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.
To find local showings, please visit the official website.
Doc NYC Nov 12th, 2021
Masamoto Ueda is a ramen master in the documentary Come Back Anytime, and this title is perfect to reflect his attitude and love for his regular customer base. He’s the owner/operator of Bizentei, a shop located roughly between Shinjuku, Bunkyo and Chiyoda City (municipalities of Tokyo). It’s not too far off the beaten path, and he gets his regular customers and the occasional newcomer.
Ueda became a legend in the forty years since he’s been in business, and when he’s not tending to the shop, he’s gardening. Everything he offers in the diner is handpicked by him. From pears to bamboo shoots, he’s very particular. And this documentary is an excellent profile. It doesn’t reveal his cooking secrets, but instead shows just how loved he is by the local neighbourhood community. We get to see what he does in his spare time, and this look only rounds out who he is. He’s sometimes a grand father 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.
626 Fisgard St
Hours: Mon to Sat 12–8:30pm
Phone: (250) 590-8688
ES: Ni Bao should be the name instead of Bao for this Chinese/Korean/Japanese fusion restaurant, but how many would get the joke? Unlike a traditional ramen restaurant where they shout, Irasshaimase to every customer, here in Chinatown, not even a traditional Ni Hao (as it should be said) is heard. I can forgive this operation since they offer various kinds of mixed cuisine. I had to finally see what the fuss is about with Bao. I always see them advertising in festival guides and suggested to Don we have to finally check this place out.
DK: “Don’t Cha wish your girlfriend was hot like meee,” yahh, that’s the song in my head. Not sure why. Not really relevant at all to this review. I haven’t even heard the song in like seven years. But you know, sometimes you just have to go where life takes.
Kokoro Tokyo Mazesoba
551 Seymour St
Phone: (604) 559-8872
When Japanese tradition gets nouveau, it’s time to hit the Kokomo! Japanese Chef Takuma Ishikawa invented the mazesoba dish and has expanded the franchise out to Vancouver. I’ve been busy of late with my other preoccupation (fandom/comic conventions) and when hunger strikes, I still pay attention to my foodie desires. This large diner has been the talk of the town since it opened two years ago. When I heard fellow Fan Expo Vancouver attendees talking about where to go for ramen, my ears perked. A hop, skip and jump of about four blocks had me faced with the difficult choice of which one of the three dishes should I have? Should I have ramen, a don or mazesoba?