This local ramen house is a favourite noodle house of a local Japanese hairdresser. Ramen is much more than simply noodles. It is a passion and and art for many Japanese people. It is not only the noodles, or just the broth, but the entire package and presentation which makes a good bowl of ramen. I think this experience might just kick us off into the search for a perfect bowl of ramen.
Menya is a small yet welcoming place that has a casual comfortable feeling where you could just eat by yourself and many lone diners do. You are greeted warmly in Japanese as you walk in the door and soon you are seated to look at the simple menu consisting of a variety of different noodles dishes with a few other accompaniments such as gyoza, rice balls, edamame and chicken karaage. The house specialty is the pork tonkatsu ramen (Negahama Ramen) – a salty pork-based broth with thin ramen noodles and fatty pork. The taste was…interesting…I couldn’t decide whether I really liked it or if it was just a bit too…I don’t even know how to describe it. I still ate it all so I must have liked it. The seafood and vegetable ramen ( Nagasakin Chanpon) consisted of thicker noodles in a less salty and differnt broth, which my partner preferred. If you add just over $3 to the cost of the noodle dish, you can order a ramen set which comes with one rice ball (a triangular piece of mushroom-flavoured rice with seawweed) and four delicious gyoza (I liked the thin wrapper vs the sometimes heavy dough wrappers in other restaurants). You can also pay a little extra to add an egg, vegetables, extra noodles, etc to the dish. Apparently, the miso ramen is their most popular noodle dish although the cold noodle dish special was popular the night we went and looked enticing.
I would go back again just to try their other noodles dishes – both hot and cold. It looks like there are a lot of regulars who come here – likely because the food is good, relatively cheap (almost all the dishes are below $10) and the service is fast and friendly.
Update – I went back and tried the soba with chicken in the homemade broth. A steaming bowl of soup quickly arrived in front of me and it hit the spot on a rainy cold day in Vancouver. The broth was clear and delicious and filled with a decent portion of chicken, seaweed, soba and other garnishes. I went away with a full and satisfied belly. This is my new favourite dish. I went back and tried the vegetable tempura version of the soba bowl and I definitely prefer the chicken. The veggie tempura is cooked then dumped into the soup making the tempura soggy and the soup oily – not my preferred combination.
Menya Japanese Noodle
401 W Broadway
Tel: (604) 725-9432
Hours: Lunch, 11:30 to 3pm; Dinner, 5pm to 9pm
Cost: Inexpensive, mains less than $10