Category Archives: Ramen

Ikkoryu Fukuoka Ramen

 

 

 

 

Ikkoryu Fukuoka Ramen
Basement
27 Russell Street
Melbourne
Vic 3000
+61 3 9650 3708
Ikkoryu Fukuoka Ramen on Urbanspoon

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The Angmoh and I were invited to attend to dine at Ikkoryu Fukuoka Ramen. A chorus of “Irrashaimase” hailed upon our descent into the restaurant. Unlike a couple of other basement Japanese restaurants, Ikkuryu Fukuoka spares no expense with lighting. It’s bright, spacious and welcoming.

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Ikkoryu Original Tonkotsu – Ikkoryu original hearty tonkotsu ramen garnished with charshu, green onion, bamboo shoots, woodear and dried seaweed $15

We randomly chose a table to peruse the menu. The ramen offers plenty of customisation: the type of soup, the hardness of noodle, the amount of ramen oil, the amount of shoyu and so on. I decided to have hard noodles in original soup, with light ramen oil and light shoyu. The Angmoh was intrigued by the yuzukosyo spice and had his ramen with the yuzu tama tonkontsu broth and his noodles cooked to the original degree of hardness. As we were one of the first to arrive, we got to enjoy our noodles pretty early and were ushered to sit at the counter to dine on them. Accompanying the noodles were some gyoza which were excellent. The skins were crisp and thin, and the filling juicy with some sweetness coming from the pork.

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Yuzu Tonkotsu – yuzu tama tonkotsu is flavoured with yuzukosyo, one of the spices that the Kyushu region of Japan is known for. A spice experience in ramen like no other $17

Back to our ramen, these were pretty good. The soups were well-balanced with both savoury and sweet notes. The yuzukosyo in The Angmoh’s soup gave it its green appearance and a good kick of peppery spice. The noodles were of good quality, although I thought mine had the exact same bite or hardness to that of The Angmoh’s. The pork was fall apart tender and the shoyu-seasoned soft boiled egg had a gooey yolk. The only let down was the absence of bamboo shoots in both our bowls, one of my favourite ingredients when having ramen. I also thought the portions were a tad small for the price stated on the menu. Perhaps due to the nature of the evening, portions sizes were meant for sampling.

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Apple sake

We were also offered some complimentary apple sake, which was basically apple juice with a shot of sake. It was light and refreshing.

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Gyoza (5 pieces) – $11

However, once we were done with our noodles, we had to give up our counter seats. This got a little awkward as the restaurant had now filled up and not many table seats were left. Guests started shuffling about, so we decided to avoid the chaos and left (which also meant we didn’t get to sample the rest of the sides).

The Angmoh and I thank Ikkoryu for having us on the night of their soft launch. I’m looking forward for a revisit to devour their excellent gyoza and trying out the rest of the ramen menu.

Disclaimer: The Hangry Bitch and The Angmoh were invited to attend Ikkoryu Fukuoka Ramen’s soft opening of their first Australian Restaurant in Mebourne.

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Filed under CBD, Japanese, Noodles, Ramen

A weekend in Sydney

Once a year, I dedicate a weekend to Sydney. One weekend of pure gluttony, where getting full is not an option and optimising every last bit of space in that second stomach is very much mandatory. Last year Fakebooo and I flew up for a weekend of pastries, cakes and brilliant Argentinian food and you can read all about it here. This year my itinerary was pretty much the same, except this time round, The Angmoh came along as my dining companion.

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His only request food-wise was to have yumcha. That’s how we found ourselves in The Eight Restaurant, gorging on prawn dumplings, steamed pork ribs and glutinous rice as soon our plane landed. The restaurant was quiet when we rocked up close to 11am, with trolleys piled high with steaming bamboo baskets. By the time we left though, it was packed and rowdy, the way every reputable yumcha restaurant ought to be. The food was pretty good: slippery fresh prawns housed in silky translucent skins, smooth beef balls with the delicate crunch of water chestnut and velvety soy curd in a gingery syrup.

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We walked out lugging our backpacks and hiked across town towards Woolloomooloo, for the one and only and my Sydney-must-have Flour and Stone. Here I indulged in a rich chocolate tart while The Angmoh nibbled on some fruit toast. Deciding against the panna cotta lamington to save space for dinner, we headed towards our hotel for an afternoon siesta.

