.
But this is where Melbourne and Sydney’s ramen fade in comparison to… Brisbane’s Hakataya Noodle Shop in Sunnybank (first shop in Surface Paradise called Nagahama Ramen Hakataya). The shop is small (good), menu short (good), had a japanese style curtain at the entrance (good) and the tonkotsu ramen is just bloody good. Soup is porky all over, yet clean and slick and PERFECTLY seasoned. I think the hardest thing about tonkotsu soup base is getting the deep, porky taste while maintaining a clean and almost light taste. A bit like how French cooking might add cream/butter to ‘lighten’ the sauce up. The noodle is wonderfully dense and bitey (and free second serve to add to the soup. Shavings of pork (chashu) floating on top. There is a line outside ever day and so there should be. My brother has tried the shop in Surfers Paradise and he thinks the one in Brisbane is better.Hakataya Noodle Shop, Shop 27b Sunnybank Plaza (Cnr Mains Rd and McCullough St)
Sunnybank, 4109, Brisbane, Australia. (07) 5526 7055
Update: Taro’s Ramen
3 trips back to Brisbane later and I finally tasted Taro’s Ramen. The first one they were closed for holidays. The second time closed for other reasons. I was getting rather worked up every time the umami and tonkotsu taste buds were rubbing their hands together – only to have to wait some more. When I did get to eat it, it was certainly delicious. Soup was complex and porky. Clean and refined at the same time. It was probably less porky and more complex than Hakataya. Noodles were thin (my favorite type) and had a good bite. Importantly, the half boiled egg sit on top with a rich, amber glow that is only seen the moment before sun sets on a hazy afternoon. Splendid. Taro’s Ramen and Hakataya are easily the best 2 ramen restaurants I have tried in Australia.Taro’s Ramen:
363 Adelaide Street Brisbane QLD 4000, Australia
(07) 3832 6358
Update: Kokoro Ramen
It took many years for Melbourne to catch up in the ramen open. I have always wondered why, in a city so food crazy and literate, not places served a decent bowl of the noodle goodness. Kokoro Ramen (along with Ramen Ya, which has constantly improved) now sets the standard of tonkotsu ramen in Melbourne. Noodles are made on-site – thin and perfectly cooked. Soup is deep, the right amount of fattiness and quite complex. Most importantly, the soy-flavoured egg is perfection. You wont find eggs that get much better than this – Soft and saturated centre with a tender white that is deeply soaked in soy. I remember when they first opened, there were some inconsistencies with soup being luke warm or the noodles over cooked. Now business is in full-swing, the mistakes are ironed out. I am surprised that there is no line outside this little gem. Even in Paris there would be a line outside something like this.Kokoro Ramen 157 Lonsdale st Melbourne 03 9650 1212