Ramen-Ya: Hakata Miso Layu Ramen (Amsterdam)

The last thing you expect to find amidst the coffee shops and canals of Amsterdam is a good bowl of Ramen but low and behold there is one in the form of RAMEN-YA. Located just on the outskirts of the Red Light District is brand new Japanese Noodlebar that has only been open for a few months. You walk into the front door and immediately go down a flight of stairs to a well, appointed room filled with a stocked bar and big booths to sit in.

There is a simple menu with four unique Ramen choices: The Hakata, Sesame Chicken, Veggie and The Mount Fuji. I went with The Hakata as it was their house specialty and their version of Tonkotsu (still my favorite). The pork-bone broth is cooked for 10 hours and the bowl comes with Pork Chashu, a half boiled egg, menma, leek and sesame seeds. I also added Miso, a soft-boiled egg, Layu (extreme hot sauce) and corn. This could either be a train wreck or a taste adventure!

The bowl that arrived was monstrously large and piping hot. The broth had a deep, golden coloring which got me salivating and all my toppings were well presented (the layu sauce came on the side so you could add as much or as little as you wanted). While I indeed found the broth rich and worthy of it’s 10-hour simmer, the flavor was disappointingly bland so I did add all of my Layu sauce and a dash of soy to help bring some spark to it. The homemade noodles were extremely tasty and the pork on point in flavor and tenderness. The eggs however, were both non-starters, very little flavor addition to the overall profile.

All in all, this is a solid bowl of ramen and thanks to its size, an absolute gutbuster. I am extremely pleased that Amsterdam has a solid Ramen joint for both locals and tourists to enjoy and I would definitely go back to try one of their other interesting ramens. The staff is extremely friendly, the location & decor pleasing and the ramen more than solid. Good luck to the team at RAMEN-YA, I will be back!

Ramen-Ya

 

  • Dish: The Hakata Ramen
  • Extras: Layu Sauce, Corn, Soft-Boiled Egg
  • Location: Ramen-Ya
  • Address: Oudezijds Voorburgwal 236, 1012 GK Amsterdam
  • Price: €15.05
  • Rating:  rating_3

 

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Momiji: Spicy Miso Ramen w. Sweet Corn

The last thing you expect to find in the local strip mall is decent ramen but that’s exactly what happened to me one Saturday when I had to go to Target. Lo and behold, there lies MOMIJI RAMEN and despite its location, it’s a tasty bowl of goodness.

A few months ago, this was a family run Taqueria but now it’s all black and streamlined, focussed on bowls of noodles and I for one like the change. Momiji offers four types of broth either regular or spicy: Tonkotsu, Miso, Shoyu (soy sauce), Shio (salt) and Soy Milk. Each bowl comes with Chasu, green onions, kikurge-mushroom, bean sprouts and a soft-boiled egg. Additional toppings included the usual suspects like corn, kimchee, butter or bamboo for $1 or more adventurous toppings like Kakuni, Gyoza, Tori or Karaage for $2. I went with the Spicy Miso Ramen and added corn. I opted to have the delicious Karaage as an appetizer.

Within the usual 10 minutes I was presented with a rather large bowl of goodness. All in all, great presentation, vibrant colors, loads of texture and all of it swimming in a rich, red broth. The Veggies were fresh, the egg a winner and the corn added a nice sweetness to the spiciness of the broth. My issues were minimal, the pork while tasty, didn’t seem fresh to me, in fact it felt like yesterday’s pork. The “extra spicy” wasn’t spicy at all and I had to ask for extra chili sauce, finally the noodles, while abundant weren’t outstanding in flavor.  It was a decent bowl of ramen, large in size and with a good but not amazing overall flavor.

I will definitely visit MOMIJI again, the convenience of being a 10 minute drive from my house, the size of the ramen and the friendly staff make this spot worthy of a repeat visit.

Momiji

  • Dish: Spicy Miso Ramen
  • Price: $9.99
  • Extras: Sweet Corn: $1.00
  • Rating: rating_3

Himawari: Miso Butter Corn Ramen

One of my new favorite ramen places, Himawari is located on 2nd Ave. in downtown San Mateo. Having been here a few times before I already knew they make a great bowl of ramen. For this lunch outing last Friday I wanted something a little different since I’ve been doing a lot of the same “spicy” ramen lately. I choose to go with a classic dish from the Hokkaido/Sapporo region, Miso Butter Corn.

After a brief wait (They are always quite quick with your order) my lunch arrived and it looked great right from the start. The toppings all colorful and fresh, with the standard “chunk” of butter slowly melting and adding a rich creamy texture to the broth. Included with the order is a very generous portion of sweet crunchy corn, bamboo, green onions, chashu, and bean sprouts. For an extra I added a seasoned boiled egg to the order.

The broth was good, but a bit on the lighter side for a miso. It had great flavor with a good hint of salt, but the telltale “nutty” tones that accompany a nice heavy miso broth was missing. This isn’t bad a thing, but it was a bit disappointing. I think having the heavier miso base would have made this ramen spectacular. Once the butter was completely melted and worked into the broth it had wonderful creamy almost thick feeling that complemented the corn really well.

The other toppings were fresh and tasted great, however the chashu was a little overcooked and almost dry this time around. This hasn’t been typical of my previous visits, however combined with the lighter miso broth wasn’t as good as the other offerings I have had at Himawari. The seasoned boiled egg was a stand out though as it was perfectly boiled with a custardy yellow center and just the right amount of seasoning. Easily my favorite part of the lunch.

Overall I wouldn’t say it was a bad bowl of ramen by any means. In fact it’s still quite a bit better then a lot of places out there serving the dish. I was more so just a bit disappointed with this one due to the previous experiences being pretty much spot on. I am going to give this one a 3 out of 5 for now, and may try it again to see if either the broth or the chashu improves.

-Matt

  • Dish: Miso Butter Corn Ramen
  • Price: $9.50
  • Extras: Seasoned Egg: $1.00
  • Rating: rating_3

miso_butter_himawari