Bar IPPUDO Ramen @ Bangsar Shopping Centre

Bar IPPUDO

I have been to IPPUDO a couple of times in the past and found their Hakata tonkotsu pork bone soup to be better than most. IPPUDO is famous for their Kyushu style ramen and pork buns. The latter is actually really yummy! The one in Bangsar Shopping Centre (BSC) is actually a new Bar IPPUDO – one of their IPPUDO x sake outlets.

Bar IPPUDO Malaysia

This doesn’t mean that Bar IPPUDO don’t still serve good ramen though. I was there for lunch with Ang Khian and the place was packed! I originally wanted to meet at MidValley but due to the school holidays, there was no parking to be found. I circled two parking lots (C and H) for almost an hour before giving up and going to BSC instead.

Ippudo Ramen

There was a waiting list to get a table and I finally managed to get seated. I was tempted to order the Samurai Rock (around RM 40) cocktail which is made with Nikka From The Barrel but since it was a lunch meeting, I abstained and just stuck to their lunch sets.

Perfect Ramen Set Combo

Perfect Ramen Set Combo A (RM 29.90)

Shiromaru Motoaji

This is what I had. You can choose from Shiromaru Motoaji or Akamaru Shinaji and I opted for the former. It’s a half bowl ramen instead of a full serving since it came with other stuff. In addition to the half bowl Shiromaru Motoaji, there was:

  • Pork Bun
  • Tamagoyaki
  • Nappa Cabbage
  • Dessert
  • Green Tea (hot/cold)

Ippudo Pork Bun

I made this choice for the Ippudo pork bun, which sounds mundane but is surprisingly good. My first bite left me wanting more – the pork belly in the soft and warm enveloping clamshell dough was simply divine!

Nappa Cabbage

I really liked the sweet tamagoyaki too but the nappa cabbage was left half-eaten. The dessert of watermelon with a wedge of orange was pure genius though – the orange slice was cut in a way that each cube of watermelon *absorbed* the orange juice and it tasted wonderful.

Bar IPPUDO Set

Perfect Ramen Set Combo B (RM 31.90)

Akamaru Shinaji

This set had two different items – sashimi replaced the pork bun and beef enoki the tamagoyaki but it’s otherwise the same. You also get the same ramen options and Ang Khian went for the Akamaru Shinaji half bowl ramen.

Ippudo Sashimi

She asked me if I wanted to have a slice of her salmon sashimi and I said it’s fine. I was just being polite coz it’s only the second time I met her and we were discussing some business over lunch. Haha. I really wanted to eat it but I haven’t seen her since Chinese New Year in Ipoh in 2009 so I decided to be gracious.

Beef Enoki

I was quite tempted to eat her beef enoki too. smirk

Ippudo BSC

The service was really rushed and you can see the waitresses visibly harried – the lunch crowd at Bar IPPUDO, BSC is surprising considering the amount of F&B outlets there. People came, they ate, and they left – the turnover was so fast that we couldn’t talk shop and finished our lunch before heading over to CBTL for coffee (forgot there was a Dome there).

I’ll be back for that Nikka Japanese single malt and grain whisky cocktail with a perfectly round and spherical ball of ice though. :)

Ramen Bari-Uma @ Jaya Shopping Centre

Nori-Uma

I asked my better half what she felt like eating over the weekend and she said pan mee. I’m not a huge fan of pan mee (and I had a feeling she just wanted me to save some money) so I asked if she would prefer Korean food or Japanese food. She opted for the latter and that’s how we turned up at Ramen Bari-Uma.

Bari-Uma Ramen

Ramen is kinda like the Japanese version of pan mee anyway and it’s something she likes to eat too. smirk

Ramen Bari-Uma

Ramen Bari-Uma is one of the more recent authentic Japanese places in town. This is not one of those “pork free” outlets, this is unabashedly pro-oink and features real chashu and even tonkotsu (pork bone broth) as the base.

Charcoal Grilled Chashu

Lovely, that’s just how we like it. I ordered a bottle of Kirin Ichiban 100% Malt Beer (RM 20) and my dear had green tea while we browsed through the menu.

