606 Trounce Alley
Hours: Weds to Sun 11:30am to 9pm.
Phone: (778) 265-2227
ES: Park’s Kitchen reinvented itself many years ago. The last time I’ve been there, this restaurant was a Japanese only restaurant but these days (even prior to the pandemic), they expanded their menu to include Korean, and I think that’s a good thing! The only downside is that their Japanese selection isn’t as varied anymore.
I’ve been meaning to return here, but every time I walk through Trounce Alley, it’s en route to Quazar’s Arcade to play video games rather than for a bite. I’ve often been tempted in because of the daily specials, but alas, I’m meeting up with other pals. After hanging out with Don at the said place and challenging each other to Street Fighter and other intensive battle games, we worked up an appetite!
DK: Let’s see now–I’ve got a notepad open, a photo of Park’s lunch special for inspiration, a refreshing glass of ice water–all the elements required to knock off another barn-burning blokepost.
2950 Douglas St Unit 222
Hours: Tues to Sun 11:30am to 8:30pm
Phone: (778) 922-2950
Sugoi! Victoria ni atarashī totemo oishii rāmen-ya ga arimasu yo. As for whether that’s grammatically correct, I think I got my statement right and insert a pun for good measure.
Ramen Arashi is a diner that opened over the holidays. I’ve been keeping tabs on when they’d open since they’ve been making noise mid last year on the social media front. They’re not competing in the busy downtown area, and I think they’re likely to carve a niche in Burnside. They’re located a few blocks south of Mayfair Mall and I’d visit this operation in a heartbeat. Their bone broth has a nice additional peppercorn flavour.
1609 Store St
Hours: Weds to Sat 11:30am – 10pm
Phone: (250) 590-9821
DK: We were primed from the minute we sat down. This was not just any ramen joint. Not just any noodles. No, this ramen was the result of worldwide wanderlusting and the serendipitous discovery of handmade noodles in a small island city. I haven’t a clue what sort of noodles other ramen joints in town use, but the story we heard at tableside certainly made Ghost Ramen sound unique.
The noodle recipe comes from former engineer, accountant and filmmaker turned restaurateur Greg Masuda. He operates a shop in Courtenay and noodles are shipped from there to Victoria. After trying ramen all over the world, Ghost Ramen co-owner Jason Chan says Greg’s noodles are some of the best he’s ever had. So, like I said, Ed and I were primed to feel like we were about to eat something special.
Plays with the Feature Film, Come Back Anytime
Date: Sunday, October 24, 2021
Time: 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Price: $15 – Buy Now
Long time readers of this blog will know that I love sushi. After watching Tanagokoro: A Culinary Portrait, I don’t think I can look at many local Japanese restaurants the same ever again. The practice of Ikejime is not everywhere and this short documentary really extols the virtue of what it means to be an ethical chef. That is, to harvest the food in a way that won’t stress the product so that you’ll get the best flavour hitting those taste buds. In this work’s case, it’s all about how to best catch that fish, keep it alive and slaughter it before hitting the dinner table.
Victoria Fistes and Masashi Nozaki are both the directors and producers of this work. They produced an excellent look at the man who’s trying to revolutionize an industry, one country at a time. Victoria is a filmmaker who has worked on commercials, short films and documentaries. She’s best known for “Being Ernest,” which shares the experiences of a young blind boy. More recently, she has worked as an Assistant Producer on the documentary “Misha and The Wolves“ and as a Production Assistant on “The Reason I Jump” which won the Sundance Audience Award in 2020.
Masashi has an immense passion for culturally connecting Japan and the world. He is a producer/director who provides consultation to national companies and collaborates locally on projects with creators.
I had a chance to correspond with the team about this work:
585 Johnson St
Hours: Tues-Sun 11:00 am to 6:00 pm
Phone: (778) 432-0664
Yes, I make no bones about it, I love rice balls. A long time ago, a Chinese-style variant included a deep-fried type where the gooey cheese interior made for all the difference. This was before I discovered Onigiri, a healthier Japanese snacking version to which I’ve never looked back in my switch.
Oni-Oni is a satellite operation of Sakura Sushi and is a place I’ll definitely return to when I need my sweet rice vinegar fix! They have fifteen flavours of onigiri to choose from! Not all of them are always available, but if you call ahead, it’s possible to get what you want made to order. Eating one is not enough, and for a hearty individual like me, I can eat up to four of them in one go. These bites are like snacks, and aren’t the huge ones people sometimes see in anime. They’re about the same size as the ones bought at Fujiya’s on Shelbourne. Plus, this store has Okashi and Nomimono too!
Kizuki Ramen & Izakaya
320 E Pine St.
Hours: Mon to Sun 11 am to 9:30 pm
Phone: (425) 553-0867
I rarely review franchise operations, but when I was exploring the various diners east of the Washington State Conference Center, the choices are not limited when I was there pre-pandemic! I’m hoping this place survived as ramen shops are the type of operations that would close down during these times. Most traditional shops tightly pack diners in tight and I imagine to keep operating, the space of a chair and half is mandated to keep everyone safe.
When people are allowed to freely travel again, I’ll be there for you, Kizuki! Yes, I’m thinking of a certain TV theme song here, because I recall the camaraderie between the regulars and chefs when I was there last.
I’d be sad if they’re gone, because it’s rare to find an operation I’m definitely in love with. I have yet to find a match with the ramen shops here in Victoria, BC. Kizuki’s food is still prepared the same way as it is in Japan–they have a unique method of roasting bones before boiling. Similar to the French style of making consomme, they were the first in the Japanese ramen industry to employ this method. The result is a rich, flavourful broth that is fragrant and full of depth. They are devoted to replicating the incredible flavour of traditional Japanese ramen. Every operation gets the bulk of their ingredients from this country.