Sherman's Food Adventures: Menbow Ramen Bar

Menbow Ramen Bar

Originally, we were planning to dine at Nubo Japanese Tapas on Pandora which was conveniently located 2 blocks from where we were hanging out.  Literally, we were hanging out at Interactivity Board Game Cafe playing various games and enjoying milkshakes.  However, for some reason or another, there was an hour wait at Nubo (and this was at 5:30pm).  As much as we were in the mood for some Japanese eats, we were not prepared to wait for that long.  Therefore, we walked down Blanshard looking for random food.  Yes, that is not necessarily the best strategy, but we were hungry.  We eventually settled on Menbow Ramen Bar.

After a quick search on google, it was determined that the place was decent enough to eat at.  To begin, we shared the Chicken Karaage which was served with chili mayo and lemon.  As much as the karaage was in a dark hue, the exterior was only lightly crispy.  The dark meat was certainly tender, but not juicy being a bit stiff in texture.  Although not bland, there could've been more salt.  Not a bad attempt, but not particularly awesome either.  As part of my combo, I also got a Chashu Don which was only $2.99 extra (a fair price considering the portion size).  It was pretty solid too with chewy rice topped with a considerable amount of fatty chashu and green onions.  There was definitely enough sauce and meat for all of the rice.

My choice of ramen was the Shoyu with chashu, half soft-boiled egg, nori, green onion, spinach, bean sprouts, fish cake, mushrooms and bamboo shoots.  Silky and rich, the broth was full-flavoured and I could definitely taste the saltiness of the soy sauce.  I made the mistake of drinking a large portion of the soup which made me thirsty (salt content) and feeling heavy.  The noodles were perfectly al dente while the pork was semi-fatty and tender.  I liked how they didn't overload the bowl with too much of the other ingredients because that usually muddles up the experience.  I thought the egg could've been cooked much less, but it did taste good.  For my son, he had the Shio with the same ingredients.  Somehow, he seemed to have more noodles than I did.  The soup base was more porky since the salt did not add any other complimentary flavours.

For my daughter, she chose the Miso with chicken broth, chashu, half soft-boiled egg, nori, green onion, fish cake, bean sprouts, spinach and corn.  Naturally, the addition of miso meant the broth had more body in the sense that the fermented bean paste afforded depth and a rich nutty saltiness.  Even though this was chicken broth, it was still silky and full-bodied.  For me, I love corn in my ramen so this provided nice little pops of sweetness.  Viv went for the Spicy Shio with chicken broth and the same ingredients as the regular shio.  This was pretty spicy and due to that, it didn't really even matter if the broth was chicken or pork as we wouldn't be able to tell.  Overall, we thought the ramen was decent enough at Menbow albeit on the pricier side.  Yet at the same time, pretty respectable even if it wasn't in Victoria.

The Good:
- Decent
- Friendly enough service
- A good kind of basic (menu fairly simple)

The Bad:
- A bit salty
- Pricey 


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