Kirin Ichiban Beer

Ramen Bari-Uma really just serves one type of ramen – its namesake Ramen Bari-Uma (RM 26). This type of specialization is a really good sign in an authentic Japanese ramen establishment. You can have it with or without ajitama (soy marinated soft boiled egg), the latter making it Ajitama-Uma. (RM 28 – RM 2 for the egg). You can also have it with seaweed – Nori-Uma (RM 27) and if you want an egg with that it’s concatenated into Noritama-Uma (RM 29). There’s also a spicy version called Kara-Uma (RM 26) and a double portion chashu version appropriately dubbed Chashu-Uma for RM 32.

Homemade Ramen Noodles

…and that is the streamlined menu of Ramen Bari-Uma. The ramen here is all freshly made in-house and you can have it firm, original or soft. It’s served original if you didn’t specify.

Ramen Bari Uma Dinner Set

My dear went for the Dinner Set (RM 35.90). It’s really good value if you can eat a lot. You can choose from any of the regular (non-ajitama) priced ramen. She went for the Bari-Uma – their flagship offering. The settu also comes with a starter of Japanese salad and two pieces of tamagoyaki, which is quite sweet, an apt dessert. Of course, the drink is also included in the price – although it’s limited to green tea (either hot or cold)

Pork Rice Ramen

There’s also a bowl of rice topped with pulled pork in the dinner set. It’s meant to be dumped into the leftover ramen broth. You can literally ask for a “little bit of rice” in some ramen-ya in Japan to finish your ramen broth! When you’ve eaten all your ramen noodles and there’s still some soup in the bowl (and you’re still a little hungry, of course) you can ask for some rice to finish the ramen broth.

Yakitori Set

We also ordered some yakitori to share. There are five types of yakitori – butanegima (pork thigh and leeks), butabara (pork belly), negima (chicken thigh and leeks), sasami (chicken breast), toriniku (white chicken meat). It’s RM 5.90 for 2 pieces each or you can get one of each type in the Yakitori Combo (RM 13.90) which we went for. I didn’t think much of it, I’ll pass on this one, this is a ramen-ya, yakitori isn’t their strong suite.

Noritama-Uma

I had the Noritama-Uma (RM 29) coz I though the presentation in the menu looks absolutely fabulous. :D There are three (3) pieces of large dried seaweed flanking one side of the bowl, partially submerged, so you can slip them individually into the ramen broth to eat together with the noodles – it provides a welcome savory crunch. I had the firm version which can be a little too hard for some people’s tastes – the consistency is like al dente pasta.

Ajitama

However, the best thing about Bari-Uma is their chashu – it’s thickly cut and flamed! Most ramen-ya in Malaysia serves braised chashu and while that’s good, grilled chashu is even better. The Maillard reaction gives the caramelized surface a nice charcoal sweetness and the chashu is nice and thick. I love the ajitama egg too, although I had to slice it myself, the presentation was a little bit off that day.

Black Sesame Ice Cream

We also ordered their entire dessert menu! action Haha! It wasn’t very hard since the dessert menu at Ramen Bari-Uma consists of two (2) items in total. There’s Green Tea Ice Cream (RM 7.90) and Black Sesame Ice Cream (RM 7.90). We had one of each and while my dear didn’t like the black sesame, I though it tasted pretty good. Fans of black sesame mochi would love it! The matcha ice cream was pretty spot on too.

Ramen Bari-Uma Us

The shoyu based tonkotsu broth at Ramen Bari-Uma is really good, you can see how much collagen is in the soup just by scooping it up. The viscosity and thickness is palpable! It’s made with chicken feet and pork bones. The broth makes or breaks a ramen place and the one here is excellent. The bill came up to RM 135.95 for the two of us. Bari-Uma literally means delicious and it’s an accurate description of the ramen here.

Franco Malaysia – Japanese French cuisine @ 1 Utama

Franco Malaysia

French-Japanese cuisine? I must admit, it piqued my curiosity. My better half told me about Franco and we decided to pop over to 1 Utama and have dinner there. I’ve heard stories about long queues so I’ve largely given this place a pass since it changed its name from Miam Miam.