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At 5pm, we were the first in line for Porteno. Having inadequate figures for a table booking, we decided to be kiasu and started camping an hour before the doors opened. Was the wait worth it? Hell yeah! Porteno panders to every carnivore’s wet dream where meats are grilled to perfection. Served in generous portions by cute waiters in leather aprons, every dish a sight for sore hungry eyes. My absolute favourite item, ironically, is a vegetable one. The grilled peppers are an absolute delight. Their skins blistered from high heat slip off to reveal soft flesh, succulent and sweet. Desserts here are excellent too, and I split an alfajores with The Angmoh. This was an amazing dish with crumbly buttery shortbread sandwiching a sticky caramel-like dulce de leche, all smothered in chocolate and then topped with an incredible brown butter ice cream. I was in dessert heaven.

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IMG_9417The next morning, we squeezed ourselves into a tiny café. Room 10 is a hole-in-the-wall which we’d chanced upon during our brief stroll in Kings’ Cross. We were counting the number of strip joints where a turn led us onto an unassuming laneway which had a handful of cafes and bistros. The morning crowd built quickly and we were lucky to get a table right away. The coffees were served hot and leant towards bitter. While The Angmoh enjoyed a slab of homemade banana bread with Pepe Saya butter, I worked off my morning gym session with a protein-heavy sandwich of smoked ham, triple cheese and smashed egg. Both dishes ticked all our breakfast boxes.

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Next on our agenda was another of my Sydney must-haves: Blackstar Pastry’s strawberry, watermelon cake with rose-scented cream. This has to be one of my all-time favourite cakes. Feminine in description and appearance, this cake is pure heaven with just the right amount of sweetness and perfect combination of floral and fruity flavours. It’s not only this cake that excels at Blackstar. The pastries too, are sensational. The Angmoh, after sampling the sausage roll, declared it to be “the best sausage roll of his life”. The flaky pastry is loaded with butter and filling was packed with flavour and spice, and even retained a resilient chewy texture. We took a couple of these bad boys back to Melbourne and The Angmoh’s dad proclaimed the very same.

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To kill time before dinner, I catched up on my zzz’s while The Angmoh enjoyed “Locke”. These odd arty-farty movies aren’t quite my thing but our final meal totally is. Gumshara Ramen sits in a foodcourt in Chinatown. The broth here is one of the best I’ve come across, with depth and stickiness achieved from boiling pork bones till kingdom come. The noodles and egg are cooked without any fault, retaining bite and wobble respectively. I enjoyed mine with a hit of black garlic and less salt. Needless to say, it went down a treat.

Sadly this concludes our weekend in Sydney. I’m already anticipating another foodie trip that will challenge the waistline and loosen the belt. Please hit me up for any mouth-watering delectable recommendations!

The Eight
9-13 Hay Street,
Haymarket
NSW 2000
+61 2 9282 9988
The Eight Modern Chinese Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Porteno
358 Cleveland Street
Surry Hills
NSW 2010
+61 2 8399 1440
Porteño on Urbanspoon

Room 10
10 Llankelly Place
Potts Point
NSW 2011
Room 10 on Urbanspoon

Black Star Pastry
277 Australia Street
Newtown
NSW 2042
+61 2 9557 8656
Black Star Pastry on Urbanspoon

Gumshara Ramen
211/25-29 Dixon Street
Hawmarket
NSW 2000
Gumshara Ramen on Urbanspoon

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Filed under Argentinian, Brunch, Chinese, Coffee, Japanese, Noodles, Pastries, Ramen, Sweets, Sydney, Travels, Yum Cha

Fukuryu Ramen, Traveller (NORA Charcoal Tarts)

Fukuryu Ramen
22-26 Corrs Lane
Melbourne
Vic 3000
+61 3 9090 7149
Fukuryu Ramen on Urbanspoon

Traveller
2/14 Crossley Street
Melbourne
Vic 3000
traveller on Urbanspoon

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It’s amazing what pictures of food can trigger off. Just slightly over 72 hours ago, Winston (The Hungry Excavator) posted a couple of pictures of new Ramen shop Fukuryu on Instagram. 24 hours later, Libby (The Very Very Hungry Caterpillar) posted a review on the very same place and the next thing I know, I’m there the very next day having lunch with Long Legs.

