I’ve accumulated a backlog of photos and these days I’m lacking the time and energy to sit down and take time out to blog – but I realised that like white bread in the refrigerator, food photos can go stale and I really need to publish these babies before I lose all memory of where I went and what I ate. So here’s a short one!
Ichiraku is a relatively new noodle joint that’s opened in Eastwood, where the much loved Zenya currently holds the ramen balance of power. Unlike Zenya, Ichiraku is indeed run by Koreans, but let’s not hold that against them.
The inside is long and very spacious – a good local place to catch up with friends if you want cheap food but a clean and quiet atmosphere. One of our friends was running late so we ordered a “salad” while we waited – didn’t want to ruin our ramen appetite!
Teriyaki chicken salad
Out comes this odd Japanese/Aussie/Korean fusion of tomato quarters, mesculun lettuce, red onion, massive chunks of teriyaki chicken, creamy Jap-style mayonnaise and topped with (strangely but also DELICIOUSLY) tempura crumbs. Surprisingly, the combo worked really well together – ESPECIALLY the crunchy deep-fried tempura bits! Tempura on salad is some kind of genius – like the Asian version of croutons! And who doesn’t love croutons!!!
But now to the main event: Can Korean-made ramen hold a candle to the well established, more authentic Zenya?
Spicy Miso Ramen (pork broth)
Ramen special I cannot remember the name of…. (pork broth)
Somewhat disappointingly… the ramen is just okay. I mean, it’s tasty, but so are instant noodles – it isn’t hard to make noodles in salty broth tasty. The half-egg is perfectly soft boiled and the noodles are generous and nicely cooked, but it just lacks the rich umaminess that you can only achieve after boiling pork bone, collagen and fat for 24+ hours. The soup is a bit thin and I suspect it is aided by some flavour enhancer E621.
However, at $10.80 for the basic ramen offering, Ichiraku offers a really cheap eat and is worth visiting if you’re looking for a ramen fix but also want to recline on a booth seat and just hang out with mates for ages even after you’ve finished you meal (as opposed to being stared down by a line of people waiting and guilted into rushing out as soon as chopsticks hit the table). And if you’re really hungry, try some salad with crunchy tempura bits too!
Next ramen to try is Gumshara in Chinatown – I have heard so much about this place and I’m told that the broth is like no other – some describe it as liquid pork. However, what most excites me about Gumshara is that the ramen comes with not one, BUT TWO half-eggs. As in ONE WHOLE EGG!! CAN YOU BELIEVE IT! Must try ASAP.