Franco

Franco sounds a lot more appealing than Miam Miam. They have a short, but sweet menu. It’s the total opposite of some F&B outlets who list around 100 items and do all of them badly. Franco only has a few pages in their menu and a LTO (Limited Time Offer) specials menu to go with it. Very French.

Matcha Smoothie

I ordered the Matcha Smoothie (RM 14.80) which was a really interesting drink. It’s topped with their homemade cream, tastes like proper matcha instead of cut-rate powder, blended with honey and there are red beans as a treat at the bottom. My dear went for their Oreo Banana Milkshake (RM 14.80) which is a variant of their Peanut Butter & Banana Milkshake.

Squid Ink Rice

Squid Ink Rice with Assorted Seafood & Omu Egg (RM 30.80)
This is my main! I thought it sounded like a nice concept on the menu so I ordered it. It turns out to be an even better dish! There were prawns, squid and even a mussel to go with the well-cooked rice (you can see individual grains). The squid ink rice was very flavorful – slightly salty and infinitely savory. The sweet omelet topping this dish is the proverbial icing to the cake. Delicious!

Lobster Bisque Pasta

Lobster Bisque Pasta (RM 31.80)
My dear had this one for her main. It comes with just one (1) tiger prawn but that’s not too bad considering my hometown charges even more for a similar dish (but with a very different species of prawn). The lobster bisque that the spaghetti was tossed with is perfect, and we both enjoyed this dish. The menu states that this contains traces of alcohol so I’m guessing this place isn’t halal.

Souffle

Vanilla Soufflé (RM 17.80)
This is what my dear ordered. Franco is known for their desserts, it used to be a bakery cum café before its current incarnation as a restaurant. The soufflé was light and airy, pretty textbook but good. They also have chocolate and matcha versions but we decided to stick to the original for our first visit.

Berries Cheesecake Parfait

Berries Cheesecake Parfait (RM 15.80)
Our server complimented me on this order and I wasn’t disappointed. It really tastes like cheesecake! It’s not very overwhelming either since the acidic elements cut through the richness. There’s the roughly crumbled base (graham crackers) as the bottom of the parfait, layered with smooth Philadelphia cream cheese and topped with frozen yoghurt. There are also fresh berries scattered on top and I joked that if they were Driscoll’s the blackberries alone would cost RM 1. smirk

Franco Us

Overall, we had a great dinner at Franco – the service was excellent, helmed by Angel, our server/greeter. The food was surprisingly good, my expectations were very much exceeded. The meal cost RM 138.40 for two pax and that’s about the average price for dinner at a similar establishment. We’ll definitely be back!

Franco
Lot 146, Ground Floor
One Utama Shopping Center
Bandar Utama, Petaling Jaya

Yuzu Ramen @ Yamagoya Ramen, Publika Solaris Dutamas

yamagoya ramen kl

We’ve been hankering for some good ramen so my better half and I decided to drive down to Publika over the weekend so we can do some grocery shopping and satisfy our ramen craving at the same time. I actually don’t think about ramen much, it’s my dear who loves to eat it, so I try to accommodate her. <3

yamagoya ramen

Yamagoya Ramen has been open for a few years and it’s claim for fame is Hakata style ramen with their tonkotsu (pork bone broth) made with pork bones flown all the way here from Japan! Their black garlic ramen is pretty well known too and I wanted to order the flagship Mukashi Special Ramen (RM 24) before I was tempted by a Japanese flyer advertising some ramen made with citrus.

yamagoya ramen menu

I asked one of the waiters and he explained that it was their new yuzu ramen, made with that citrus fruit which is a hybrid of sour mandarin and Ichang papeda oranges. It has a pork broth that looks appealingly lime green in the picture and I was quite intrigued by it. They also have a lemon ramen if you’re so inclined.

Yuzu Ramen (RM 26)

yuzu ramen

I was expecting an intensely overpowering yuzu flavored broth. I was wrong. It was perfectly balanced. The tonkotsu was seasoned with a reasonable amount of yuzu citrus fruits and it actually tasted really good!

I ordered it as a lark but it turned out better than I expected. The char siu (pork belly slices) I got with my ramen had a nice and distinguished layer of fat together with the lean meat and it was a wonderful bowl of ramen that I’ll go back for.