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Fukuryu is located in the same building as Sichuan House, albeit a couple of flights up. I was the very first customer that day and was greeted in a united rowdy “Irrashaimase”. As I doodled on my phone, checking on Facebook current affairs, the same cheerful greeting signalled the arrival of Long Legs.

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Signature Tonkotsu Ramen $9.90

We quickly got down to business. There’s was no fussing about, we knew we what we wanted and got straight into ordering the tonkotsu ramen each. This has got to be one of the best ramen broths in Melbourne. The soup alone blew me away: it was rich with pork flavours and had a strong taste of garlic. The noodles are bouncy, the soft boiled egg soft and gooey and it came with my favourite, marinated bamboo shoots. Long Legs kept going ‘Yum’ as she slurped up mouthfuls of noodles and soup.

We left, smiles on our faces and bellies thoroughly satisfied to the hearty cheer of “Itterasshai”.

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But I’m not done yet. I must mention what I did before heading into Chinatown. I must mention breakfast at Traveller, a relatively new coffee joint on the narrow strip of Crossley Street, the very same street of famous Melbourne eateries Von Haus and Gingerboy.

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Traveller is conspicuously small, sits just a rough handful and is a perfect place to chill and enjoy a Seven Seeds coffee. And of course, these.

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(Clockwise from Left) Lemongrass ginger brulee, Chocolate ganache with navel orange puree and popping candy, Coconut pandan with toasted puff rice $5 each

These ebony-cased beauties are charcoal tarts with the most imaginative and delicious fillings. The greedy oinker in me ordered 3 with the intention of taking them away for afternoon tea. As I sat and sipped on my piccolo latte, something felt amiss and I simply had to fulfil it by munching into the lemongrass brulee tart. The pastry is firm with a good crunch and there is no unpleasant taste of carbon or charcoal. The brulee had a nice torched surgary crisp and the custard was smooth and creamy with lovely flavours of lemongrass.

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Piccolo latte $4

I hear this and the pandan tarts sell out quick, so go early and have one. The only problem will be settling on a flavour, but your mouth will thank you once you do.

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Filed under CBD, Coffee, Japanese, Noodles, Pastries, Ramen, Sweets

Mugen Ramen

Mugen Ramen Bar
11 Bligh Place
Melbourne
Vic 3000
+61 3 9620 3646
Mensousai Mugen on Urbanspoon

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My first post in 2014 starts with some marvellous news. Fakebooo, bless his dear heart, has now a partner. He shall be known as Fakebooobooo (or FBB) in my blog because he is Fakebooo’s boo. Aww…

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The four of us ventured to Mugen Ramen sometime before Christmas. We had made a booking and were seated underground. It was dark and somewhat stoney, lightened by the beautiful art pieces on the wall and a large screen, flashing a black and white samurai film.

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While Japanese alcoholic drinks are available, it was slightly unusual that Japanese green tea (or o-cha) wasn’t. FBB and I had a delightfully refreshing yuzu liquer while Fakebooo unwound with a Japanese beer. The Coedo Beniaka is a sweet potato lager and is quite fruity and enjoyable.

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Yuzu-shu $12

While we waited for our mains to come, we nibbled on deep fried chicken wings. Coated with a glaze of honey and sesame, these wings had an intoxicating fragrance, moreishly juicy and absolutely delicious.

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Tebasaki – Japanese deep fried chicken wings (8 pieces) $15

Mugen specializes in ramen. The noodles are handmade on site and a comic instructs on the eating of their signature dish, tsukemen. Our waitress also re-iterated the steps and advised not to drink the dipping broth that accompanies it.

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FBB and I each had a serve of tsukemen. The noodles are wider than that of ramen, and resemble “mee pok”. The texture is perfect with each noodle full of bounce, bite and Q. The flavour of bonito in the dipping broth is strong and not overwhelming. The charshu is served cold and just a tad firm. I like charshu to fall apart and melt away. We added a slow-cooked egg for an additional $2, it was well-cooked with a gentle seasoning of soy. As soon as we had slurped up the last noodle, hot konbu stock was poured into the dipping broth, uplifting and transforming it into a delightful soup.

