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HOME > CENTRAL TAIWAN > DINING

COMPASS MAGAZINE > March 2010
 

Mouthfuls of Delicious Ramen--Zhen Lai Ramen, Mian Jiang Ramen Shop, Wafu Authentic Japanese Ramen, Taikaitei Ramen Restaurant

By Niang Chen
Translated by Naomi Lai

 

Zhen Lai Ramen

 

Zhen Lai Ramen

408, YingCai Rd
(04) 2326-3289
Hours: 11:30 am-3 pm, 4:30-10 pm; holidays 11:30 am-10 pm
Credit card not accepted.
No service charge.

After studying in Japan for 16 years, Mr. and Mrs. Yu decided to introduce Taichung to ramen styles from that country's Chiba Prefecture. The broth base is a soup stock brewed with pork and chicken bones and seven different vegetables. This is cooked for a day until it thickens. Then kombu (seaweed), soy sauce, miso or kimchi are added to create an authentic Japanese ramen broth. Testament to this are the many Japanese diners who happily enjoy their ramen at this restaurant. The menu includes several ramen selections, starting from NT$100 per bowl.

A: Bringing authentic ramen from Chiba Prefecture, Japan to Taichung, Zhen Lai Ramen has been around for 30 years now.
B: Add some fresh shrimp, pork slices, mushrooms, fish cakes and bamboo shoots to the broth, then pour it over freshly-cooked ramen to make the signature dish, Zhen Lai Ramen (NT$170).
C: The rich miso ramen with shallot-flavored broth, large pieces of pork, and dried bamboo shoots make the Spicy and Shallot Flavored Miso Ramen with Chashu (Braised Pork) (NT$180) a very popular item at the restaurant. In another popular dish, the Stir-Fried Leeks with Pig Liver (NT$100), the aromatic leeks are stir-fried with a soft pig's liver and crisp bean sprouts for a delectable blend of flavors.

Zhen Lai Ramen Zhen Lai Ramen

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Mian Jiang Ramen Shop

 

Mian Jiang Ramen Shop

(04) 2236-1498
312, XueShi Rd
Hours: 11:30 am-2 pm, 5:30-9 pm (closed Mondays)
No service charge.
Credit cards not accepted.

Originally a designer, youthful owner Mr. Chang changed his career to enter the field of Japanese ramen because of his passion for noodles. Now running this high-quality ramen shop, he is a quiet man who mostly interacts with customers through his simple but delicious ramen. The shop serves 10 to 20 ramen selections made from pork bone, miso or soy sauce based broths and ranging in price from NT$69 to NT$120.

A: This clean, bright restaurant gives ramen a modern makeover.
B: Including specially-made ramen noodles and juicy chashu pieces, the Korean Kimchi Chashu (Braised Pork) Ramen (NT$115) blends the flavors of red miso pork bone broth with the spicy taste of Korean kimchi for a Kyushu-style ramen.
C: Chewy, slippery udon noodles are soaked in the light-colored but thick-flavored broth made from minced meat sauce and bonito (skipjack tuna) stock in the Sanuki Udon Noodles (NT$90). You can accompany the udon bowl with nicely-made Soft-Boiled Eggs (NT$20). The soft egg yolk is a demonstration of Chang's skills and heart when cooking.

Mian Jiang Ramen Shop Mian Jiang Ramen Shop

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Wafu Authentic Japanese Ramen

Wafu Authentic Japanese Ramen

(04) 2223-1038
9, Lane 59, LuChuan W St
Hours: 11 am-2 pm, 5-8 pm
Credit card not accepted.
No service charge.

A dialogue between ramen and owner Mr. Wang takes place in the open kitchen here. A splash of base broth made from brewing pork and chicken bones for eight hours with all types of ingredients brought back from Japan creates authentic miso, soy sauce or curry flavored ramen. Add some specially-made chewy ramen noodles and you have Wafu-style ramen.

A: Sitting in Wafu, you'll feel as if you're lost on some Kyoto street corner, with its small Japanese-style signs and traditional Japanese music. The restaurant is situated in a small alley near Taichung's Electronics Street.
B: Wafu Beef Ramen (NT$120) is made with beef stewed in shallots, ginger and garlic for three hours. The Chashu (Braised Pork) Ramen (NT$120) is covered with thick, juicy pork slices. These are both delicious ramen options that you cannot get enough of.
C: The curry used in the Curry Ramen (NT$120) is thick but mild in flavor. The flavorful miso broth of the Miso Ramen (NT$100) also tempts diners into slurping it down as quickly as possible.

Wafu Authentic Japanese Ramen Wafu Authentic Japanese Ramen

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Taikaitei Ramen Restaurant

Taikaitei Ramen Restaurant

(04) 2328-9845
448, ZhongMei St
Hours: 11 am-2 pm, 5:30-10 pm
Credit card not accepted.
No service charge.

Missing the flavors of home, youthful Japanese owner Mr. Tanaka, opened this local establishment. As the Japanese know, eating ramen requires a special technique: One does not drink the broth separately, but slurps up the broth and noodles together. This is why the soup tends to be thick and salty. Taikaitei also serves noodles of different consistencies and broths of varying thicknesses to suit Taiwanese tastes.

A: The combination of a rich broth and thin noodles is characteristic of Fukuoka-style ramen.
B: From Monday to Friday, you can enjoy the NT$200 New Pork Ramen, limited to 20 bowls per day. This is richer in flavor than the normal pork ramen, and made with a pork bone broth that is brewed for over 20 hours until it turns milky, ensuring that the ramen is thick with the pork-bone aroma. Mr. Tanaka explains his way of eating this ramen: You eat the noodles first, then use the leftover broth as a sauce on more noodles or rice to fully experience the savory flavor of the pork bones.
C: As its name hints, Ramen from Hell (NT$140) is so spicy that you feel like your mouth feels like it contains the fires of hades. The owner's special red chili sauce is the key to this delicious bowl of noodles. You can also select different degrees of spiciness. Don't forget to add some Egg Tofu (NT$30) and Kimchi (NT$30), which will help cool the flames a bit.

Taikaitei Ramen Restaurant Taikaitei Ramen Restaurant

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