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!

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Christmas Sweet Treats @ Butter Tree

For my entire 29 years of life, I have not thrown Christmas party once. But this year, I’m hosting one and yes, I’m decorating my first Christmas tree as well! I’m actually very excited about it; just think about food, decorations, ambiance, laughter of friends at the dining table….

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Oh, by the way, if you haven’t plan what to get for our Christmas dinner (especially dessert), may I pique your interest on Butter Tree?

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Butter Tree (Ara Damansara and Happy Mansion) are the new additions to the group who also manage Food Foundry and Huckleberry Cafe. While Food Foundry focus on casual dining and Huckleberry on cafe-style, Butter Tree gears more towards bakery and pastries. Their Happy Mansion outlet is located at the same spot where 6 2 10 Nasi Lemak and Grill used to be.

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So, back to their Christmas goodie offerings. For this festive season, all Butter Tree, Huckleberry and Food Foundry outlets are preparing a variety of sweet treats starting from 1st December 2011 until 1st January 2012 (one whole month) and they are ONLY available for pre-orders (one week in advance would be ideal). There would be Christmas-themed cookies, such as (from picture above, top to bottom) The Nutcracker (chocolate, banana and walnut cookie), Carabells (cookie with crushed salted cashew nuts and drizzled with caramel) and Gingerbread Mans Land (honey gingerbread cookies. Cookies will be sold as a ‘scenery’ with buildings, angels, snowflakes, crescent moon etc.)

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These might not look pretty but they taste pretty good. These pistachio cookie with chocolate ganache filling, dipped in a smooth layer of dark chocolate are known as Dark Prince. Sweet outer casing with a chewy texture – definitely something good to keep a kid’s mouth busy on the dining table!

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If cake is in your menu, you might want to get this on your dining table, the Jack Frost. Chocolate-hazelnut cream encased by buttery, vanilla sponge, then topped with roasted almond flakes and creamy frosting – this baby has our highest vote for the day! The vanilla sponge was moist and fluffy, paired together perfectly with the heavenly hazelnut-milk chocolate cream filling. The freshly roasted almond flakes lend a crispy texture to the cake.

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Last but not least, we have Sugar Fairies, which are soft vanilla cookies with raspberry-white chocolate cream filling. The cookie took us by surprise as it crumbles very quickly as soon as we got it onto our hands. The raspberry filling has a nice tangy-sweet combination of flavour but we found that it was slightly too sweet to our liking. We gave our feedback on this, and hopefully, they will look into the matter immediately.

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All the above items are ONLY available for pre-order, where it would be best to pre-order one week in advance to avoid disappointment. For pricing, kindly refer to their FB page HERE. You could pick your orders from any of the outlets listed below:

  • Food Foundry, Seksyen 17
  • Butter Tree, Seksyen 17 (Happy Mansion)
  • Butter Tree, Ara Damansara
  • Huckleberry Cafe, Bangsar Shopping Centre
  • Huckleberry Cafe, Pavilion KL

Check out what My Story and Eat Only Lar has to say.

Butter Tree
BG-1, Happy Mansion,
Jalan 17/13,
Seksyen 17,
46400 Petaling Jaya,
Selangor.

Tel: 03-7831 2237 (Ara Damansara’s outlet)

Oh My Pork! @ J Thean Kitchen

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OMG, I was actually drooling while editing the picture above! Heard of this place from WMW about their delicious pork dishes. Best of all, it is located just a few stones throw away from my house, convenient enough to drop by for lunch on weekend or dinner.

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Still relatively new, J Thean Kitchen was a kinda quiet that evening. The overall place is painted in white (including furniture) with some Chinese influence thrown in here and there. Easy to read menu, friendly waitresses, al fresco seating for those who smokes. Oh by the way, that J-Porky Bun (RM 16.90, picture above) came in a longish shape, served together with potato wedges and fried mantou bun instead of the usual burger bun. If there were two things to compliment about this bun, it would be a) the pork patty and b) the fried mantou bun. The patty was juicy, thick enough to satiate a pork-lover’s appetite and well-seasoned. The fried mantou bun further elevate the experience with its crispy exterior. Each bite sent my mouth and brain into “food orgasm”, no kidding!

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Their fusion bak kut teh (RM 10.90) tasted just right to me, however I did not try the belly meat as they were too fatty to my liking (you can choose the cuts of meat you like, in this case, CK loves his meat fat). Having tasted so much different types of bak kut teh recently, I personally feel that J Thean’s version is slightly less greasy.

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For dessert, try the Melaka Rainbow – chilled gula melaka with coconut milk, chewy red jelly bits and sago. The mango pudding was okay too, although the colour made it looked kinda artificial, the texture is similar to a caramel custard with mango bits in it.

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SS2 Mall is still been pretty quiet nowadays even when after Celebrity Fitness Express opened its doors. Let’s hope that J Thean Kitchen would stay on and there would be increase traffic to the place soon. In the mean time, if you’re a pork-lover, you could help out as well – just drop by J Thean! (if you haven’t do so)

J Thean Kitchen
Lot G-58, Ground Floor,
SStwo Mall,
40, Jalan SS2/72,
47300 Petaling Jaya.

*Also available – FatBoyBakes and PureGlutton’s thoughts on this place.