Let’s Go For Ramen! Ikuzo Ramen, SS2

Before the 1950s, the Japanese called ramen (ラーメン) as shina soba (meaning “Chinese soba”), most probably because ramen is of Chinese origin. There are four main types of ramen; shio (salt), shoyu (soy sauce), miso and tonkotsu (pork bone), where each types came from different region of Japan.

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Klang Valley witnessed the ramen boom in recent years, where ramen joints mushrooming all over the metropolis such as Marutama, Yamagoya, Mai and so on. And since the trend is widely welcomed by Klang Valley folks, the people behind Nagomi decided to jump into the bandwagon as well, and thus Ikuzo Ramen is born. Helmed by Chef Shimbo Katsunori, Ikuzo Ramen prides itself as the revolution in ramen by using high quality ingredients with affordable price tags and no addictives or MSG are added into their food. True enough, when I flip over the menu, I found that no single item is priced above RM15!

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Ikuzo (literally means “let’s go!” in Japanese) Ramen believes that the quality of the broth dictates the ramen experience. Almost everything are prepared in-house, including the ramen (prepared using rye flour) and ice cream. The broth used in most of their dishes are made from long hours of boiling chicken carcass and tonkotsu (pork bone), separately and flavoured with shoyu (soy sauce). I was told that some other secret ingredients that goes into the broth are fruit and veggies. Then, the two types of broth are mixed together to form the ramen broth that is light, sweet tasting and pleasant to the palate.

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What we had for appetizer? A very simple Wafu Kyuri Salad (RM2.00) – zucchini sticks dip with their home-made dressings. We tried all five of them; Nori (seaweed), Teriyaki, Wafu (Japanese vinaigrette), Gomadare (sesame) and Umejiso (plum). You can get these salad dressings from their shop directly. Forget about the boring mayo or Thousand Island, these tastes better! Gyoza (ギョーザ), RM4.50 was juicy with minced chicken filling, while their Okonomiyaki (お好み焼き), RM4.50 was a little bit too soft for my liking. Topped with mayo, sauce, bonito flakes and pickled ginger, this Japanese pancake is much thicker than usual and served in triangles. Harumaki (pork spring rolls, RM3.90) was quite good too with minced pork and mushroom filling.

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Tokyo Ramen (RM7.90) came with the thick, stright cut ramen (which resembles local pan mee), hard boiled egg, spinach, nori (seaweed) and slices of pork a.k.a. cha-shu (チャーシュー) in shoyu-based broth. The broth was indeed very light and it doesn’t overpower the overall taste of the noodle. If the thick ramen is not your preferred choice, you can opt to have the thin version.

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Two types of spicy ramen are available here; Curry Ramen (RM7.90) served with breaded pork cutlet (tonkatsu, 豚カツ), hard boiled egg, spinach, curry soup and garnished with chopped spring onions and Curry Tan-Tan Ramen (RM6.90) with minced chicken and mala spices. A good choice for those who need a little bit of heat and lots of meat in their food. Comparison-wise, the Curry Tan-Tan Ramen is spicier than the Curry Ramen and it also has a stronger flavour to it. Not for the faint-hearted, otherwise, be ready with your tissue papers!

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Alright, let’s go back to the basic, which is also Ikuzo’s best-selling signature dish. Cha-Shu Ramen (RM8.90) came in the thin version of ramen, 5 slices of cha-shu, seaweed and spring onion in a shoyu-based broth. Almost identical to their Tokyo Ramen in term of taste and flavour.

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The last duo, Hokkaido Ramen and Yakiniku Ramen (both priced at RM8.50). As Hokkaido is the birthplace of the rich miso (みそ), the Japanese associate Hokkaido with its miso ramen, which is ideal for Hokkaido’s harsh and snowy winters. Here in Ikuzo Ramen, their Hokkaido Ramen came with cha-shu, sweetcorn, bamboo shoots, spinach, bean sprouts and spring onion in a miso-based broth. Slightly heavier to the palate compared to the shoyu-based broth. As for the Yakiniku Ramen, it is served with grilled marinated beef slices with spicy cabbage kimuchi in a shoyu-based broth, which gave the broth a slightly reddish hue. A little bit of Korean influence here (that’s why it is called ramen revolution, no?) and good for people who has low tolerance on spicy food. The beef slices could be improved though – I find them to be slightly tough.

For dessert, go for their in-house made Yuzu (ユズ) ice cream (RM3.90 per scoop) or better yet, wash them down with the thick and creamy Green Tea Milk with Yuzu Ice-cream (RM5.90) instead.

