Clucking In with Masutama Ramen

Marutama Ramen
270 Robson St,
Vancouver, BC V6B 0E7

Phone: (604) 687-0487
Hours: 11:30am–10pm

Like McDonald’s, ramen shops are popping up nearly everywhere, no matter how big the town is. I saw more had sprung up in the downtown core of Vancouver when I was here last. Yes, I admit this blog has become a noodle haven lately, and I go where my stomach tells me to visit. A change will happen soon, I promise!

On the path to Rogers Arena, there were at three places I could hit. Masutama Ramen opened a year and a half ago and is making waves. They offer a chicken-based broth over the usual pork. The taste takes getting used to and when roasted onions are added on top, the blend made sipping the broth a joy. On its own, it’s very rich and really needed toning down.

The noodles were savoury enough and portioned on the low side, which made me realize I should have ordered a double to fill me up. Yes, I have to live up to “Too Hungry” somehow, and on a cold winter evening, it was needed! I’d rather not pay the inflated prices for food or liquid products within the concert venue.

Doubling up on the succulent cha-shu was on the nose. Its smoky flavour was only enhanced by the broth. The egg was well prepared and was perhaps soaked in soy beforehand to give it the brown outer skin. Unlike traditional seaweed, this operation uses sea lettuce, which made for a different ramen eating experience.

Their dumplings are not quite on par with The Gyoza Bar. They were crispy enough to satisfy, and again, I needed two orders than one to sate the craving within me. Patrons usually do not linger in a ramen bar for long. They want a nice hot meal and be out as soon as possible. During lunch-time, I imagine this place has a high turnover. On the later parts of the days, it’s possible to linger around and wait for friends to show up. I was meeting Ira Hunter of Absolute Underground Magazine, and by the time he arrived, I had finished.

My advice: when dining with friends, make sure you all show up at the same time. These bowls are served quick. By the time others show up, you may be done and be craving for more.

3½ Blokes out of 5

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Making a Beat to Miku Vancouver

nullMiku Vancouver
200 Granville St #70
Hours: 11:30am – 10pm
Phone: (604) 568-3900

Around the Vancouver Convention Center are plenty of eateries. They range from the cheap with Subway to expensive with Miku. This Japanese restaurant is certainly worth the price, and when I was in town for Fan Expo Vancouver, I can finally answer the question of where to go if money is no object. Normally I don’t fall into this trap of hitting those operations in this area. But with Star Wars in my head and a pang of hunger the size of the moon … those lights staring across the street from me from where I stayed had drawn me in like a mosquito to a flame.

Miku has an excellent location to watch the sunset fall and to nibble on the best sushi in Vancouver! The servers are very friendly and were easy to talk to. I asked where they get most of their fish. Unlike Fudo back home, they don’t import as far and wide. They do source from Japan, but the uni I had was British Columbia than from California. I was told by a patron next to me that some of the best are near Santa Monica. We agreed that this place is one of the very best.

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[Vancouver, BC] Not So Wanton for Neptune Wonton Noodle

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Neptune Wonton Noodle
4405 Central Blvd,
Burnaby, BC

Hours: 10am–1am
Phone: (778) 379-0639

There is more to the Neptune franchise name than just their Seafood Restaurants in downtown Vancouver and Coquitlam (to name a few). Yes, I’ve been visiting Vancouver quite a bit, and it’s tough for me to not say a thing about many an established chain on the mainland.

For regular Asian customers, it’s a place to hit (especially in Burnaby) and the staff treats them more kindly than Caucasians. I’m sorry, but this detail was particularly jarring when I suggested to my friend that we check this place out. We were in the area for a book signing at Chapters. Instead of a bite in Metropolis in Metrotown (Burnaby, BC), we opted for an establishment close to our hotel. While behaviours from the older generation never change in regards to other cultures wanting to come in to explore ethnic tastes, I question whether they should be working in the dining / public service sector or not. Continue reading

[Vancouver, BC] Having Gelato Express N2 Style!

IMG_20170702_184624479Gelato Express N2
320 Robson St
Vancouver, BC

Hours: noon to 10pm
Phone: (604) 428-9926

Frozen treats during a cold day is not a good idea. Just how some businesses stay in operation during the slow winter season is a mystery to me. When Spring and Summertime roll in, I can see many have a full staff keeping order. Strangely, there was nobody around at the front desk when I decided to make a stop in, before a concert. I had a meal elsewhere prior, but a sudden craving had me finding this operation on the way towards Rogers Arena.

To watch your gelato made fresh—flash frozen with nitrogen gas—is certainly more of a novelty than an innovation. The flavours will vary from month to month, and I had a vanilla peanut crumble. The extra depth to the creaminess is very nice, and I had mine in a cone than a cup. While this product is certainly on the pricey side, it’s not going to be for every local to rush on down to.

This operation is located close to BC Place. For visitors to the city who want to avoid the more expensive arena food, at least there are options outside of this stadium. Just be sure to fill up before entering. No outside food is permitted unless it’s already in your stomach.

3 Blokes out of 5

[Vancouver, BC] Remembering EXP Restaurant + Bar

Image result for exp bar vancouverEXP Restaurant + Bar
309 W Pender St
Vancouver, BC
(604) 558-1337

EXP Restaurant & Bar has been operating since late 2012 and sadly, by the time I visit this place again, it will be closed. I came across this article about the problems of keeping such operations afloat in a tough as nails city core. I can only hope and let readers know that if the Rio Theatre can be saved by Deadpool himself, is there hope for EXP? Sadly, no.

Their latest Facebook post made the news of closing official. I’m posting this article in memoriam and can only hope a future exists in another space. I get the feeling the owners and operators are not going down easy. They may have an alternate plan in the works but do not want to jinx the future.

Reprinted (in part) from otakunoculture.com:

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At Home with Island Poké

Island Poké
1674 Douglas St
Victoria, BC

Hours: 11am to 9pm
Phone: (250) 590-0801

I’m not sure how long it will take to eat all the available salad combinations available at Island Poké. After two visits, I need three more to go. That’s because there are four signature bowls — the Ohana, Island, Salemona and Earth — and the last visit, I craved a build your own crazy combo. Scallops with masago, pineapple, sesame seeds and jalapeno peppers is a crazy combination. I could’ve asked to double up, but didn’t want to set my mouth afire.

When my craving is for seafood burritos, they got a Rock & Roll and CRUNCHii which I have to try out. Each of these have way too many ingredients to list. Instead of naming them all, I will point out the highlights.

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