Motomachi Shokudo 元町食堂Posted: 04/20/2013
On rainy days, I tend to feel an intense craving for soup, especially noodles in soup. Luckily enough for me, Vancouver has a variety of different options to satisfy this craving, including Taiwanese beef noodles, pho, and, of course, ramen. Of those options, ramen is my favourite. I love the chewy noodles, slices of fatty pork, crunchy bamboo shoots, and the rich, salty broth. Perfect for a wet Vancouver day.
On one of those wet Vancouver days, I indeed had a craving for ramen, but didn’t want to revisit Kintaro or Santouka. So SB and I took the bus down to Motomachi Shokudo, which a friend had recommended to me a while ago. Once inside, it reminded me more of Santouka than Kintaro (which is a positive thing for me). It was very clean and modern, with the requisite cramped tables, but I was happy to be tucked in away from the rain.
I was extra hungry, so we started off with a BBQ Pork Rice Bowl ($3.30) to share. It contained a small amount of white rice, julienned carrots, lotus root, BBQ pork, and Japanese mayo. I enjoyed the pork, which was in small, moist pieces, but I wish that there had been a smaller amount of carrots. I love carrots, but there was simply too much. The dish tasted mostly of mayo, and I also wished that we’d been given some kind of spoon, as all the ingredients were incredibly difficult to pick up with the chopsticks. Other than that, for the price, I wasn’t expecting much, so I was satisfied with what we received.
SB ordered even more BBQ pork in the form of Extra BBQ Pork Ramen ($12). He chose to have it with shoyu broth, with the other available options being shio and miso. Each broth was also a different price. He enjoyed the broth, which was rich, but not overpoweringly so. The shoyu flavour was mild and not too salty, but still had that quintessential taste of soy sauce. The pork included shoulder and sparerib, which were both flavourful but on the leaner side. SB commented that the other toppings, including the green onions, bean sprouts, and nori, all tasted sufficiently fresh, while the soft-boiled organic egg was creamy, with the yolk still being a bit runny. Overall, he was quite satisfied with his bowl of noodles.
Meanwhile, I opted for the Miso Ramen ($10). I loved the attention to detail in the plating, with the cute little flower included on the serving tray. It was a nice touch. In any case, the broth was rich with a lot of depth, and tasted somewhat smoky, with the miso flavour being intense but enjoyably so. I would have preferred more corn, however. Most times when I eat ramen, I spend a lot of time trying to scoop up every last kernel of corn, but this time, I felt that there wasn’t as much corn included as I get at Kintaro or Benkei. In addition to the pork, there were loads of bean sprouts and green onions included to provide that extra textural crunch, which I love. There were also some bamboo shoots, which tasted exactly the way I expected them to, being somewhat rubbery and crunchy at the same time. The noodles, meanwhile, had good bite, but weren’t overdone. Like SB, I quite enjoyed my bowl of noodles, as the ingredients all worked together, and the pork wasn’t too fatty, which is always the problem I have at Kintaro.
To conclude, we had a decent time at Motomachi Shokudo, although the prices are a bit higher than what you’d find at other ramen places in town. The broths and pork are both on the less fatty side, which I personally prefer. Despite this, I would probably prefer to eat at Santouka. I felt quite bloated later that night and for the majority of the next day, which isn’t something I have to deal with when I eat at Santouka. Still, though, I would recommend Motomachi if you’re in the mood for ramen on Robson Street, but not keen to wait in line like you usually have to at the more popular places, including Kintaro and Santouka. Although we didn’t try it this time, apparently the charcoal ramen is their specialty–I guess I’ll have it the next time I visit!
Motomachi Shokudo 元町食堂
740 Denman Street