Ramen in Melbourne versus Japan – Fukuryu, Shizuku, Ajisen, Kokoro versus Ippudo and Ichiran 1


Ah… I have had ramen cravings.  Since coming back from Tokyo I’ve avoided having Japanese food for fear of disappointment. And who could blame me after all that ramen in Tokyo…  I think overall my mum and I liked Ippudo more because it has better seating.  Ichiran has a system where you order via ticket machine first, give it to a staff member, sit at a booth and then wait for your ramen.  Great ramen but not so good if you went to eat with someone – you sit next to each other with a wall in between!

 

Ippudo shiomaru ramen

Ichiran ramen

We didn’t realise each bowl comes with toppings so we ordered some extras:)

With all this cold weather and how popular Fukuryu ramen has been, I finally ventured to try it out – and finally I have time to write about Shizuku, Ajisen and Kokoro Ramen too!

Fukuryu Ramen

We went on a Sunday night – other popular venues such as the Little Ramen Bar aren’t open on Sunday.  Luckily there wasn’t much of a queue and the ordering was rather quick.  The place seems rather popular amongst a relatively young crowd and they have signs everywhere to instagram for a free green tea soft serve.  Why not. I chose the shio ramen but found the soup a bit too clear.  They say it’s their lightest soup and it is rather…light. Probably a bit too much.  Very generous amounts of topping compared to Tokyo though with large pieces of charsiu and even wonton.  The wonton wasn’t quite as nice as other places…

We also tried their chicken tonkotsu ramen – their chickn breast pieces were succulent and the soup base was much more towards my liking. The large version of tam tam ramen is absolutely huge.  Char siu pieces, mince, two egg halves and more ramen. The gyoza wasn’t bad.  We thought we were ordering pan fried ones but it turns out those labelled “fried” are deep fried. The biggest flaw in all the ramen we tried here was that whilst it was served quickly (our meals arrived within five minutes!), all the soup bases were only lukewarm.  What happened to piping hot ramen on a cold winter’s day. So whilst it’s great there’s so much buzz about Fukuryu ramen, I didn’t find it that much better than the other places around Melbourne.  I’m not sure what all the fuss is about.  That and I wish they had options for additional toppings – everyone has a favourite no doubt.  In my case, corn and black fungus that I’d gladly pay extra for.

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Fukuryu Ramen

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Fukuryu Ramen -37.811015, 144.968333

Fukuryu Ramen on Urbanspoon

Shizuku Ramen

We tried Shizuku a while back – it was alright.  They boast an impressive range of items and surprisingly it was easy to get a table at short notice.

It’s a pity I didn’t try their ramen but here’s a photo of it! We tried a few starters such as their tuna tartare which is a great sharing dish and rather simple in concept. The octopus balls were a lot fancier than what you’d expect for a rendition of what is essentially street food.  It’s a nice pairing though the crisp cracker and the octopus ball. We also had their lotus salad – wasn’t very impressive I’m afraid.  Heavily dressed but huge in portion at least. No complaints about the grilled eel – always nice to have with hot rice. Their roast belly log steak is something not to miss.  Sticky, sweet sauce covering succulent pork belly. Beautiful. We tried their grilled kingfish too but I can think of a few places that do this better (Shiranui perhaps?) Their gyoza selection was good to share but makes me realise I really like the classics.  Gyoza with BBQ sauce or mayo just don’t taste as nice as good pan fried or boiled dumplings. So Shizuku was pretty good from this experience.  I’d stay away from the salad and my friend said the ramen wasn’t bad – it might be a little on the pricey side starting at $15 but if you’re on the adventurous side you can order their ramen burger! Noodle buns enclosing candied pork belly can’t go too badly.

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Shizuku Ramen

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Shizuku Ramen -37.809902, 144.995087

Shizuku Ramen on Urbanspoon

 

Ajisen Ramen

After reading a few blog posts about Fukuryu, comparisons with Ajisen seemed to mention overcooked eggs.  I have tried Ajisen at Box Hill recently and didn’t find this to be the case at all.  In fact I was rather content with the corn ramen I had.  The charsiu isn’t as nice as other places though but there aren’t that many places that serve ramen out in Box Hill so can’t be too picky – at least the egg was runny.

Ajisen Ramen Box Hill on Urbanspoon

Kokoro Ramen

Kokoro Ramen has been my go to place for a few years.  Even after trying out all the places above, I don’t think I’ll change actually.  I like their tonkotsu shio ramen and they have the option of added corn.

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Kokoro Ramen

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Kokoro Ramen -37.810803, 144.967813
Kokoro Ramen on Urbanspoon  

 

So with all these places, I don’t think there’s a place that really compares ramen wise to that in Japan….It’s getting there though! Good sushi on the other hand is found with Shiranui and Komeyui and more! Let’s be thankful of that. And not compare to that at Tsukiji Market – miss the lines and go to Yamazaki near Sushi Dai:)  


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