Lucky me, the Cinematheque was showing Tampopo which I’d never managed to see. And that seemed a good an excuse as any to go have a bowl of ramen afterwards.
Those who’ve seen it, I hope, need no persuading of its rambling, extremely shaggy charm, and can certainly testify that it DEFINITELY makes one hungry. I’d been pointed to the ‘ramen district’ at the Robsonand Denham instersection. A quick google search will pull up 4 or 5 (or maybe more) dedicated ramen joints, including one that specializes in tsukemen. That will have to wait for another time. On skimming yelp and some random reddit advice, I gave Masutama Ramen a try. Their website makes clear they make THEIR ramen. Their broth. Their noodles. Their egg. Their chasu. That’s it. Very in keeping with Tampopo’s noodle slinging zen master ramen purists.
The broth is a 100% chicken broth that is rich and creamy and very comforting on cold rainy nights, but isn’t heavy like some tontaktsu can get. Not overly salty, just rich enough. Nothing is over done. Look:
How lovely is that? green onion and a soft, almost ghostly seaweed add a nice green-ness to the flavor, again, enough to politely make their presence known, and no more. They wouldn’t dream of it.
And check out this egg. They made a point of it on their menu. Their eggs. This matters to them.
The noodles, which I neglectfully did not take a picture of, in that I was too busy slruping them up, are thin and curly, all the better to catch the little strands of seaweed and green onion. I could wax poetic about the noodles snaking down like tendrils of jellyfish pulling at the kelp blah blah oh god stop me.
The chasu was sliced quite thin. It’s not the big charred pig sort of thing one will find at a Tsujita. It’s… well, you can say subtle, or you could say ‘fine’ depending on your mood. It’s not the star. It’s not supposed to be.
Suffice it to say, this is a very VERY good bowl of ramen. Marutama is part of a Japanese chain, and seem to have staked a claim on THIS bowl of ramen. Apparently, it’s paid off, because I was happy to find out that they are opening a second location just 1.5 blocks from my office, which currently houses an always-mobbed Jinya Ramen. Jinya is moving another block or so down to a bigger space, and Marutama will be moving in to their space. Corportate synergy? I dunno, but it makes me very happy.
And, in the spirit of Tampopo, you’re darn right I finished every drop…