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Am I revolutionized? You can say partially, as I’m quite impressed with the effort, pricing and quality ingredients the chef put into their dishes. As for the ramen, they aren’t much difference to what the other ramen joints has to offer.

Ikuzo Ramen
No. 52, Jalan SS2/61,
47300 Petaling Jaya,
Selangor.
(Next to McDonald’s SS2)
Tel: 03-7873 3110

FB Page: http://www.facebook.com/IkuzoRamen

This post is linked to: Brought Up 2 Share, My Story and Eat Only Lar!

Chong Chew Kedai Kopi, Kanthan Baru

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Have not heard of Kanthan Baru? It’s a small village, located nearby some industrial area about 20km away from Ipoh. Some people would say that hidden gems are usually not found in strategic places… that why we call it “hidden”, right?

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I have not set foot into Kanthan Baru for many years. My colleague mates used to stay in Chemor, which is about 5 mins drive. We would gather at his place to do our college homework and have supper with their parents in Chemor or Kanthan.

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I got to know about this shop thanks to Motormouth. He got to know about this place after watching Taste with Jason (Axian) on Astro AEC and he couldn’t wait any longer to try their Hakka offerings. But since there were only two of us, we just ordered a few items to be shared between the two of us. The Hakka lei cha (pounded tea rice) came with different types of chopped greens, condiments and a pungent chlorophyll-smelling broth – this was actually my first time trying lei cha and it was quite a pleasant surprise, as it wasn’t as bad as I perceived. But I didn’t really add all the broth to the rice, so it was still acceptable.

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Pink-dyed dumplings called “cha guo” are also sold here with various of savoury fillings. It is quite difficult to find these nowadays, so when we saw these, we actually gone overboard by ordering too much (*gasp). Available in shredded yambean with peppery dressing, preserved vegetable (mui choy), grounded peanuts, dried shrimps and Chinese chives, I love the yambean and peanut version.

Authentic Hakka yong tau foo (we call it yong liew) are hard to come by, as the key ingredient for the stuffing lies in the minced salted fish. Fish paste + finely minced pork + salted fish = heavenly combination but due to the time-consuming process and cost, most proprietors would just omit the salted fish. In Chong Chew, they skipped on the salted fish as well, but they substitute it with an ingredient that rarely make an appearance in Hakka or Chinese cuisine – fennel seeds. Used extensively in Indian cuisine, fennel seeds acts as after-meal mint or used to flavour the curries. However, the combination of the yong liew with fennel seeds were surprisingly nice, adding a little bit of omph to the morsels.

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And something for the real breakfast, chee cheong fun with curry pork skin and long beans. Those mentioned above does not count. :)

Chong Chew Kedai Kopi
282, Kanthan Baru,
31200 Chemor, Perak, Malaysia.
Tel: 05-201 7616/012-518 3382
Directions: You can read it here.

*The map does not point to the exact location of the shop, it is just a reference on the nearby spot.

Worthy Book (TM) F&B Special Edition 2012-2013

Do you often bugged by the daily question “Where or what to eat?”. Love freebies or discounts while dining out? What you need might be a copy of the Worthy Book(TM) F&B Special Edition 2012-2013!

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I admit that I’m always bugged by the question at least two times a day (lunch and dinner. Breakfast doesn’t count cos that can be solved very easily with… nasi lemak and curry puffs, hehe). When I saw the book the other day, I had a strong urge to buy it and wah-lah, what a surprise! Whole book of vouchers to use until March 2013. Since I am so busy with my classes recently, sometimes I just couldn’t be bother where or what to eat and that’s when the book comes in handy; it helped me to decide.

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Here’s a sneak peek of the vouchers from Kim Gary. For RM29.90, I think the book is very worth it. Other than just using the vouchers for your daily meal or weekend gatherings, you could also utilise them for family or friend’s birthday dinner. You could get vouchers for Japanese, Chinese, Korean, fusion, bar/pub, desserts, cafes and snacks… Ochado, Share Tea, Shogun, Mochi Sweets, Mr. Siew Bao, Delectables by Su, Gloria Jean’s Coffee, Ko Hyang are some the participant merchants, among others.

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And to counter the pounds you might gain from the eating spree, the kind people at Bizzy Body, Masculine and True Fitness are giving out vouchers and free trial pass too. So, what are you waiting for? Worthy Book (TM) F&B Special Edition 2012-2013 is available at all major bookstores (MPH, Popular, Times, Borders, Kinokuniya) and selected myNEWS.com outlets in Klang Valley.

Facebook fan page: http://www.facebook.com/worthybook
Web: http://www.worthybook.my

Itadakimasu!