Sherman's Food Adventures: Marutama Ramen

Marutama Ramen

A year ago, there seemed to be a ramen joint opening every month.  However, fast forward to the present and it seems this "fad" has been reduced to a trickle.  In fact, due to unfortunate circumstances, we have seen the closing of almost all the Benkei locations.  So it was a little surprising to see another Ramen shop give it a go along the Robson corridor.  Located just off Robson on Bidwell, this is the first North American location of the Marutama Ramen chain (which operates in Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia).  Snake (a ramen connoisseur) and I decided to hit up the spot to see what it was all about.

As a baseline, I got the Tamago Ramen.  In not a particularly big bowl, the amount of food was not substantial.  However, the quality did make up for the lack of quantity.  The freshly made in-house noodles were firm and toothsome while the chicken broth had plenty of depth and silkiness.  I would say the broth would be considered salty to some, but for me, it just barely straddled that line.  The abundance of Aosa seaweed provided some brightness and the addition of fried garlic (at the table) provided some aromatics.  We really liked the fatty and moist chashu and  gotta say this was the best soft boiled egg I've had from a ramen shop, even the egg white melted in my mouth.  Snake went for Zenbu Ramen (The Works) which included roast pork in addition to the chashu and egg.  I'm not sure if it was worth $18.00 but he enjoyed it nonetheless.  His chose a spicier broth and it did have a kick indeed - just enough for flavour but not overwhelming.

We both had a side of Chashu Gohan and it was fantastic.  The fatty and moist roast pork was tossed with onions where there was a plethora of caramelization.  The flavours were intense and the textures were super moist.  The rice was nicely chewy and the whole thing was just plain delicious.  In fact, we both agreed that everything we ate was well-prepared and tasty.  On the other hand, we were definitely paying for quality as the the portions sizes were modest at best.

The Good:
- Freshly made noodles
- Carefully prepared eats
- Friendly service

The Bad:
- Pricey for what you get
- Not a whole lot of seats, but then again, most ramen joints are like this

Marutama Ramen on Urbanspoon


Unknown said...

Chicken broth sucks. I much prefer thick pork broth. I don't like this place, and selections are very limited.

Sherman Chan said...

Originally posted by "Oil". Got deleted by mistake:

At some types of ramen shops (Men-ya is one example), you can order a noodle refill called a "kaedama" which is essentially another serving of noodles. One thing a small serving of noodles ensures is that they don't get too soft sitting in the bowl while you're eating them.

Marutama's website says their kaedama costs $1.25. So although you might experience sticker shock at the initial cost of a bowl of ramen, the incremental cost of additional noodles isn't too bad.

If you're going to order kaedamas, it's important not to drink too much of the broth as the shop will probably not provide you more broth. In a way, it might not be a bad thing that the broth is kind of salty because subsequent kaedamas will tend to dilute the broth when they're added.

If you like noodles like I do, this is a good way to gorge yourself. My food record right now for eating ramen at a single sitting is the original bowl plus 6

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