Lunch Quickie: White Sesame Ramen at Hida Takayama

Hida Takayama is on the second floor of the Robson Public Market (the market where other markets go to die). The market is always kinda dead, no matter what day of the week. But Takayama is still hanging in there after almost four years of business. It’s been about two years since I last ate here, so I decided to finally try their “favourite of Chinese people” white sesame ramen.

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Ignore the “Quality is our motto” thing, that’s a sign for another business. It looks like Takayama is open 12-8pm but until 9pm on Fridays and Saturdays.

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“Soody’s”?

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I’d think it would be soul-crushing to perform in this sparse echo-chamber. But then, it might be cool to hear.

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Here’s the shop! Heh, I got Asaoka-san himself in action. He’s probably like “oh man, another crazy blogger”. Looks like he’s finally hired some (Japanese) staff too.

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Front of the menu.

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Back of the menu. He’s got a “Canadian first” with his Hida Original Fried Ramen. I just might have to try that to see how it might taste different from yakisoba.

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I chose this guy. Nowadays $8.50 is a good price for a bowl of ramen, especially in ramen-central (Robson/Denman area).

To fully recreate the experience of eating at Robson Public Market (I’m gonna call it “RPM” to make it sound cool), cue up these wonderful classics…but you MUST either chuck your speakers under your desk or direct the sound into a paper cup:

Picked your soundtrack? Good.

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White Sesame Ramen. This came out pretty quickly. Although speed was never an issue on previous visits, everything seems to click more now that he has more staff. This place was actually quite busy, with people eating ramen all down the tables next to the railing.

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The bamboo shoots looked and tasted rustic. The soup contains sesame paste and whole sesame seeds showered on top.

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A bit hard to see through the thick soup, but I got two BIG slabs of chashu along with a few smaller pieces. Felt quite generous when compared to the chashu servings at most places these days.

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Noodles are good but don’t quite hit the mark for me. I wanted a bit more firmness and chewiness. I might ask for firm noodles next time.

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I was afraid this ramen would be like eating peanut butter but it’s actually not too heavy or thick. I was easily able to finish this “large serving” bowl. The soup’s got this sweetness and mild spiciness that was tasty. You can’t help but be charmed a bit by Asaoka-san and his little ramen operation. You can’t doubt his passion and dedication. When taken as a whole, Hida Takayama offers a solid bowl of ramen at a reasonable price, in a kitschy/ghetto atmosphere. Speaking of atmosphere, let’s talk a bit more about it, shall we?

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The ONLY ramen place with patio seating! I’ve never actually seen what the patio looks like, but next summer I’M THERE! I want to imagine that the door leading out opens out to a creaky rusty patio with no railing whatsoever.

I think the sparseness of RPM works in Takayama Ramen’s favour. I was SOOOOOOOO relaxed eating my ramen here. Lots of room, no sense of urgency, choice retro tunes on the house sound system, washroom cleanliness gets a pass, no tipping (although I think I might start tipping in the future)…there’s actually some things to love about RPM. Also, you see the occasionally wacky character:

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I spotted these two senior ladies walking down Robson St. then later saw them walking around the market! They were both wearing matching super-oversized sports gear. I think they must be fixtures at the RPM scene. I wish them all the best and want them to keep on keepin’ on.

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This claw machine is in RPM’s video arcade nook. I haven’t seen one of these in ages.

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You could win a Kung Fu Turtle named “Yuki”! Don’t pronounce it “yucky”…

Hida Takayama Ramen on Urbanspoon

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