14 July 2018
Coming from Australia, one of the things that Sydney does really really well, of late, at least, is ramen. I’m not sure what started it, but roughly…six or seven years ago there was a huge uptick in truly authentic ramen places like Gumshara, O-san, Ikkyu etc. This has given us a true appreciation for good ramen, and also maybe a bit of an addiction too! As with any food addiction, you can never truly have enough, so when we realised that Vancouver is pretty into ramen as well, well lets just say that we were both super super excited.
So recently as we were walking around Chinatown, we saw an admittedly very retro looking ramen shop called The Ramen Butcher. The Ramen Butcher proudly calls themselves “The best ramen in Vancouver” and have a very oriental pig as their mascot. Their store fit out is pretty classic hipster but with pigs everywhere – think chalkboards with pigs anatomies on it, bronze pig statues, and giant letters spelling RAMEN, so if that’s something you enjoy, then you’re probably already buzzing about this place.
The menu at The Ramen Butcher is quite basic, but in that real Japanese/new age kind of way, with everything fitting on one page. There are nine different ramens in total, with a choice of either tonkotsu (pork), tsukemen (pork and fish), shoyu (pork, chicken and fish), chicken and vegetarian. There are also just a few sides including karaage and gyoza. The gyoza comes in a variety of flavours including okonomi and truffle! You can also add toppings to your ramen for a small fee, like extra slices of chashu for $2, medium-boiled egg for $1.50 or even more basic things like extra corn or spring onions. Finally, you can get your ramen in a set with either a salad or a mini don and a side.
Here is the Classic tonkotsu ramen ($10.25) which was something we felt we had to try if we were being serious about checking this place out. One thing I need to give a particular shout-out to is the amount of customisation you can do here at The Ramen Butcher. Outside of the traditional extra meat and noodles options, The Ramen Butcher lets you choose between super fatty or lean pork slices in your ramen, as well as thick or thin noodles. I of course went for the fattiest piece available because well…if someone offered you a lift to flavour country, would you not take it? It just seems rude.
Outside of that I also opted for the ajitama (medium-boiled egg) for $1.50 and ended up with the bowl you see above. First things first, this is a great bowl of ramen that matches up as well as anything I’ve ever had before, including in Japan. The pork broth is flavourful and milky whilst still being watery enough to be called a broth – I’ve had ramen broth in the past that I’d describe as more of a gravy, it was just so thick. After having this, it’s hard to argue the “best ramen in Vancouver” moniker, and I happily recommend it.
This brings me to our second ramen, the Green basil ramen ($11.75). This came with fresh basil pesto and parmesan cheese on their signature tonkotsu broth. This taste like… well, imagine an Italian pesto pasta, but a whole lot wetter and with Asian overtones, and you’d be pretty close to this dish. The basil parmesan comes heaped in a corner of the bowl where you can mix in as much or as little as you like. With Lily and I being the mavericks that we are, we decided to just start mixing straight away and this became our undoing as the basil flavour was just inescapable after that.
This cheesy pesto-y ramen did get a little strange tasting. Honestly, I would not get this again. It just didn’t hit the right spot for me, its rich and flavourful yet herby and light but not really for us.
With that said, we should mention that we are not huge fans of basil pasta, and Lily who ordered this dish isn’t even a fan of Italian food at all, so who knows what we were thinking when we ordered this in the first place. Sometimes we get carried away when there’s funky menu items.
Next up is the Cheesy gyoza ($6.25). We ordered this simply because the idea of melted cheese and dumplings sounded too good to be true and I am pleased to announce that it is indeed rad. Steamed then panfried pork gyoza with a delicious helping of melted/roasted smokey cheese is exactly as good as it sounds.
Overall, we had a great time here at The Ramen Butcher, and would definitely go back, especially to try some of their other offerings.
The Ramen Butcher
Address: 223 E Georgia St, Vancouver, BC V6A 1Z6