Food & Drinks

March 3, 2016

Eat Before You Live: Japanese Ramen Reviews Part 1

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Written by: Juvina Silvestre
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Gyoza Bar Ramen


Hi ramen lovers!  Thanks for clicking into this post because that shows how much you care about ramen, just like me. 😉

Japanese ramen is a great food item that is usually overlooked by many people who don’t understand the skills, knowledge, and experience required to make a “good bowl of ramen”.  For beginners, ramen are not always served in hot broth.  In Japan, warm and cold ramen are actually very popular.  When I refer to warm ramen, I mean tsukemen (Japanese term for “dipping ramen”).  When you have tsukemen, you will usually have the option of hot or warm soup (depending on what the restaurant offers).  The soup will be served in a separate bowl from the thick noodles, which will be already cooled down with cold water.  The broth is not your traditional ramen soup types and flavours – which are usually tonkotsu (pork bone), miso (fermented bean paste), shoyu (soy sauce), and shio (salt) – it is denser in flavour and tends to have the consistency of half-thickened sauce.  You can get very creative with the flavours you add to your soup.  From my experience, common flavours in Vancouver start with a chili paste base, a lot of minced garlics and onions, and a heavy pork broth.


I got a bit carried away talking about tsukemen alone (because it’s trending right now!).  Before I end up writing a whole post about it, let’s get back to our main title: a review of Japanese ramen places I tried in downtown Vancouver and Richmond.  Because I believe that different people have different preferences for food, ramen in this case, don’t let my critics stop you from trying out any of these places!  However, I can tell you that my standard for ramen is pretty high so at least I won’t disappoint when I say a ramen spot is worth trying.


  1. Gyoza Bar [622 W Pender St, Vancouver, BC V6B 1V8]


This restaurant is near Harbour Centre and is located at Pender Street next to Burger King.  Their management and kitchen crew are mostly Westerners and give the vibe of a modern restaurant bar.  The dining area is very spacious and consists of bar tables and dining tables.  Their kitchen is half opened on the left side of the store connected to a relatively small bar.  Because I only go in the afternoon, I only tried their lunch menu.  The only difference between their lunch and dinner menus is the selection of gyozas and appetizers.


I’ve been here 4 times, and I mostly see people ordering ramen at lunch and happy hour periods.  For my first visit, I tried their tonkotsu broth ramen with chashu.  The ramen noodles were thin and chewy and their soup was very fatty and flavourful.  They used a lot of pork bones and pork feet in the long-hour simmering process and this is notable after drinking the first spoon of soup – I felt a sticky layer of

Tamari-Shoyu Tonkotsu Pork Ramen

Tamari-Shoyu Tonkotsu Pork Ramen

collagen form on my lips as I was slurping spoon after spoon.  This option might be too oily for people who are health-conscious, but as a ramen enthusiast, I say that this is what makes tonkotsu ramen delicious!  Tonkotsu is a traditional style of ramen originated in Hokkaido, a very cold place in Northern Japan which snows a lot in Winter.  Due to the coldness of the area, locals tend to make oilier ramen soup bases so that there is a layer of fat over their noodles to keep it hot while they’re eating in freezing weather.  The rich flavours lingering in the mouth also comes from lots of mashed garlic used to create the strong savory taste and finely chopped onions which brings sweetness to the soup, balancing the final taste.  Their ramen consists of four thick, small and round slices of fatty pork chashu that are tender but firm enough to pick them up.  The egg is not halved when served but when you cut it open, you get a very nice runny yellow yolk.  Other toppings were nori (seaweed), kale, bamboo shoots, and typical garnish.

Overall, the bowl was well-balanced and kept me wanting for more!


For vegetarians or people who don’t like oily and strong taste broths, you could try their vegetable broth ramen. 🙂

It has a completely different soup base from the tonkotsu and chicken broth they have.  The ingredients I taste from this one only has dashi powder, garlic, miso paste, and soy sauce, creating a light but flavourful broth.  Toppings include broccolini, marinated

Umami-Shoyu Market Vegetable Ramen

Umami-Shoyu Market Vegetable Ramen

cherry tomatoes, kale, corn, bamboo shoots, and bak choy.



The ramen at Gyoza Bar is not bad, but I honestly think that they set the price too high.  On average, their regular bowl of ramen is sold for $13.5 before tax despite having the same ingredients and flavor other ramen places can offer, and at a lower price!  Their prices are unreasonable because popular ramen places on Robson like Santouka and Marutama, etc who offer the same ramen type and quality (if not, even better quality) set their prices at around $11.


This is the end of my first review for ramen spots.   Please look forward to part 2 coming out soon! 😉

About the Author

Juvina Silvestre
Juvina Silvestre
A.K.A [FOOD ENTHUSIAST] Juvina is a self-diagnosed food addict who loves Instagram and YouTube, because they enable her love for food go crazy as she hunts for recipes and restaurants to add to her never-ending list of food adventures. Cooking is one of her biggest passions and she would love to work under THE Gordon Ramsay…in her dreams that is. Back in reality, she wants to become a successful food journalist who might have an opportunity to meet him one day.

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