There’s a brick in my stomach right now.
I wrote about Hida Takayama in the Robson Public Market more than a year ago. While not outstanding, I was charmed by the man and the ghetto mall where “other malls go to die”. Longing for a taste of classic shoyu ramen, I went there for lunch and was pleased by their improved housemade noodles and generous portions.
Have we reached “peak ramen”? In the same month that Hapa Ramen opened up, Sanpoutei Ramen in Richmond (next to Parker Place on No. 3 Road) had their grand opening on January
30 20, 2016. In short: good but not worth lining up for. I’d wait until the crowds die down, or go during non-peak periods. There are some unique positives and not many negatives.
Hapa Ramen (stillborn twin of longstanding Hapa Izakaya) just opened up on January 8, 2016. I had no particular expectations, aside from being curious to see what they could bring to the increasingly crowded ramen game in Vancouver. Evidently, not much.
NOTE: Hapa Ramen has nothing to do with the short-lived Hapa Ramen in San Francisco, started by Richie Nakano. Read this Munchies article for some interesting background on that whole deal. Anyways, seeing that Hapa Izakaya took a name that already existed, it might cause some problems social media-wise because Richie is still doing events and people are still using the #haparamen hashtag in reference to them.
There is scant information about this brand-new ramen place, The Ramenman, that opened up just a block away from Ramen Santouka. They’re now in their soft-opening phase. They opened quietly on Sunday, October 18 and I visited then on their third day of operation to check them out. Much thanks to Sean (Sean’s Adventures in Flavor Town) for the early intel — which you can view here, here, and here.
As with all of my “First Look” posts, take all these details with a grain of salt. Menus, prices, food, everything may change in the coming days, weeks, and months!
I’ve been a little bored with the ramen in Vancouver lately. My top 3 places are still Ramen Jinya, Marutama, and Ramen Santouka. Taishoken made a blip last year, but ownership changes didn’t sit too well with me although when I tried their tsukemen last November, it was still good. Ramen Butcher was good but didn’t wow, and now they’re reworking their broth, which seems worrisome because considering their pedigree, wouldn’t their parent company have nailed a broth recipe already that’s precise to the last detail?
I salute anyone who attempts to make ramen at home from scratch. I used the Serious Eats Chicken Ramen recipe and it turned out great!
I originally wasn’t gonna post this, so I didn’t take uber-detailed photos of the process, but I feel like I must exorcize this ramen demon before it consumes me! I can see why people can get obsessed with the seemingly simple ramen. The variations and permutations are limitness! And the rewards are delicious!
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!
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.
There’s been rumours of a change in ownership of Taishoken, the tsukemen place near Tinseltown that just opened in June this year (so only 6 months ago as of this writing). I’ve read and heard both good and bad about the place in recent weeks, so I thought I’d personally check it out to see if they still have the best tsukemen I’ve ever had so far. (See previous posts about Taishoken here and here.)