As I’ve mentioned many times before, Vancouver’s West End is home to many small Asian restaurants of all kinds and my latest discovery is Marutama Ramen on Bidwell street, just north of Robson. I was under the impression that most ramen broths derived their rich, creamy broth from simmering pork for extended periods, but Marutama Ramen boasts the “ultimate richly textured cloudy chicken soup”. And this is an accurate description of what you get when you order their Tamago Ramen which comes with a bowl of this milky broth, full of umami flavour, thin noodles, a soft-boiled egg, tender pork, and is topped with green onions and aosa or “sea lettuce”, which adds a nice texture and salty flavour. You can specify mild or spicy (I went for the heat) and our bowl of ramen was served with a side of deep fried garlic which you can sprinkle over for an added bitter crunch. True to Japanese ramen joints, Marutama offers the “Kaedama” system so that if you want more noodles, they will refill your bowl for just an added $1.25. You can specify the firmness of your noodles‒next time I go, I’ll order mine “Katamen” because I prefer them al dente. If you’ve downed your broth as well and need a top up, they will oblige for $3.00. I’m looking forward to trying their Aka Ramen which contains 7 kinds of ground nuts in the broth‒I’m sure this will add an unbelievable richness. With branches in Japan, Malaysia, Indonesia and Hong Kong, I’m happy Vancouver is their first North American outpost.
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