Given all the ramen popping up in spaces all over the globe, it’s quite unfair to call one ramen or ramen shop as the best. Each ramen shop has their own specialty. You just can’t compare a tonkotsu ramen to a shoyu ramen. Nor can you demand an answer on who makes the best tonkotsu ramen — Ichiran or Ippudo? Each bowl has their own character and I think each bowl merits a bit of our love and attention. That said, there are few exceptional bowls that have taken my heart. If I can take a bowl to a dance, then it will be this bowl — my oshiawase (happiness) ramen — Sisen Ramen’s Charsiu Tantanmen in Umeda’s Gourmet Museum.
When my friends and I were planning their holiday in my ‘hood, my friend N bluntly said, “I WANT MEAT.” N was on a long holiday with her relatives in Melbourne who have embraced this continent’s healthy eating lifestyle. While that is not a bad thing, I do understand how our inner food binger just wants to live a carnivore life. Hence, I suggested, “gaiz, let’s try this restaurant.” I attached a link to a No Reservations episode where Anthony Bourdain was eating some beautiful meat with Matt Moran in Surry Hills’ Porteno.
The thing about ramen shops near Sydney’s CBD is that most of them are tonkotsu ramen shops. Not that I don’t love tonkotsu but I know there are other ramen broths out there. There are days when tonkotsu broths just doesn’t work for me and I yearn for a light broth soup that’ll freshen my palate. Thankfully, Sokyo’s nice enough to offer me one of my faves from Japan, shio ramen.
I’ve always dreamt of ekiben journeys ever since I read it in Sakurai Kan and Hayase Jun’s Ekiben Hitoritabi, a manga about a guy’s journey around Japan one ekiben at a time. Ekiben’s a portmanteau for eki (station) and bentou (boxed lunch) and some stations in Japan would have special ekiben featuring either the specialty of that city or region. Specialties can range from culinary techniques to ingredients available to that region.
Now, I won’t bore you with the intricacies of Ekiben. There’s a Beginning Japanology episode for that. So go watch it and perhaps get on board with me as I share my first ekiben experience.
Alright. Alright. You’ve outgrown the ‘men’ pun. But I’ll be honest in saying that I do love ‘men’, the noodle kind. Tsukemenya Yasubee in particular came at such a perfect time in my life. I was out and about with my friend N in Akihabara and at this point I was exhausted from doujinshi shopping. My rule of thumb when I travel is to find a nice place that looks suspiciously good. Tsukemenya Yasubee was definitely suspiciously good.
While I was on my way to some awesome yaoi and yuri tiems at Room801, I passed by Hyde Park from the station and lo and behold they had another pop-up foodie event. I’ve been fortunate, no, VERY fortunate that the times I go to Sydney I always cross some big food event at Hyde Park. Last time, it was the Night Noodle market. This time, it’s the Sydney Cellar Door, a food and wine festival.
I know that Australia’s a big wine country so I wasn’t exactly surprised to see such an event like this. There were over 50 stalls offering grub and wine. The best part is the wine is free for tasting! *A*) All the awesome wines~!
One day, I was invited to view a theatre short all the way to Penrith. I thought it was a perfect excuse to go around the city. Not that Sydney and Penrith are entirely close (Penrith is close to the mountains), but it was a good stop over before heading up.
Fortunately, that weekend, Sydney seemed to have something up its sleeve. The annual Sydney Night Noodle Market was up and how could I not resist eating some of the best Asian hawker-style grub around New South Wales, right? So I went up to Hyde Park and gave it a go.