My boyfriend is a ramen junkie. He would ramen every day if he could. It might sound terrifying but at peak times, I had Kintaro ramen or Marutama ramen more than 3 times in one week continuously within one month. I thought I would hate ramen for life cause I got so sick of it. Marutama is my favourite and I just can’t believe I haven’t blogged about it. My dad is also a ramen junkie and I recall the last time he visited I brought him to Marutama. He loved it so much he made sure there was not a single drop of broth left in his bowl. Kintaro is also a favourite but not on the top of my list. I’ll explain in a minute.
The boyfriend is so obsess with his Kintaro ramen that he never really gave chances to other ramen places in metro Vancouver area. This day, he finally decides to open up to more ramen option and brought me to Taishoken Ramen. We’ve heard a lot of great things since their arrival in Vancouver but he just got too attached to Kintaro.
You don’t want to go into a restaurant not knowing what their speciality is. Taishoken is famous and unique for it’s Tsukemen. Tsukemen is ramen that serves with its broth separately. There’s a few reason why it is served this way. The main purpose is to keep the noodles away from being soaked in the broth so it would keep it’s al-dente (chewy) texture. The broth that is served aside is also different than your regular ramen broth. It comes in room temperature, and it is twice or even three times more concentrated than your regular broth. You probably won’t want to enjoy drinking your broth cause it is salty and gooey. It is almost like Marutama’s kind of broth but even richer.
The proper way to eat this ramen is to grab a mouthful of ramen, dip it in the broth, and it goes straight to your mouth. I was telling my boyfriend it feels like Chinese cuisine’s lo mien. By the end of your meal, you can ask your server for the rest of your broth which would even out the richness so it is drinkable like your regular kind of ramen broth. The tsukemen comes in two portion. $11.95 comes with cha siu and half of a soft boiled egg. The $14.45 larger portion comes with more cha siu, a full egg, and more noodles. If you realized you need more noodles along the way through your meal, you would have to keep in mind it takes at least 10 minutes to get your extra noodles out from the kitchen. The $11.95 regular portion is honestly not big. I didn’t have that satisfaction feeling afterwards and my boyfriend was actually still hungry. So if you’re a big eater, I recommend to go with the larger portion from the beginning.
Honestly, I love Kintaro because of their noodles (not really the soup) but I think Kintaro just lost its battle right here. Tsukemen really gave a hit to the noodles because my noodles are chewy throughout the whole meal. I’m not even kidding. They are really chewy. I know some people don’t like the chewiness. And I’m not going to lie. I actually prefer my ramen soggy most of the time (especially when cooking instant ramen at home). But the chewy texture is very fresh and unique. I actually fell in love with it.
And then you have the broth. Marutama is the only ramen place where I can drink up all the broth cause it is good and rich but not oily. Kintaro is good with its broth but to be honest, their broth is just a pork bone based added with the flavour (miso, shio, spicy garlic) and then a thin or thick layer of oil that determines its richness. My boyfriend orders rich everytime and it just disgusts me when I see that thick layer of oil on top of his broth. To be honest light, medium, or rich broth, they all taste the same. It’s just the matter of oil on top of it. Taishoken’s broth is rich but it is similar to Marutama. Rich but still drinkable. Correct myself, drinkable if you ask for the rest of it by the end of your meal. It took me a moment to adapt to the room temperature broth since we all assume ramen as a nice hot bowl of rich broth and noodles. But the broth is flavourful and I think I do like this kind of style. I can see myself crave for ramen on a hot summer day without the problem of worrying the need to sweat through my meal.
Although I found my new favourite ramen place in town, Taishoken is a bit on the pricey end of ramen. The portion itself is not big yet it is already about $12 a bowl of soup and noodle. I do appreciate the art of ramen and the complication of making one. Trust me, I know cause my boyfriend tried making the broth at home and it costed us so much time and money. My sister’s boyfriend went a further mile and made his own cha siu and noodles. It was a lot lot lot of work. Still, affording a small bowl of ramen at this price is not something I can do on a daily basis. I guess the craving just have to be tone down a bit more with Taishoken. More or less, Taishoken have my thumbs up. If you’re not loving or couldn’t find a reason to love Taishoken, maybe you’re not ordering the right thing… The thing that makes Taishoken unique.