Roasted Char Siu Ramen (RM 24)

roasted char siu ramen

My better half got this and the broth was a lot more hearty and robust compared to mine. The thickness of the roasted char siu is commendable too – one slice is easily more than ½ inch which makes one piece of her char siu equivalent to 3-4 of mine.

It has a nice char (smirk) on it too – the roasted flavors comes through forcefully and considering there are 3 slices of the roasted char siu inside this bowl of ramen, it has a rather generous amount of protein for a ramen dish. It’s worth the RM 62.65 bill for two.

yamagoya ramen us

There was a Japanese family next to us who used the sesame seed dispenser *liberally* and I tried that too. It turns out that it works very well with the flavors of ramen. You can also order a bowl of rice to eat with your leftover broth if you want. The correct way to eat it is to take a small scoop of rice from the bowl before submersing it into your leftover broth and finally putting it into your mouth.

sesame seed ramen

I read that while researching for our Japan trip. Haha. It’s actually a good way to finish up the leftover broth instead of ordering the usual additional portion of ramen noodles.

Yamagoya Ramen
A2-G2-8, Solaris Dutamas
1, Jalan Dutamas 1,
50480 Kuala Lumpur

Waddap cuz

My cousin is here on a business trip and I had dinner with him to catch up. I actually just met him in Singapore a couple of weeks back, but that was just to pass him some stuff from my sister’s condo. It was about to rain so we didn’t have much time to talk.

poh poh
L-R: Mr. Poh, Mr. Poh.

Interesting fact:
My dad is the oldest son of my grandfather and I’m his youngest son.
My cousin’s dad is the youngest son of my granddad and he’s the oldest son.

Guess how far apart our ages are?

It’s surprisingly not far apart. He’s only older than me by *one year*.

…..

…….

………

…………

I wish!

I’m kidding. He’s 24 and I’m 31. That makes it a 7 year difference. My grandfather also beget 7 offspring, which is totally coincidental and has nothing to do with this at all.

Chirashi-Jyu
This is what I usually order when I have Japanese food nowadays. I’m a huge fan of unagi (eel) but due to my unhealthy diet I’ve taken to ordering this pretty consistently when I’m out. It’s assorted sashimi on sushi rice for RM 30.

chirashi jyu

I actually like this version – best I’ve had so far. The selling point was the fatty raw salmon – it’s creamy and delicious! They don’t serve coffee (boo) but however this place has a 4sq special where you can get a green tea ice cream for free when you check-in.

BTW, my cousin is single and available. Heh.

…and that concludes the Book of Numbers in my family scripture for now. ;)

Santouka Hokkaido Ramen @ Tokyo Street Pavilion

santouka ramen pavilion

I headed down to Santouka Hokkaido Ramen in Tokyo Street at Pavilion a couple of days ago to check out their acclaimed premium pork cheek and ramen goodness.

santouka ramen

Santouka Ramen is an actual franchise from Hokkaido in Japan and I heard a lot of interesting anecdotes about it from Julian and Inggrid.

roasted premium pork cheek

Roasted Premium Pork Cheek (RM 17)
This came heated in a ceramic mesh. Santouka Ramen also has the same treatment for char siu but I found the pork cheek to be slightly better. It still maintains its juiciness despite the thin slices and the tender pork cheek comes encrusted in charcoal goodness.

santouka roasted pork cheek

Next up came the parade of the different ramen they have:

shio ramen

Shio Ramen
This is translated as “salt” although it is best described as the original taste of the pork infused ramen base. It’s my favorite, hands down. It comes with a small ume (plum) on top.

santouka gyoza
An side order of gyoza to go with your ramen.

Shoyu Ramen
This is the soy sauce version, which tastes pretty good if you like a bit of saltiness to your ramen. I still prefer the shio though.

Miso Ramen
Yup, you know what this is…it’s just like what you’ll expect – ramen in miso (fermented soybean) soup.

kara miso ramen

Kara-Miso Ramen
This adds a twist by adding a bit of spice into the miso soup. It’s quite interesting but can be overwhelming to the palate if you’re looking for more subdued ramen bases.

