One of the questions I get asked a lot when people hear my blog’s name is “what’s your favourite ramen?” Well, to answer this in short is a little difficult since the asker usually means ramen of the instant variety, whereas my ramen-love is towards the non-instant kind (think miso, tonkotsu, shio ramen at a Japanese ramen joint. Continue reading
Peking Duck, you say? No way I would turn down that invitation. And Dan’s House, Sydney has delicious Peking Duck, and much more. Invited through a chain of friends of the owner (thanks, Thang & Heidi), I humbly accepted the opportunity to sample the menu at Dan’s, just two weeks prior to the Grand Opening (April 26th). Dan’s is located on George Street near World Square, and swankily fills two floors above street level (meaning you get to feel VIP taking the lift to dine). Dan’s specialties are of course roast duck dishes, and handmade noodles.
The food preparation area of the first level dining room is glass faced so you can watch all of the noodle-making action.
The meal started with a beautiful tofu dish and humble garden salad. IF I understood correctly, the vegetables are all grown fresh by the restaurant. In any case, it was all extremely fresh and lightly dressed with a sort of soy & wasabi combination. Being the health nut that I am, my favourite part was the crunchy-fried noodle.
This dish, cold tofu with salmon mixed with sweet soy sauce and wasabi, was at the same time so subtle, with the creamy textures of the tofu and slight bight of the salmon, but also complex and tart from the soy and wasabi (which also had some garlic and chilli if my senses tell truth). To be honest, this was my first time having cold tofu. I loved the presentation of the dish — the green chive really sparkles on the plate. Notice the intricate cut of the salmon. The black pearls of row were a nice touch. I should mention, they make their own soy sauce, and it’s damn good.
The duck skin. That’s it…need I say more? We dipped it in a small bowl of white sugar before eating, which seems unusual based on the reactions of everyone I’ve mentioned this to.
On the regular menu, the Peking Duck is served three ways (the skin, breast with pancakes, thigh stuffed into small pastries, and a duck soup). The lot came accompanied by the traditional sauces, radish, and spring onions so finely sliced I thought they were sprouts at first. The duck was very tender and flavoursome, the pancakes were neatly textured and subdued as they should be.
Give me wagyu any day, it’s the presentation of this dish that stands out. The wagyu beef with red wine and garlic sauce (look at those bits of garlic!) is served on a sizzling hot stone straight to the table. The server or chef will pour a shot glass of red wine over the meat forming the sauce and a spectacular steam show. The wagyu melted on my tongue!
When I spotted this dish on the menu presented to us, I was doubly excited. First, I had not had XO sauce before, and second, I love scallops. Apparently, as my co-diners told me, this is not an XO example to judge others against, so I should maybe wipe it from my taste memory of what XO is. Again, it is homemade, reflecting the quality and aspiration of Dan’s House, and it was very good tasting, whether true XO or not. The scallops were like butter. Delicious, scallopy butter. There were some tasty mushrooms and onions in the dish for good measure, but they’re just the side act to those noodles enveloping the package. If Dan’s House keep frying all these noodles I’m gonna start raiding the kitchen. Presentation is nice, n’est pas?
What did I just say about fried noodles? This was one of the more interesting dishes. It seems to be made of very thin, long noodles formed together into a cake and pan fried. It was mildly sweet, crunchy, and moreish.
The Longevity Noodle is literal. I’m not making a spelling error, and it’s not an ESL error on their menu. What this is is one big, long noodle topped with Zhajiang sauce. In a normal dish, this noodle can be as long as 40 metres, and the goal is to slurp it in one go (take your time, though.) The longer you slurp the noodle, the longer your life…and I could think of so many jokes right now. The menu expresses it is a Shanxi Province birthday tradition, I think it tastes a little like Asian spaghetti bolognese.
This, my friends, is a Teepee. Ok, not really. It’s dessert! The toffee apple is bits of apple in a batter, fried, arranged and drenched in sticky, beautiful toffee. You dip the yummy apple bites in ice water to cause the toffee to harden, and then pop it in your mouth!
Noodlie’s Thang Ngo took the opportunity to don an apron (for once :P) and make some noodles! If Thang makes noodles, do they become noodlies?
Dan’s House is a new wave style of Chinese cooking, serving beautiful, old and well-loved dishes in new ways. Make sure to check it out.
Level 1&2, 710 George St
Sydney NSW 2000
02 9211 1112
Feenin’ for some ramen? Yeah, me too. This wet weather has me craving for some slurpy noodles and soup to warm my throat. If you’re around the CBD, this little joint just across from Azuma Patisserie off George could hit the spot.
