Ramen quest – first stop, Ken Shin-Ryu Ramen
Given the buzz about the new ramen joint in town and how the chef is Sapporo-born chef Kita Koichi trained under the late Kawana-san who ran Kiori-tei in Shibuya, I had to try Ken Shin-Ryu for myself to see if it was worth the hype. If anything, the snazzy chef alone has attracted quite a bit of publicity!
What stands out are the excellent noodles, handmade daily in the kitchen using imported Japanese wheat flour without any preservatives. The result is a firm, chewy texture that sets it apart from all ramen contenders. Kita-san also makes it a point to use only Sakura organic pork and Kenkori eggs which uses Japanese agricultural techniques – the chasu literally melts in the mouth and there is a distinct ‘sweetness’ to the egg.
We tried all four types of tonkotsu ramen. Made from pork knuckle, back ribs, feet and chicken bones that are boiled consistently at 130 degrees C, the broth has that rich depth and exquisite umami flavour.
The potent notes of the Shoyu Tonkotsu ramen – shoyu based pork broth soup ramen served with signature roasted chasu – hits you at the very first spoonful of the broth; the Shio (salt-based) broth was less pronounced while the robust and hearty Kuro (black garlic) was my personal favourite. The camp for Aka Tonkotsu (spicy based) was divided – it certainly had more kick than usual Japanese offerings – my friend Jo really liked this as she felt it masked the ‘porkiness’ of the broth. It reminded me of the milky Penang laksa, yet was quite different in the way the flavours came together. I didn’t mind this but it didn’t hit the sweet spot for me. What I didn’t like either was the menma (bamboo) which to me, had a slight smell.
Since the Shoyu clear soup, boiled with kampung chicken and premium pork, was highly recommended, I made a point to try that as well. The premium quality of Japanese soy sauce, layered with the natural sweetness of the soup, makes this a good choice for those who prefer a lighter broth.
We also tried the gyoza which was one of the best I’ve had – meaty, juicy and slightly soupy inside, almost like the Chinese siew long pao. Skin was thin and translucent, with a hint of a crust at the right places.
The clincher though was the price. A basic bowl of ramen starts from RM28 with just one piece of chasu, spring onions and bamboo, and RM39 for the works that also comes half an egg, piece of seaweed, chicken and plump dumplings, which is slightly higher than average.
Generally, there’s good ramen to be had here. I’ve conceded there’s no ‘best bowl of ramen’ as it all depends on personal preference. Some may like a more full-bodied broth, or perhaps lighter, different kind of noodles or other details. If I’m in the vicinity, this is where I’ll go for a bowl of ramen to savour the great quality, well-made textured noodles.
Add: L1-02 ,1 Mont Kiara Mall, Jalan Kiara, Mont Kiara, Kuala Lumpur.