Each of the ramen bowls comes with char siew and a sprinkling of sesame seeds – the number of slices and amount of noodles differ according to the size you’re ordering. The prices are RM 22.50 (Small), RM 25 (Regular) and RM 29 (Large) except for Kara-Miso Ramen which runs slightly higher (add RM 2).

premium pork cheek ramen

I highly recommend you order Santouka Ramen’s specialty – Tokusen Toriniku Ramen. That’s Premium Pork Cheek Ramen and they only have a limited quantity per day since you can only harvest about 200 to 300 grams of pork cheek per pig.

premium pork cheek

The Premium Pork Cheek Ramen (RM 36 for Regular) comes with a side of tender and decadently fatty pork cheeks slices. It’s different from the roasted premium pork cheeks and I found that I enjoyed this one more. The pork cheek slices goes well with the ramen and absorbs the flavors of the ramen base perfectly.

komi tamago

Don’t forget an order of their famous Komi Tamago (Flavored Boiled Egg – RM 2). This decadent slice of heaven is a boiled egg that has a semi-runny yolk. The flavor and texture is orgasmic and you have to order at least one or two to go with your ramen. Guaranteed satisfaction for all egg fans.

santouka us

Thanks for the lunch! I will definitely be going back for the melt-in-your-mouth pork cheek, shio ramen and komi tamago (the breakfast of champions).

Interesting facts:

  • The broth gets tested every single day coz the amount of fat per pig is different
  • The ramen at Santouka Ramen is “al dente” coz that’s the way it’s supposed to be in Japan
  • The komi tamago had more than 50% wastage when they first started making it
  • Santouka Ramen actually had the owner and chef from Japan come over to ensure quality control
  • The chopsticks are even tested to make sure it doesn’t have a smell and grips the ramen properly
  • Each bowl of ramen is prepared individually
  • The char siew meat must face you when they serve the ramen
  • It started 23 years ago and Santouka Ramen has the same bowls and pretty much tastes the same all over the world

tori karaage
Tori Karaage – some good ol’ fried chicken as the appetizer.

Santouka Ramen
Tokyo Street, Pavilion KL
Lot 6.24.03, Level 6, Pavilion,
168 Jalan Bukit Bintang,
55100 Kuala Lumpur,
Malaysia.
Tel: +603 2143 8878

santouka food

——————————————————————————–
Want dessert? Head over to Suchan for some awesome cakes. I actually bought the previous offer from MilkADeal and the cakes are superb!

suchan
RM25 instead of RM48 for Award-winning 5″ x 5″ Cake at Suchan Bakery Specialty Cakes, Jalan Universiti. Choice of Tiramisu, Moist Chocolate Cake or Eggless Chocolate Cake [48% OFF]

Grab the offer while you can! :)
——————————————————————————–

Japanese Curry with Beef Lung, Pork Loin and Eryngii Mushrooms

japanese curry dish

I wanted to cook something Japanese this weekend coz Aud got me this souvenir from Mount Hakone in Japan – a pair of chopsticks. It just so happens that my friend had Japanese Curry at home and she came over with a carrot and potatoes while I went shopping for the rest of the stuff.

You will need:

ingredients

Japanese Curry mix
Sumo rice
Pork loin block
Beef lung
Peas in a pod
Dutch mushrooms
Eryngii mushrooms
Potatoes
Carrots
Onions
Seaweed and sesame rice flavoring

japanese curry chop

First off start slicing/cubing/peeling/dissecting/massacring all your vegetables, meat and fungi (except for the Eryngii mushroom ).

pork loin 

The pork loin block should be disciplined with your knife until they become cubes.

