Foo Ramen Bar
762 Broughton St.
J: When it comes to ramen I’m obsessed. I can eat ramen anytime of the day. When Foo decided to open up a ramen shop, I was excited. It is the next step in their evolution and I wanted to be a part of it. Yet it took me over a year to finally bring myself to their door. There are very few places that serve ramen in the greater Victoria area, Zin Sushi and Noodle, Sushi Plus and Kuma Noodle off the top of my head. And of those only Kuma is the place I return to over and over again. For this review Ed and I were in need for a quick refueling before we were to see comedy legend Billy Connolly grace the stage for what may be the final time.
E: After one Vancouver trip a few years ago, I wonder if I can find anyplace in town that can match the exoticness of the black sesame ramen bowl I had at Ramen Jinya. I’m still looking. For your basic fare using the traditional flavours, Foo does an interesting way to keep the crispy pork crunchy when put in a bowl of miso flavoured soup (it’s overfried). That’s what stood out for me as James and I had the same dish. Well, I had a Godzilla sized appetite and I finished my dish off faster than the monster can destroy Tokyo in search for his next meal. I craved more noodles, and for its price ($13), I thought I should expect more. Maybe I got the short end of that as I noticed James had more in his bowl. He even played with his meal like a bear hunting for that choice fish in a river.
J: I wasn’t smitten with Foo. Maybe it was because I couldn’t get relaxed within the confines of the restaurant’s walls or perhaps their miso-pork ramen was not to my liking. Whatever it was the presentation was nice but it still can’t beat what’s offered in Vancouver. As for the taste, one slurp of the broth and all I was getting was the taste of pork grease in my mouth. There was too much of it floating on the broth and I think it may have had something to do with the low grade of the pork belly. I like a nice balance of pork and fat but this is was mostly the latter which sent my soaring stomach into a tailspin.
E: I suspect that’s because we didn’t get the choice cuts. When you’re buying this delight in Chinatown, you want it from the center, not the hind. Admittedly, I’m addicted to pork rinds and I can get better at Roast at the Victoria Public Market, but I will stand by the fact that if you have too much meat in a wet dish, it will get soggy. I did question the slice of nori at the side. It was tired, like it had not been roasted at all. I’d be offering that as a side dish to sprinkle on top before it can get wet than as a decoration.
J: Perhaps the nori was there as a way to wrap some of the food in. The nori was so big it was distracting. Other than the vegetables and the cooked half egg (which was absolutely delicious), there wasn’t anything more to praise about this dish. I’m willing to try their other ramen options but thus far it’s not a great start. For now I’m going to say Kuma is still my favourite on this island.
E: Come to Gordon Head, James. There’s a few places that we still have to investigate in my neck of the woods. That’s unless we head back to Vancouver ….
3 Blokes out of 5