Lunch Quickie: Fantastic Black Garlic Ramen at Ramen Jinya

Ramen Jinya (or Jinya Ramen Bar, depending on where you look) is opening a new location in Kerrisdale possibly January or February 2015. Seeing that I still haven’t tried the original location of Ramen Jinya on the south end of Robson St., I hauled my ass through the rain and wind to get my fill of porky, ramen goodness. Man, was it good!

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It was a Thursday, just a few minutes before noon but the place was already packed and I had to wait 5-10 minutes to get seated. The place was full of students and workers on their lunch break. The library is just a block away. If I had access to this kind of food when I was a student, I’d never want to graduate!

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This was their current special…

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…but I has already decided to try their flagship ramen, the Jinya Tonkotsu Black with black garlic oil 🙂 The $12.25 price was a bit of a shock but I really don’t mind paying good money for good food.

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Their logo is strong, like their ramen. I LOVE the deep counter at the long table in the centre of the restaurant. Feels so spacious compared to the cramped counter at Ramen Santouka on the other end of Robson.

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This made me check my bag every few minutes…

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Action in the kitchen. The service is pretty quick.

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Jinya Tonkotsu Black ramen. It’s that classic cloudy tonkotsu broth.

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Toppings include: nori, wood ear fungus, green onions, bamboo shoots, soft-boiled egg, two pieces of chashu, little dollop of chili paste, black garlic oil, and what looks to be carmelized shallots. The shallots gave a sweet, carmelized flavour to the whole bowl. The black garlic oil had an exquisitely deep, strong yet not overpowering garlic flavour that I just wanted more of. They could’ve gave me twice the amount of garlic oil and I’d be verrrrrry happy.

The bamboo shoots were crunchy and had enough personality to them to make me happy. All of the toppings and flavourings meld and work together to create an awesome bowl.

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I like the shape of the bowl. Somehow it really facilitates eating.

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These noodles are hitting the spot! Thin noodles with a toothsome firmness to them. They remind me of wonton noodles, with their thin texture and chewiness. Makes sense when you think about how Japanese ramen is an adaptation of Chinese soup noodles. This was the first time that I felt that connection between the two cultures, and it was that first bite of noodles that made it happen.

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The egg is acceptable, considering how fantastic the rest of the bowl is. I think this is just the way they do the eggs here. If you look at the photo of the “Chef’s Special” menu at the top of this page, you’ll see the same egg. It’s a bit past the gooey stage and almost into the hardboiled stage. I’d say it was at the “pasty” stage.

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The chashu is so tender and deliciously fatty! Look at that fall-apart texture! Some might say it was too tender! It also looks like they torch the chashu a bit. I didn’t get any off-putting gassy aroma like I got at Ramen Koika. Great stuff.

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The broth is thick, chock-full of collagen and floaty garlic-infused fat bits that I just loved. It had a definite saltiness, but not to the point where I couldn’t…

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…drink the whole bowl! Highly recommended.

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