SHAH ALAM, Nov 20 — We know of tonkotsu, shoyu or shio ramen, but how about Yokohama iekei ramen?
I came across this type of ramen served at Ichikakuya Ramen from a friend's recommendation. What I really liked about this version was how much more palatable it was for me since I don't like heavy-tasting ramens that makes me thirsty afterwards.
Another plus point was I could customise my bowl of ramen.
So what's Yokohama iekei ramen? Originating from Yokohama, the broth is a marriage between tonkotsu or pork bones broth with shoyu or soy sauce broth.
In Japanese, iekei means home style. Another difference lies in the noodles. It has a thicker texture compared to that in other ramen places. Even the toppings are different as it is served with spinach and a seasoned hard boiled quail's egg.
At Ichikakuya Ramen which is a chain restaurant from Japan, you can customise your ramen preferences.
Choices include the texture of the noodles, whether you prefer a stronger-tasting broth and how much chicken oil used with your ramen.
My personal preference is a lighter broth paired with hard noodles and less oil to reduce the greasy aftertaste.
The takeaway ramen is divided into three parts. First, they pack the broth separately and place it in a container to avoid any spillage. You have the nori or seaweed sheets wrapped in a plastic bag to keep them crispy. Lastly, the noodles are placed in a container with the toppings. All you need to do is heat up the broth and pour it into the container with the seaweed sheets to enjoy the meal.
The menu has the iekei ramen, with a choice of red (spicy), salt or soy sauce base. Sometimes, they do specials where you can order the miso iekei version. The max versions give you three pieces of their tender charshu. If you prefer, there is also abura soba and mazesoba including a vegetarian version. There are also rice bowl choices, fried chicken and gyoza as side dishes.
Their red iekei ramen is good for those who don't like to burn their tongues since it has a slight hint of spiciness. I enjoyed the shoyu base of the iekei ramen as it felt lighter than at other places and it was still creamy.
Slurp it down with the medium thick noodles and pair it with the thin slices of charshu and the delicious seasoned hard boiled egg. My only gripe would be that they seem to give a small portion of the broth only.
I also ordered their stameshi rice bowl (RM18) and this was an unexpected win. You get thin slices of pork belly topping rice that has a nice, slight sweetish taste. It's a combination you can't stop eating with that addictive sauce. For extra protein, they give you a half portion of hard boiled egg since stameshi means stamina in Japanese.
Other side dishes I sampled were the gyoza (five pieces for RM12) and the fried chicken (five pieces for RM12). The gyoza was well prepared with a juicy filling. I also enjoyed the juicy, well-marinated deboned pieces of the fried chicken even though it wasn't crispy.
There's always something new or off menu specials offered so stalk their social media pages. The latest item introduced will please keto diet followers as they now offer a keto version of their iekei ramen with vegetables.
Ichikakuya Ramen, Unit 1-3A, First Floor, Tower 3, The Podium, UOA Business Park (facing Federal Highway and opposite Subang Jaya), 1 Jalan Pengaturcara U1/51A, Kawasan Perindustrian Temasya, Shah Alam. Open: 11am to 9pm (Monday to Saturday). Closed on Sunday. You can order via Grab, Foodpanda or Beepit at https://foodgardeninternational.beepit.com/ Facebook: @IchikakuyaMalaysia Instagram: @ichikakuya.ramen