While visiting Vancouver, I decided to do a bit of a ramen crawl earlier this week, except over consecutive days instead of all in one day as I just don’t have the belly space to visit more than one place a day. My first stop was to check out the ramen from Motomachi Shokudo. Motomachi is the sister ramen-ya to the famous Kintaro Ramen. In contrast to Kintaro which is known for their rich pork based soup and fatty bbq pork slices, Motomachi brands itself to be the healthier alternative as they have a soup base is made with organic chicken in addition to the standard pork broth and they strive to use organic ingredients where possible.
One of the unique offerings at Motomachi Shokudo is the Bamboo Charcoal Ramen ($9.75). The blackened soup, though not necessarily that visually appetizing to some perhaps, is a combination of powdered bamboo charcoal and Motomachi’s rich miso soup. Motomachi Shokudo is actually the first to introduce this new type of ramen in North America. The bamboo charcoal is apparently a well-known digestive supplement in Chinese medicine as the pores in the bamboo charcoal supposedly absorb toxins from the body as it goes through the digestive system. I wanted to try this new type of ramen, not because of the health benefits, but because it was a novelty dish and I was curious about its flavour. The Bamboo Charcoal Ramen came topped with blanched bean sprouts, menma (bamboo shoots), half a soft-boiled local organic egg, diced green onion, a large slice of tender bbq pork, chili threads, chili powder, and some seasonal green vegetables. According to the menu, it was also supposed to come topped with some angel-haired Japanese leek although not a single strand was to be found in my bowl on this visit. Despite that, I thought this bowl of Bamboo Charcoal Ramen was well-executed. The blackened broth had an interesting earthiness to it and was very rich in flavour though there wasn’t really a discernible flavour from the bamboo charcoal itself. And I was actually surprised the broth didn’t have a powdery or chalky mouth feel to it. Although I had forgotten to order my noodles firm, I was pleasantly surprised they actually came out perfectly al dente. I was also impressed with how tender and flavourful the slice of bbq pork was as I’m normally not a fan of Japanese-style bbq pork. Overall, I enjoyed the contrasting flavours and textures of the various toppings.
I’m really glad I got to try the Bamboo Charcoal Ramen at Motomachi Shokudo. However, if I were to compare though, I think my favourite ramen is still the Toroniku Shio Ramen from Hokkaido Ramen Santouka, with the Toroniku Kara Miso Ramen also from Hokkaido Ramen Santouka being a close second.
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