Eryngii mushrooms

Cook the Eryngii mushrooms in a pot of boiling water and set it aside.

japanese rice

Next, start cooking the rice. The Rule of Thumb Index Finger (TM) applies in cooking rice. It is an agarration (TM) method if you lack cups or other standards of measurement.

rule of index finger

Basically what you do is pour in the rice, rinse once with water and add water until it comes up to the first joint of your index finger. It should be noted that the tip of the index finger should be resting on the top of the rice, not the bottom of the rice cooker.

japanese curry prepare

After that is sorted, it’s back to the Japanese Curry! Add some extra virgin olive oil and start frying your ingredients.

frying pan

I added in the pork cubes before frying the onions – a mistake on my part. It would have tasted better to fry the onions before putting the rest of the stuff in.

japanese curry ingredients

Everything you have amassed up to this point (except for the Eryngii mushrooms) should be added into the frying pan in batches and given a good once-over. My frying pan is a bit on the small side so it kinda overflowed.

add water

Transfer the contents of the frying pan into a pot and add approximately 500 ml of water.

japanese curry pot

I eyeballed it and added probably 700 ml or so of water so the curry wasn’t as thick as it was supposed to be. However, I put the leftovers in the fridge and reheated it for lunch just now and the consistency was perfect!

The meat and veggies should be boiled for about 30 minutes with the lid on before the Japanese Curry powder chunk and sachet of chilli powder is added in.

japanese curry done

Wait for the Japanese Curry powder to melt and permeate the pottage before putting the lid on and let it simmer for an additional 20 minutes.

japanese curry serve

It’s now ready to serve!

japanese curry

We scooped the rice into a plate and added seaweed and sesame rice flavoring. The curry is spooned into the side of the plate and decorated with a Eryngii mushroom.

itadakimasu

Japanese Curry tend to be a bit on the mild side but the chewy texture of beef lung contrasted with the lean pork loin and the medley of vegetables makes this dish work out very well.

Itadakimasu!

iichiko mugi shochu

iichiko

iichiko mugi shochu
is a 100% barley shochu from Japan. Japanese shochu is usually made from either sweet potatoes, rice or barley and though it’s difficult to differentiate between the three, I tend to prefer barley fermented drinks.



iichiko mugi shocho
weighs in at a respectable 25% alcohol and in the new format of alcohol reviews, this is done vlog style, complete with fake Japanese accent. ;)

Shabu shi by Oishi review

shabu shi

Shabu shi is a unique “shabu-shabu and sushi buffet
in Kaiten style” restaurant located right smack dab in the middle of
Pat Pong in Bangkok. The place charges 199 baht (about RM 20) for an all-you-can-eat buffet of shabu shabu (not that kind, the Japanese steamboat) and sushi. The name “Shabu shi” is a contraction of the words “Shabu shabu” and “Sushi“.

shabu shi interior

My gf was pretty hungry at the time (you don’t want to be near her
when she’s hungry) so we went in and got seated. It turns out that
there was a long line of people there – it’s a very popular place with
the locals. I tried bribing the attendant with 1000 baht (RM 100) to
“bump up our position in the queue” (that’s how scary she is when she’s
hungry) but he didn’t bite.

shabu shi train

It took us a good 15 minutes of waiting before we got out turn.
Shabu shi has bar style seating and table style seating arrangements,
both of which are connected to a sushi train (conveyer belt) like
contraption that has colored plates depicting the different dishes
available for the steamboat and also sushi.

shabu shi place

Shabu shi lays out the table with a bowl, a plate, eating
instruments, dipping sauce and wasabi. There is an indention in front
of every person which is where the shabu shabu (Japanese steamboat)
goes into. The 199 baht admission price also allows you to a free flow
of drinks ranging from tea to sodas as well as ice cream for dessert.

shabu shi japanese steamboat

The water was set to a boil by using an individually controlled heat
sensor located at the bottom of the place and we started to get plates
of food to put into the boiling broth. Shabu shi has a wide range of
Japanese steamboat ingredients ranging from clams to pork slices.
Mmm…pork.

shabu shi plates

I dumped the stuff I like into the indented pot of boiling broth and
waited for it to cook. The proper way to eat shabu shabu is to swish it
around (shabu shabu literally means “swish swish” in Japan)
but I couldn’t be bothered and I wanted to batch eat. ;) I had a really
heroic amount of empty plates stacked up too, but the overtly
industrious people and Shabu shi kept on taking them away.

shabu shi scoop

The cooking didn’t take long and I scooped up the stuff into the
small bowl for eating. I don’t really like tofu btw, in fact, I hate
it, but my gf dumped it into my soup anyway.

shabu shi bowl

Itadakimasu!

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