Out of the few ramen restaurants I have tried in KL, Marutama Ramen is probably my favorite so far. And it is quite frustrating for me to know how good they are so late, given that they have been around for more than 2 years. As I know there are two branches currently, the first opened at Farenheit 88 in Bukit Bintang while the second one can be found at Empire Shopping Gallery in Subang Jaya.
Compared to the other ramen places, Marutama’s menu might seem to present more options but for the ramen, the choices are pretty straightforward. Basically you just need to decide on the broth (either spicy or non-spicy), toppings (chashu or pork belly – the latter is oh so good) and also whether you want extra marinated eggs (Ajitsuke Tamago).
If you love these ramen eggs and can’t get enough of them like me, I say go for it. Marutama cooks them perfectly with a deliciously runny yolk in the center, definitely a notch better than the others. One thing though, there’s no bamboo shoot in the ramen here. Not that I am complaining since I don’t particular fancy them.
Right after I posted about Santouka, a friend quickly recommended me his favorite Ramen restaurant. Many of you might have heard and even been to this restaraunt already, it is none other than Menya Musashi at Isetan Eat Paradise, 1 Utama. I did not know at first, but after researching only that I knew Menya Musashi is very popular in Japan – well known for their authentic shoyu-based Tokyo style ramen.
Not gonna lie, initially I was quite worried that the soup would be quite salty like what we had at Santouka. Well, it turned out that my worry was for naught, as even though the soup is rich and flavorful, the taste is nothing near being salty. I did not memorize the entire menu but I am very sure that for the soup-based ramen, there are three flavors to choose from: Shiro (onion oil), Kuro (special fried shallot and garlic oil) and Aka Musashi (special homemade chili oil).
We did not try the Kuro ramen so no comment on that. But for the other two that we had, I would say that Shiro ramen @RM22 would appeal to the public better for its pleasant taste, while the Aka Musashi ramen @ RM26 would take someone who really appreaciates spicy food to enjoy. I belong to the latter so I am happy with it.
Noodle wise it has a smooth and “Q” texture which gives a very satisfying slurping sensation. As for the chashu, despite it not being of premium pork cheeks like what Santouka is serving – is nicely braised until tender, albeit not the melt-in-your-mouth kind.
I have never been a big fan of Ramen but there are times when you are eager to see what is the fuss about all about. Among the many ramen restaurants that have opened up in the past one year, I picked Hokkaido Ramen Santouka at Pavilion first because I feel it is the one that really kick-started the trend for ramen in KL. Besides, Santouka is also one of the larger ramen chains in the world.
I went straight for the best in the menu – a bowl of Tokusen Toroniku Shoyu Ramen @ RM36 (regular portion). It is Santouka’s signature ramen in which the toppings are served separately. The Chashu is a cut from some of the rarest part of a pig – the cheek. From what I read in the menu, only 200-300g of cheek meat could be taken from each pig so that makes it quite valuable.
Although Japanese Chashu sounds similar to the Chinese Char Siew, the preparation is totally different. Instead of being roasted, cha-shu is rolled into a small log shape then slowly braised to a soft, tender texture that is said to resemble tuna. The taste is a simple mix of sweet and salty flavors, nothing really mindblowing but the melt-in-your-mouth texture even with so little fat, it is quite something.
I could still vividly remember the last time I was at Kita No Zen (Hokkaido Ichiba) for lunch. The food was prepared with care and presented nicely, had generous portions and most importantly, tasted good. So even though the extensive menu is priced about 10-20% higher than the average Japanese restaurant in the mall, you get what you pay for – quality. Since SL had not been to the restaurant before and it was long since we had a good Japanese meal, we headed there last weekend.
Feeling deja vu? That is because Kita is owned by the same company that operates Sushi/Pasta Zanmai hence the familiarity in the restaurant’s decor.
I believe the Dragon Roll (RM30) is a popular dish at any Japanese restaurant. I felt it is so exceptionally good here that I ordered it during both of my visits. Topped with flying fish roe and sliced avocados that cleverly resemble the scales of a dragon, the sushi has a whole fried jumbo ebi wrapped inside. The prawn is very meaty too (thicker than my thumb!) and the flesh was firm and tasted sea-sweet. Simply delicious.