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Wafu Tsukemen – Dashi and soy sauce broth, house made thick noodles served with slow cooked pork (chashu), bamboo shoots and seaweed (300g) $15
Add egg $2

The Angmoh and Fakebooo felt soupy that evening and had wafu ramen, with my man getting a “rarge” serve. Once again, the noodles were perfectly chewy. The soup was fresh and the 2 boys had no complaints.

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Wafu ramen (large) – soy sauce and dashi broth cooked over 48 hours, house made thin noodles served with slow cooked pork (chashu), bamboo shoots and seaweed $17

Mugen’s ramen is the best I’ve come across in Melbourne. The texture of the noodles are simply exquisite. The menu is expanding to include more entrees (or “Japas”), and I do hope a couple of desserts might be thrown into the mix. Mugen is conveniently located across from Robot Sushi Bar, so knock back a couple of drinks after work then hop over for a satisfying noodle-slurping experience.

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Filed under CBD, Japanese, Noodles, Ramen

Cheap and cheery CBD eats

Let’s face it. There are days where you’ve slugged all day at work, have totally forgotten to take something out of the freezer to defrost and just can’t face heading to the supermarket to buy and much less cook dinner. It’s times like these where something quick, simple, delicious and not to mention, cheap, is highly desired. Take a stab at the following four options: there’s Malaysian, Korean, Japan and French to suit fussy tastebuds.

Kitchen Inn
469 Elizabeth Street
Melbourne
Vic 3000
+61 3 9328 2562
Kitchen Inn on Urbanspoon

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It was one of those evenings after gym where I hadn’t prepared any food for dinner and couldn’t be half-assed to buy and cook something. I texted Fakebooo to ask if he had any dinner plans that evening and fortunately for me, he hadn’t and didn’t mind a quick cheap meal after knocking off work.

We decided to meet on the “Asian Food Stretch” of Elizabeth Street. I arrived earlier and started considered my choices, then discovered Kitchen Inn. Fakebooo arrived soon enough and commented that the “Kolo Mee” was pretty good. Since I’d yet to try Kitchen Inn, we decided to give it a go.

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Kampua special $11

While many Singaporean and Malaysian dishes overlap, several dishes in Kitchen Inn sounded alien to me. Fakebooo and I braved the unfamiliar and ordered two dishes that we did not recognize. I had the Kampua Noodles while Fakebooo sampled the Sarawak Laksa.

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Sarawak Laksa $10.90

My dish appeared as a bowl of dried yellow noodles topped with a small mound of char siew and prawns, garnished with a sprinkling of fried shallots. Some sauce (which I later found out contains pork lard) sits on the bottom of the bowl and all the ingredients are mixed deftly with chopsticks. It was delicious. Fakebooo’s sarawak laksa turned out to be somewhat similar to chicken curry noodles with a sprinkling of five spice. The soup was grainy with peppery bits but the fragrance and flavour made it enjoyable.

It was good crossing into unknown territories that evening and trying new and different Malaysian dishes.

Tarng
32 A’Beckett Street
Melbourne
Vic 3000
+61 3 9639 4456
Tarng on Urbanspoon
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I love the décor at Tarng. The studded sunflowers on the black wall uplift what would otherwise be a dark and stern appearance for the restaurant.

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I was in the mood for kimchi stew that evening. The Angmoh loves his Korean BBQ, and so, ordered from the BBQ set of the menu.

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(Left) Kimchi stew – kimchi soup with pork and tofu $12.80
(Right) BBQ pork belly with spicy sauce $15.80

My stew was spicy and tangy, the perfect combination for tempting and whetting my palate. The pork melded into the soup and gave it a rich buttery roundness. The Angmoh’s dish was served on a sizzling hot plate that had the adorable shape of a fish. Unfortunately the ratio of sliced onions to pork was extremely skewed towards the former and it all swam in a pool of oily sweet sauce. I took pity on The Angmoh and graciously shared my stew with him.

While Tarng was a hit and miss this time, my previous visits have been enjoyable. Stick with the hotpots or stews, just to be safe.