Ton Ton is a takeaway shop with some of the Japanese standards, plus a pretty diverse and homey ramen menu. They had some new editions when I was there: mabo tofu ramen (with spicy minced pork) and spicy nira ramen.
We tried the nira (spicy minced pork & bean paste?) and karaage ramen, with some gyoza on the side.
Ton Ton Ramen
501 George St Ground Floor
Sydney, NSW 2000
02 9267 1313
What? A ramen post on Everybody Loves Ramen??
Yes, yes you’re probably wondering whether I even love ramen. But the truth is there’s not much good ramen around Parramatta (that I know of…if you got the scoop lemme know), and I don’t make it into the city as much as I would like.
So when the opportunity does show itself, the best place I can think of to eat a steamy bowl of ramen is Gumshara in the Eating World food court in Chinatown.
I won’t dive into to much detail — there are some great posts around.
Gumshara’s menu is pretty straightforward — pick your broth, pick some toppings if you want. Grab your number, then some chopsticks and a spoon from the communal food-court cutlery buckets and wait. Anxiously. For like 3-5 minutes. After your order comes up you can add some condiments, which are complimentary and sitting on the end of the bench. Some toasted sesame seeds and pickled ginger go nicely.
The tonkotsu broth (which you can read about in other posts if you like) is thick with collagen — a product of boiling pork bones and marrow down for hours. Yes, I said hours. It’s slurpy, salty and great for winter. The noodles have a bit of bite to them (perfect) and will fatten in the hot broth if you eat it improperly (meaning if you don’t devour it in less than 10 minutes).
The famous bowl I haven’t tried yet (stupid me) is the special pork spare rib ramen — they apparently make only 10 bowls a day but.
In addition — Gumshara is a cheap eat — around $10-12 a bowl (give or take for extras). If Eating World is busy the place gets swarmed with international Uni students & Japanese hipsters.
Just for lolz — and coz it’s true. Itadakimasssssu!!1!11!!1!!!!1!!
Eating World Harbour Plaza (across from Sydney Entertainment Centre)
Shop 209, 25-29 Dixon Street
Haymarket, NSW 2000
Wow! 95% like it on urbanspoon – dattebayo!
Slurp! Slurp! It’s the sound of warm, slippery, salty noodles…
This week I commuted to Hornsby two days, which afforded me the opportunity to try out Tokyo Ramen at Westfield Shopping Centre. I was so excited, and not disappointed at all – and ended up eating there for lunch both days of work.
Further – after coming home and telling my housemate, “The Malaysian”, about the noodley wonders of Tokyo Ramen we trekked out for a THIRD visit in one week for Saturday lunch. Braving the onslaught of Christmas shoppers and angry drivers, these near-heart-attack-inducing bowls of slurpy and salty noodles are clearly in our hearts already.
Tokyo Ramen runs a nice business in a busy wing of the ground floor of Hornsby’s major shopping centre, always busy along with it’s sister sushi kiosk, Tokyo Sushi, directly outside. On Saturday, it’s so busy that there is a small queue, and we are offered a seat at the bar of the sushi kiosk instead.
Having already tried Miso Butter Corn and Negimiso (bbq chilli pork) ramen earlier in the week, I decide on a classic bowl of Miso Chashu Men: egg noodles with slices of roasted pork, vegetables, nori and half a boiled egg in a thick miso broth. It’s delicious and definitely the classic standard, but I still favour Miso Butter Corn, which is the same as Chashu Men with the addict- er, addition of sweet corn and lots of butter melting and oozing on top! This dish is best in winter and is soooo salty it leaves your throat with a burning sensation.
The Malaysian goes for Negimiso which is definitely fighting for first place in my favorite ramen dishes. It’s a miso based soup with egg noodles, shallots and slices of roasted/bbq’d pork packed with garlicky-chilli flavour. The broth is laced with that smokey, spicy barbecue taste, and visible specks of charring swirl about.
The bedfellow of ramen is of course Gyoza. I’ve had a small gyoza weakness since I first had it when I was six, and the thought of fried little dumplings always makes me salivate.
These beautiful little gyoza, part steamed, part fried, at Tokyo Ramen are tender, juicy, succulent. The flavour and texture of the fried side of the dumpling is not short of divine.
Gyoza, 5 pieces – $5.00
The big draw of Tokyo Ramen for me is the large draw of Japanese patronage and mixed generations. The food is flavoursome and adventurous enough for the young, familiar and authentic enough for the old.
Hornsby Westfield Shopping Centre
236 Pacific Highway
www.tokyoramen.com.au (website is all in Japanese)