Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Restaurant Reviews || Sho Bu Ramen, Coquitlam

A while back, David was planning to start a foodie blog, where he/we would photograph and review restaurants we tried. We took photos for a while of new places we went, but neither of us ever ended up using them or writing anything. Which is unfortunate, because that was years ago, and if we had kept it up, we'd have an impressive array of reviews because we have tried tons of new places over the past couple of years.

But, since I'm trying something new here, and not bothering about making this too regular or even promoting it, at least for now, I thought I'd give that another go. I decided this on a whim last night, after we/I decided we should try out a new ramen place.

Let me preface the rest of this review by saying that I had tried ramen before last night, but I had never enjoyed it. I've enjoyed various instant ramens, but fresh, proper ramen.... yeah not for me. I'd tried two places downtown that David had been suggested, but neither one worked for me. David really likes ramen, though, and since it's also just such a thing, I've still wanted to find a ramen that I enjoyed. So for my third adventure with ramen, I picked a place a little closer to home, which had some pretty good reviews on Google Maps and Zomato.

Sho Bu Ramen is in Henderson Place Mall in Coquitlam. An asian mall that has survived a surprisingly long time considering how dead and largely empty it has remained for many of those years. The ramen place is a fairly new edition, though, and is one of the many restaurants that now have storefronts on the outside of the mall, as well as enterances inside.

It's just a little place, done in a fairly average (but still cute) japanese restaurant style. There are very few tables, and it was pretty full when we got there around 6/6:30. All things considered, though, ramen is basically japanese fast food, and the wait wasn't long.

OnigiriWe decided to get a couple of appetisers alongside our ramen, as well. David picked takoyaki, I got an order of onigiri, and we split an order of pork gyoza (a personal favourite we share).

The onigiri I've had in the past were from T&T, were always cold, and were basically triangular rice balls with a little bit of meat or fish in the centre wrapped in a crispy seaweed wrapper. These, however (pictured to the left), were warm, soft balls of slightly sticky rice seasoned with bits of seaweed, sesame seeds, sesame oil, and some kind of lovely salty seasoning. They were not what I expected, but I would definitely order them again!

The gyoza (to the right) came with 5 pieces (I devoured one before I remembered to take a picture). This doesn't make them perfect for sharing between two people, but that is the only thing bad I'll say about them! They were excellent. Tender, lightly pan-fried, neither oily or soggy, and they tasted really really fresh. Again, something I would definitely order again.

I forgot to take a picture of David's takoyaki, but he didn't seem to have any complaints and they disappeared quickly, so I'm guessing they were pretty good, if you're into that kind of thing. Which I am not. (I'm realising now that there is a picture of the takoyaki below, behind my bowl of ramen!)

For ramen, I decided to go outside of the classic pork ramens, which I haven't loved, and got a BBQ Chicken ramen which came with a soy based broth, instead of the classic tonkotsu base I've disliked in the past. David, on the other hand went totally classic, and got the Cha-shu ramen with the tonkotsu base.

The BBQ Chicken Ramen, aside from being pretty to look at, was also delicious! I was actually surprised, at this point, that I could enjoy a ramen, but I am glad, as well. In the past, I've found ramen too salty, too greasy, too mleh (that's a technical word...), etc. But this was lovely. The soy base was lovely, not weirdly creamy like tonkotsu bases seem to be. Instead, it basically tasted like a mild miso soup, which I guess is probably what it is, in essence. Aside from the crispy breaded chicken cutlet with a teriyaki-esque bbq sauce and the obvious ramen noodles, my ramen came with a big pile of sliced white onions, bean sprouts, a half an egg, corn, and green onion. I don't love white onion, but David reminded me the soup was really hot, so I just pushed them down into the broth to cook and soften, and they really didn't bug me, and I didn't feel any need to pick them out. The noodles were tender but also chewy; basically they were perfect. The corn added a nice sweet zing to some bites, and the bean sprouts and green onion flavours just made sense. I'm not sure I needed the egg, but it didn't offend me at all. All in all, I would definitely order this again, but I would also like to try some of their other flavours, now that I've found a place where the ramen doesn't offend me! Maybe I'll get more adventurous!

I didn't get a picture of David's Cha-Shu Ramen, but he said it was pretty standard and he really liked it. I tried a bit of the broth, and it didn't seem as greasy and rich to me as others I had tried, which to me is a compliment, but obviously he had a lot more of his own ramen than I did! The cha-shu ramen contained corn, green onions, bean sprouts, and half an egg (just like the BBQ Chicken), but instead of onions, it had bamboo pieces. I really dislike bamboo, myself, but David wasn't offended, and said that there was very little in his bowl.

Oh! I almost forgot to mention the tea! I'm pretty sure it was the free tea that most japanese places will just give you if you ask for it, but I really enjoyed their tea here! It was that lovely sweet, toasty grain tea, if you've ever had that. Sometimes made with rice, barely, or a mix of the two, I'm pretty sure this one was a barley tea. And I have to say, I'm a huge fan of the light, toasty sweetness that is barley tea!

So if you're in the Coquitlam area and looking for some good ramen, personally I would highly recommend Sho Bu Ramen in Henderson Place mall. If you've been, let me know what you thought in the comments, as well as if you have any ramen restaurant suggestions in the tri-city area, or anywhere in the GVRD, really.

  Sho Bu Japanese Noodle Ramen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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