Roule Galette
241 Flinders Lane
Scott Aly
Melbourne
Vic 3000
+61 3 9639 0307
Roule Galette on Urbanspoon

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Transport away from the busy Melbourne CBD into a romantic alley of France with Roule Galette. It is cute, quaint and saturated with the essence of everything French. The music, the accents and, of course, the food brings back happy memories of Paris and a forlornly sigh in my heart.

It was around lunch time when we stepped foot into the café. The Angmoh’s smoked salmon crepe and my egg and ham galette were delicious and surprisingly filling. The crepes were nicely thin and had good texture. The balance of batter to ingredients was also well-achieved.

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(Top) Océane – smoked salmon and fresh yoghurt sauce with lemon and chives $13
(Bottom) Complète – egg, ham and Emmental $10

I have tried the dessert crepes on previous occasions and the one with rose jam is a particular favourite of mine. The jam is not sickeningly sweet and the sweet floral fragrance gives the dish a wonderful perfume.

Roule Galette is a good way to dodge the hustle and bustle of the city for a romantic escape into France.

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Dontoo
330 Little Lonsdale Street
Melbourne
Vic 3000
+61 3 9670 7113
DonToo on Urbanspoon

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To commemorate Mid-Autumn Festival, a small gathering was organized by Serena (Pigging Out Around the World) for a mooncake test taste. (I’d eavesdropped on a twitter conversation and shamelessly did a self-invite. Thanks Serena, for arranging this get together.) A group of 7, myself and Fakebooo included, huddled around the QV foodcourt on a cold spring evening and put 7 mooncakes on the line; there were 3 different brands represented across 5 traditional mooncakes and 2 snow skin mooncakes. Amongst the traditional yolk-filled ones, we compared white lotus with yellow lotus pastes.

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In the end, Maxim’s white lotus with egg yolk came out tops. It was smooth, not too oily nor sweet and had the wonderful light scent of the lotus seed. The snow skin mooncakes were god-awful and had overpowering chemical fruit flavours in the filling. I shudder at the very recollection of them.

Maxim’s mooncakes are readily available from the Maxim’s bakery in Chinatown but it is not produced by said bakery. The bakery borrows a famous brand from Hong Kong, the very same that produces and exports the delicious mooncakes. These mooncakes can also be bought from various Asian grocers.

After saturating our tastebuds with sugar, oil and lotus paste, Fakebooo and I made our way to Dontoo. We needed something soupy and wholesome to offset the heaviness of our pre-dinner dessert, and so, ramen it was.

Dontoo is by the same people of Don Don, famous for cheap and tasty Japanese rice dishes and bento sets. The former dishes up ramen during weekday nights. When you arrive at Dontoo, mark your order on the sheets provided, grab a table and wait to slurp up some delicious Japanese noodles and broth.

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My Kuon ramen dish was the most basic on the menu, with a serve of char-shu, soft boiled egg and vegetables. The soup was rich with dashi (or smoked bonito) and the generous serve of ingredients made it a very filling meal. The soft-boiled egg was gooey and had the delicious aroma of soy while the thick cut charshu was appropriately fatty, soft and sweet.

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Kuon ramen – charshu pork slices, vegetables, seaweed and seasoned egg $8.90

Fakebooo likes the Tsukemen at Dontoo and decided to have it again. The cold ramen noodles had a delightfully pronounced bite. They are dipped in a separately served salty soup to provide great flavour.

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(Top right) Tsukemen – chilled ramen served separately with “melt in your mouth” pork pieces and dipping sauce $11.90
(Bottom left) Kuon ramen

I suspect different provinces of Japan do ramen differently. I am very used to ramen served with Tonkotsu (pork-based) broths with pickled bamboo shoots. Nevertheless I very much enjoy the ramen at Dontoo. The texture of the noodles and flavour of the ever-important egg and charshu hit  the spot for me and hence is one of my recommended ramen bars of Melbourne.

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Filed under CBD, French, Japanese, Korean, Malaysian, Noodles, Ramen, Sweets

Melbourne CBD Eats

Melbourne CBD Eats

This post covers a few places in Melbourne that offer fast, cheap and delicious meals. Takeaway options are also available but either way, a perfect solution when the day’s been way too long and you just CBF to cook something.

