Sherman's Food Adventures: Matsunoki Ramen

Matsunoki Ramen

While we were dining at Buranko Cafe the day before, I noticed that Pine Street Market was right across the street.  You see, we were scheduled to check out Matsunoki Ramen, which is located right in the market.  The place has only been in operation for less than a year, but the people behind it are no rookies.  They have countless years of experience in producing delicious and authentic ramen.  We were excited to try the place out and really loved the vibes of the market at this counter-service food stall.

Before we got to the ramen, we began with an array of appies including the Fried Shishito Peppers with chili mayo and the Popcorn Tofu with spicy soy-sesame sauce.  These were yummy little bites with the shishito being fairly mild except for a few outliers.  The chili mayo was a good compliment, but since the peppers were salted already, they ate well on their own.  The little fried cubes of tofu were pretty crispy and mildly-flavoured.  It definitely needed the soy sauce on the side.  Nice balance with the sauce.

As much as Matsunoki serves ramen, they also feature fried chicken on the menu.  We had their Jumbo Tenders marinated in soy, ginger and spices.  As such, the tenders had plenty of impact.  They were fried until crispy (as the menu suggested) and served with a side of curry dip.  Despite the appearance of an aggressive deep fry, the chicken tenders were actually quite moist and almost juicy.  The ginger really came through.

Onto the ramen, my son went for his usual in the Black Garlic Shoyu with fresh garlic, black garlic oil, garlic crunch, ramen egg and pork belly chashu.  This was legit with a rich broth that wasn't too heavy, but still had plenty of umaminess and aroma.  Lots of meatiness with the triple garlic making an impact where we had texture, fermented essence and the sharpness of the fresh garlic.  The thin noodles were al dente while the chashu was buttery soft and nicely torched.

My daughter had something from their Winter Special Menu in the Hokkaido Butter Ramen with a tonkotsu shoyu, black pepper, butter, diced chashu, ramen egg, corn, green onion, bean sprouts and sesame.  As expected, the broth was buttery with the nutty fattiness of the butter coming through.  It was not heavy, yet still full-of-depth with a certain silkiness.  Nice addition of some black pepper to offer a background bite.  This one had the thick noodles and there was a much more firm texture.

Viv had the Spicy Garlic Ramen with triple garlic, ma-po tofu, green onions, ramen egg and pork belly chashu.  Yah, they weren't kidding when they said "all the fire".  This had a real kick, but at the same time, wasn't painful to eat.  We could still discern the garlic from the spicy broth.  Loved the addition of the tofu as it added a silky texture while offering up another layer of spice.  This came with thin noodles and personally, I would've chosen thick instead to stand up to the intensity of the broth.

For myself, I went really off-the-board with the Vegan Tokyo Shoyu with corn, collard greens, green onion, sprouts and marinated tofu.  You know what?  This was good!  It is true that this was the lightest of the 4 bowls of ramen, but it had a clean broth that had umaminess, sweetness and surprising depth.  The thick noodles were chewy and appealing while the seared tofu did its best "meat" interpretation with a firm texture.  Overall, the food at Matsunoki Ramen was delicious and reasonably-priced.  Appies were good, but the real stars were the bowls of ramen.  Can't go wrong with any of the ones we had.

*All food was complimentary for this blog post*

The Good:
- Discernible differences with each bowl of ramen
- Impactful flavors
- Things are prepared properly

The Bad:
- Being in a market, seating can be hard to find during busy times


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