The round-up: slurp up the best ramen in Brisbane
Once the mercury starts to drop, ramen season comes on in full force. Ramen is quickly catching on in popularity around town, with several noodle soup joints specialising in the hearty dish. Forget all about your five-pack of instant mie goreng ramen noodles – the real deal is so much better that it’s unfair to call them both ramen. We’ve compiled a list of the best spots to get your slurp on, which we reckon is worth a hearty (r)amen!
Taro’s Ramen, Brisbane City, South Brisbane and Ascot: One of the longest-running Brisbane ramen institutions, Taro is a must-try for those seeking the best ramen in Brisbane. Taro boasts four locations in Brisbane, one inside the 480 Queen Street building, a dedicated vegan joint Edward Street in the City, one in South Brisbane and one on Racecourse Road in Ascot. Taro’s popular ramen often features succulent Bangalow sweetpork and other tasty morsels.
Hai-Hai Ramen, Paddington: A heavy-hitter in the Brisbane ramen scene, Hai-Hai Ramen in Paddington quickly established itself as one of the most creative joints when it comes to bowls of noodle soup. The concise menu features three kinds of ramen boasting two types of broth – soy or salt-based. A must-try is the vegetarian ramen with kelp and shitaki broth, tofu and greens – even carnivores will be greedily sipping every drop.
Ramen Danbo, South Brisbane and Sunnybank: Us Brisbane ramen fiends breathed a sweet sigh of FOMO-induced relief when beloved Japanese ramen chain Ramen Danbo finally opened its doors in our city. Following the raging success of its Gold Coast siblings, Ramen Danbo’s Brisbane locales dishe out mouth-watering broths in six perfect varieties. In addition to the signature tonkotsu pork broth, one can select a negi-goma ramen with sliced spring onions and toasted sesame, miso tonkotsu, and a vegetarian soup that is made using a miso and konbu blend.
Wagaya, Fortitude Valley: One of the most popular spots in Fortitude Valley for Japanese cuisine is Wagaya, and it wouldn’t be a proper Japanese restaurant without a decent ramen offering. Get fancy and try the scallops and miso butter ramen or the kimchi salt-based ramen.
Niku Ramen, Nundah: Boasting a colourful interior with booth seating and plenty of room to swing a noodle around, Niku Ramen’s menu needs to be seen to be believed. This noodle joint boasts 15 kinds of ramen to try, ranging from rich classic tonkotsu, soy chicken-based Tokyo ramen, wonton ramen, miso-chicken based butter-corn ramen and negimiso ramen.
Izakana-Ya Okuman, South Brisbane: Melbourne Street in South Brisbane is home to Izakana-ya Okuman – a Japanese eatery that dishes up a range of authentic bites, including a choice ramen section. Patrons can select regular or spicy ramen, with added gyoza for those hungrier than usual.
Genkotsu, Runcorn and Toowong: If you live in Runcorn or Toowong then you are one of the lucky few to boast a Genkotsu in your suburb. The chefs at Genkotsu use traditional recipes and methods when creating their bowls – broth is boiled for more than 12 hours and the flavoured boiled eggs are marinated overnight. Choose a salt, soy or fish broth or go all out and add soft-shell crab or prawn.
Ramen Champion, Sunnybank: Those looking for a seriously big bowl of ramen should know that there is one place in town that caters to humungous appetites. This Sunnybank spot offers Brisbane’s only giant ramen challenge – an impossibly large bowl of broth, noodles, meat and egg that only ten percent of eaters finish. If you are only after a regular bowl, Ramen Champion serves up plenty of those as well with the pork bone soup ramen with black sauce and flame-grilled chicken ramen being certified standouts.
Hakataya Ramen, various location: Sunnybank Market Square, Westfield Garden City, Queen Street Mall, the Myer Centre and Indooroopilly Shopping Centre are large hubs of retail activity. If shopping makes you hungry (or if you need to rest your feet for a spell), Hakataya Ramen is on hand to replenish fuel reserves with its selection of tasty ramen. Try the Japanese spicy pork noodle soup with a side of gyoza – it’ll get you energised for more window shopping in no time.
Motto Motto, Upper Mount Gravatt and Chermside: Garden City’s own Japanese kitchen serves a large range of tasty morsels, but its ramen selections are especially slurp-worthy. The tonkotsu ramen soup comes with 12-hour pork superstock, pork belly and egg, which also comes in a spicy variety for those that prefer to live on the edge (we like your style).
Men Ya Go, Brisbane City: City slickers flock to Men Ya Go at lunch for its ramen. You can’t beat the classics, and Men Ya Go’s shoyu tonkotsu is as tasty as it gets. Adventurous types can sample chicken shio and spicy minced chicken ramen. The best thing about Men Ya Go? Extra kaedama (noodles) are free.
Tatsu Ramen Gyoza Bar, Fortitude Valley: The team behind West End’s Izakana-Ya Okuman brought its brand of Japanese cuisine to Fortitude Valley in the final days of 2016, with everything from yakitori, bento and sushi to ramen available. Tatsu’s ramen is an impressive sight – served in a bowl bigger than your head and filled with a range of tasty ingredients, ramen lovers will be hard pressed to choose between classic tonkotsu, spicy tonkotsu and karakara spicy ramen.
Ikkairo Ramen, Underwood: If you’re looking to slurp up a more experimental broth, Underwood’s Ikkairo Ramen has a tasty variation you need to try. Taking inspiration from French bisques, Ikkairo dishes up an inventive prawn-based broth, mixing milky tonkotsu with tiger prawns, chashu pork and hand-made noodles. Also of note, they’ve also got a joint at 8 Street at Westfield Garden City!
Nom Nom Ramen and Sake, Fortitude Valley: Bakery Lane’s popular hotspot Nom Nom Korean Eatery scored a sibling in April 2018, when owner Philip Kim opened Nom Nom Ramen & Sake next door. Soup seekers can slurp two kinds of ramen – Bakery Lane ramen with a pork-stock base, egg noddles and your choice of pork or chicken, and the Bakery Lane soy ramen with a soy-stock base with chicken, kimchi or prawns.
Headed south? You can scope out the Gold Coast’s best ramen here.
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