There isn’t much to cry over when you have a steaming hot bowl of ramen, crispy gyoza and of course, a shot of all your hopes and dreams (aka sake).
It's time to get your slurp on! Here are Melbourne’s 10 best ramen joints for all your raving ramen needs—and as it turns out, most of our faves are in the CBD. If you have a great suggestion in the suburbs, tell us on Facebook!
A slice of Tokyo on Russell Street, Shujinko (previously known as Menya Sandaime) is lined with boutique bottles of sake, popular anime figurines and power points just like a modern Japanese ramen bar: in other words, this is our kind of ramen joint. Plug in your diminished iPhone, grab a shot of sake and go slurping mad for Shujinko’s deeply creamy signature ramen broth.
Say hello to contemporary ramen that’s a step above your usual street fare. Shizuku ramen’s most popular bowl, Tan Tan Men, is filled with free-range pork mince (trust us, it works), egg, chilli oil and preserved vegetables engulfed in rich sesame broth. Don’t skimp on kick-ass entrées like karaage popcorn chicken and creative desserts like miso caramel ice cream with banana toffee... sorry, is that drool? You haven't even heard the best news: Shizuku now delivers.
Shyun Ramen Bar
This local ramen bar, a noodle-length away from Carnegie station, features two homemade broths, each simmered for over ten hours. The Shyun signature chicken ramen features creamy, thick soup topped with handfuls of chewy ramen noodles, chashu (pork), egg, bamboo and corn. Pretty much, it’s chicken soup for the soul—on steroids.
It’s a more-than-modest shopfront, with plain timber tables, small Japanese lanterns and hand-written specials. Regardless, Momotaro Rahmen (not a typo) serves some of the most homely, unpretentious Japanese fare in Melbourne. Favourites include traditional miso rahmen and tonkotsu rahmen, a white soup broth made from pork bones and served with slim slices of roast pork. You’d be a fool to skimp on the crispy, juicy gyoza.
Little Ramen Bar
A pint-sized ramen bar wedged between restaurants on Little Bourke Street, Little Ramen Bar attracts some distinctly not-so-little lines. The staff will happily take your order over the top of your chattering teeth as you wait—it means steaming bowls of ramen are promptly produced once you’re seated in the petite, dynamic restaurant. We’re addicted to their special miso ramen made from a combination of white and red miso.
Service at Hakata Gensuke is an efficient affair, with miniature ramen forms allowing visitors to customise their order including the chewiness of their noodles. Purists can go nuts over their traditional menu of tonkotsu ramen, shio tonkotsu and tsukemen. Brace yourselves for the ramen-loving lines, we promise it’s worth it.
Bright and airy, featuring a fire-red dragon mural, Fukuryu Ramen is home to some of Melbourne’s best modern ramen. Noodle chasers, head up to the first floor in Corrs Lane for options like vegetarian miso ramen (it’s topped with enoki mushroom and grilled pumpkin) and the black dragon ramen with squid ink and black sesame.
Because the Mensousai Mugen team are aware of the deep-seated panic that threatens to burst into a full-blown hissy fit at the sight of something new, they’ve developed incredibly informative ramen eating manga highlighting the correct method of approaching tsukemen ramen (dipping ramen). Head downstairs to this ramen basement and order yourself a curry tsukemen. White shirts are not recommended.
Modern Japanese cuisine is the best invention of the 21st century: here you can expect organic tofu ramen with cashew milk or beef brisket ramen (our two favourite things!) with deonjang paste, kimchi, roasted peanuts, beanshoots, grilled spring onion and a marinated egg. If you're at Collingwood’s Shop Ramen you can probably hear the sound of ramen traditionalists crying... But we don’t care.
From pale timber to an open kitchen, traditional bento boxes and tiny wooden sushi plates, everything about Kenji is classically old-fashioned in the best (BEST) way. Traditional sides like boiled edamame, inari and takoyaki balls are the perfect pre-ramen snacks. There are just two rich broths (miso or shoyu) paired with vegetarian, chicken, beef or pork.
If you need more Japanese cuisine in your life, check out Melbourne's Most Authentic Japanese Eateries!
Image credit: Shujinko, Gareth Sobey for The Urban List