Kamamarui is a small (Korean run?) ramen joint tucked away on Hastings that just opened up recently. While I’ve heard about the branch in Royal Oak, I never actually tried it personally. One day, Totoro, Mamallama, Baby-Paca and I were driving out to lunch and we passed by Kamamarui, I told them I heard from some of my friends that Kamamarui Ramen serves up decent ramen. While it’s not the quality you get from ramen joints downtown, it’s a fair option when you don’t want to travel all the way out. Moreover, Kamamarui’s more gentle on your wallet.
The first thing I noticed when I walked in was the little doggie butts on the wall. I think they’re hooks for clothing, bags and such? Cute and practical, I like that. It was completely empty when we walked in. The waitress apologized and informed us that they weren’t open yet, but I heard a voice from the kitchen say something in Korean to our waitress and she told us that we can wait inside as they open at 11:30 (it was 11:25), so we were seated.
The heat was turned all the way up and it was like a sauna inside, we had to request for the heat to be turned down. 10 minutes after our request, it felt like the temperature actually increased and we asked the waitress again to lower the temperature. She opened the door to let some cool air in and it was a lot less stuffy afterwards.
It was rather dim inside the quaint little restaurant, but It seems that Ghibli/Miyazaki’s masterpiece, Spirited Away may have had a little influence over Kamamarui’s decor, which is a +5 points from me. Can you spot No Face? Hahah.
Kamamarui’s menu is limited, they only offer 2 kinds of broth, miso and tonkotsu, but you get the choice of making your ramen a combo with their selection of add ons (ranging from an extra $1.5-$6). We decided to try a bit of everything.
I ordered a chashu miso ramen with Kamamuri’s “Twinkle” ($11.5 + $5). The description on the menu was deep fried pork in a sweet, spicy and sour sauce. The sauce had slices of caramelized onions in it and tasted like a plum sauce. It wasn’t spicy, but it was very flavourful, and it was actually my favourite component of this plate. The batter on the meatballs weren’t very crispy, and the dry, flossy consistency of the pork kind of threw me off.
(To my disappointment) The chashu miso ramen had a generous helping of bean sprouts instead of the usual toppings like bamboo shoots and onsen egg. The chashu had a nice smokey BBQ charred flavour to them, but they were a tad too lean and didn’t have that melt in your mouth decadent quality you’d expect from good chashu.The noodles were decent, a little gummy, but had a bounce to them. The broth was light without being bland, but it was missing that depth of flavour. I also didn’t really like the taste of cracked blacked pepper in my ramen, but it wasn’t a big issue.
Mamallama ordered the tonkotsu ramen with prawn and yam tempura ($9 + $5). The prawn and yams tasted fresh, but the batter could’ve been a little thinner and crispier. The dipping sauce was more concentrated and thicker than the dipping sauces that are usually served with tempura at other restaurants. I thought it was a nice change as I typically find the dipping sauces too watered down.
Mamallama’s bowl of tonkotsu ramen looked pretty similar to mine, except with less chashu. The toppings were essentially the same. However, I actually preferred her broth over mine. It had a more clear pork flavour and it was creamier.
Baby-Paca got the same ramen I ordered but with the side of the mini Chicken Flame (+$5). The Chicken Flame is a spicy chicken don. The chicken was slathered in a tasty spicy sauce that tasted like gochujang (Korean red pepper paste) and teriyaki sauce. The chicken flame definitely had a Korean flair to it. I find that Japanese dishes generally don’t get very spicy, even when they advertise that they are, but the spiciness of the Chicken Flame creeps in on you after a few bites.
Totoro ordered the miso ramen with the mini tonkatsu ($9 + $6). The fried breaded pork cutlet was served with a homemade tomato sauce and lettuce salad. The breaded pork was not bad, but not good. It wasn’t oily or greasy. The breading was crispy, but could’ve been crispier. I didn’t like the tomato sauce though, it was reminiscent of borscht soup. I would’ve preferred if it were served with the usual tonkatsu sauce.
While our waitress was courteous, she seemed a little airy, but maybe it’s just the lack of experience. We ended up over-ordering and had enough left over for another meal. I could’ve done with just the ramen, but I was unaware that the original came with (2 slices of) chashu. If we ever feel like ramen again, we may come back to try their reman with a side of their Bombs. Apparently their seasoned seaweed teriyaki rice balls are literally the bomb. Baby-Paca had the genius idea of looking up reviews AFTER we had ordered.
KAMAMARUI RAMEN & DON
+1 (778) 379-8077
4219 Hastings Street, Burnaby