How was your black Friday weekend? I avoided the crowds at Ala Moana Center like the plague, until the rainy weather yesterday finally got to me, so I headed there for the last day “swan song” appearance of Menya Shokudo Ramen.
This being in Shirokiya’s always awesome Yataimura Food Court on Ala Moana Center’s third level. THIRD LEVEL. As you know, Yataimura brings in a new vendor from Japan every month, and this past November it was Menya Shokudo Ramen from the Kanagawa prefecture.
Without further ado, let’s check out Menya Shokudo’s ramen photo menu (Dean-San’s fave!).
The chef’s recommended Shoyu Ajitama Ramen sounds good, so that’s what I chose.
Before we sit down and try that, here’s Menyu Shokudo’s Spicy Ramen, hot off the press.
See here, they have a “legit” ramen spoon. Take note of that.
Yet another Spicy Ramen bowl…
I honestly don’t get why you folks like spicy ramen. With my only presumption being you feel think there’s added “kick” from that addition. Personally, I think it’s just wrong. Kinda like putting Tobasco® Sauce on spaghetti or pizza. But whatever. Hey, knock yourselves out!
A whole bunch of chashu.
Speaking of which, since it was their final day, they were trying to sell everything, including the toppings ala carte. Just add Sun Noodle Nama Ramen, and you’d be set!
And here’s my Kanagawa style Shoyu Ajitama Ramen, hot off the press.
They didn’t cut the Ajitama egg in half, like how its depicted on the menu, but that’s OK, as long as it’s done properly.
I take a moment and reflect, breathing in the aroma of the hot, fragrant ramen broth. Do I still believe in Santa Claus? How about Christmas? Yeah, I suppose so. After I eat, should I go downstairs to the mall level and window shop? Nah, that’s not a good idea. Why God, why?!
Now remember that “legit” ramen spoon shown earlier? Well then they give me this.
WTH?! Common’ guys, you serve the ramen in a heavy-duty ceramic bowl, then take away all that glory by providing a flimsy disposable plastic spoon? Auwe! That’s like giving someone a beautiful dress as christmas gift placed in a wrinkled and used plastic disposable grocery bag. lol
Well let’s hope the broth makes up for that.
And? The broth is certainly complex and deep, while being VERY “porky”, where you can tell they simmered them bones somethin’ fierce for what seemed like must have been WEEKS, not just days. I mean, it’s very DEEP and rich tasting. I think a bit too much, and also bit on the salty side, tasting like they added a few too many extra dashes of shoyu in the pot. Well that’s just me, as my tolerance for salt has been much more sensitive lately. While this was their Shoyu Ramen, it also tasted like it had some cross-hybrid flavors from their spicy ramen, as there was a noticeable “zest” about it, if you will. Which you can kinda’ see speckles of “something” floating on it. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a good Shoyu Ramen broth, but a little over the top in my opinion.
Sugi wa, let’s hit the noodles.
Great texture, being on the firm side of “al denteness”, however they didn’t quite have that “eggy” flavor profile from the Kansui that I look for in authentic Japanese Ramen. In fact, they almost came across tasting like Italian Pasta. Well OK, not THAT off, but you get my drift.
Let’s sample the menma (marinated bamboo shoots).
Dang, this is the most intensely marinated menma I’ve tasted yet. I think a bit too much, considering how intense and salty the broth already is. I mean, it’s delicious in and of itself, but with the shoyu ramen broth in this particular bowl, just a bit harsh on the tongue when combined. Oishii though! If they sold their menma in jars or vacuum packs, I’d buy some!
Next up, the Ajitama, which is a flavored egg, slow-simmered in shoyu, dashi, sake (sometimes) and other aromatics.
Oishii! The yolk was cooked done more than I prefer, yet thankfully it still had some “gooeyness” to it in the center.
Finally, let’s sample the chashu.
Kinda stringy and dry, yet the flavor profile is on point. It needs more fat though. Way too lean. At least the ones I got. I’m going to assume because I got there on the last day of their appearance at Shirokiya, this was leftover chashu from previous days batches, not fresh-made.
So what’s my overall opinion of Menya Shokudo’s Shoyu Ajitama Ramen?
Wait, let me try that broth one more time after everything else has been eaten.
I’m gonna’ have to minus half a SPAM Musubi for the plastic spoon. Sorry, there’s just no excuse for that. Otherwise, overall for the sum of its parts, I give Menya Shokudo’s Shoyu Ajitama Ramen 2 SPAM Musubi. The broth, menma and chashu were certainly tasty, albeit the chashu being a bit on the dry side and overall a bit salty, yet that’s better than bland I suppose. The noodles were cooked just right, while the Ajitama was particularly excellent. My score also reflects a deduction on the green onion garnish, which I feel TRUE authentic Japenese Ramen should only use the white parts of the larger Japanese Negi, slivered super thin. Not green onion chopped course how it’s done here.
Hey, 2 SPAM Musubi is considered “Good”, and I definitely left with a content tummy, “polishing” the bowl clean.
Looking forward to what Japanese specialty eatery Shirokiya’s Yataimura Food Court has in store for December!
P.S. Shirokiya’s Yataimura Food Court & Beer Garden was pretty packed on rainy Black Friday Sunday (is that how say that?)…
If you haven’t been to Yataimura lately, they’ve recently added a dedicated beer tap counter to serve the many thirsty patrons who take advantage of their happy hour beer specials…