Rose Garden
435 Elizabeth Street
Melbourne
Vic 3000
+61 3 9329 1560
Rose Garden BBQ on Urbanspoon

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Ahhhh this certainly brings back memories of being a student again. Rose Garden is situated on QVM-side of Elizabeth Street, surrounded by several other eateries. The good thing about this area is that each little bistro offers a different cuisine, so there isn’t terribly much competition, it just depends on what you’re the mood for at that time. There’s Menya for Japanese, Thai Culinary for Thai, Coconut House for Malaysian and my favourite, Rose Garden for Chinese-Malaysian-Hong Kong styled food.

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Fried rice with shredded duck and preserved vegetables $9.80

I have to admit that I have yet to make much progress with the menu as I ALWAYS eat the same thing when I return. The fried rice with slivers of roast duck is packed with umami goodness and the combination of salty preserved vegetables with sweet peas and delicious duck always makes me salivate. The other dishes (which I finally tried) are the deep-fried chicken ribs, spicy green beans with mince and stewed pork with lotus root. All are fantastically delicious, but in my honest opinion, the fried rice should rank number 1 in their “Top 10 favourites” menu.

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Spicy green beans with minced chicken on rice $9.00

Darac Grill and Bar
51 A’Beckett Street
Melbourne
Vic 3000
+61 3 9662 2441
Darac Grill & Bar on Urbanspoon

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Situated not too far from the cluster of the above mentioned eateries on Elizabeth Street is a hidden Korean gem, Darac. The bibimbap here is one of the best I’ve come across in Melbourne and is the dish I always order when I visit (this is beginning to sound familiar). There is good balance in ingredients and the hot stone bowl never fails to provide a crunch to the rice.

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Beef Bibimbap $14

One of the frequently ordered dishes here is the spicy sausage stew, which comes served on a portable stove. Balanced delicately on the flames is a large platter with a mixture of noodles, vegetables, cheese and sausage. Hot soup or water is then poured over and everything gets mixed into a pale orange mess. Believe it or not, it is quite a ubiquitous dish. I have to give this a go next time.

Shanghai Street Dumplings
342 Little Bourke Street
Melbourne
Vic 3000
+61 3 9660 2250
Shanghai Street Dumpling on Urbanspoon

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Shanghai Street dishes out its namesake and other options such as rice and noodles are available. The dumplings are of better quality than the ones around Chinatown, with the skins not too starchy and the filling not too sweet.

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Homemade Shanghai fried pork mini bun (6 pieces) $9.50

I really liked the fried mini buns: the bread was soft and slightly sweet and had a crisp bottom from being panfried. The filling was juicy and delicious.

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Gongbao chicken with peanut and veg on rice

The Angmoh enjoyed his rice dish of Gongbao Chicken. It is different from that served in Sichuan restaurants as it comes with gravy, allowing the rice to soak up the tasty flavours.

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Pork and prawn wonton in chilli oil with peanut and sesame butter sauce (15 pieces) $8.80

Fakebooo and I have also tried the Xiao Long Bao and dumplings in chilli oil. You can read about what we thought of it here.
Little Ramen Bar
346 Little Bourke Street
Melbourne
Vic 3000
+61 3 9670 5558
Little Ramen Bar on Urbanspoon

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Just 2 shops down from Shanghai Street Dumplings is this small little newbie, with a big reputation. It is so popular despite its infancy, I’ve heard dishes have been sold out halfway through opening hours! The seating is limited and a queue forms rather quickly.

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Charshu Tamago – $12.90

I had the Charshu Tamago Ramen, which offers slightly more charshu than the regular Classic ramen, and also comes with a soft boiled egg. I picked miso for the soup, which might have been a wrongdoing on my part. The miso was overpowering and overwhelmed the Tonkatsu broth. I might go for the shio (salt) version in future. The charshu is thickly sliced and has a good amount of fat and the soft boiled egg had a perfectly gooey yolk. The noodles were al dente in ramen standards and I would describe them to have “Q”, which is the Taiwanese way of describing noodles that have bite and bounce. While I personally prefer the charshu at Ramen-ya, Little Ramen Bar does dish up pretty good ramen.

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Filed under CBD, Chinese, Dumplings, Japanese, Korean, Noodles, Ramen