A couple of my co-workers decided recently to meet up regularly once a month for lunch on Friday at somewhere that we haven’t tried before. For our inaugural lunch, we decided to go to Kintaro Ramen Noodle in the West End of downtown Vancouver on Denman Street near Robson. A couple of us had heard many, many great things about this place, and it was a given that we would have to try it (plus, I was kind of surprised I had never been before)!
As per the status quo at Kintaro, we stood outside in the line up for about 15-20 minutes to get a seat inside the small, unassuming restaurant, out of the freezing cold weather we’ve been having lately. Regardless, the turnaround was super quick and we managed to snag a table towards the back (although it was still quite cold with vents blowing in cold air everywhere around us – dress in layers).
The menu is all on one page (plus it’s posted on the window outside so you’ll probably know what you want by the time you’re sitting down), and there are not a lot of options to choose from – as the name says, it’s ramen, ramen, and more ramen. Plus, you also have the choice to order a rich, medium or light broth, as well as the fatty or lean pork with whatever soup you pick, and there are plenty of add-ons available (like boiled eggs, bamboo shoots, nori, etc.).
This is where things went horribly wrong for me. If you know me at all, I’m the type of person that will eat the fat on the meat and find it to be the best part, so of course what did I order? Rich broth with fatty pork. And I added a boiled egg to the mix. This, with the BBQ Pork Ramen with Miso Broth option, which in and of itself comes with four pieces of pork, whereas the rest of the non-vegetarian soups come with a single one. As you can probably see in the picture below, there is a substantial amount of fat in this soup – probably my weekly limit.
So I started eating away at the soup, and though the noodles themselves were tasty, I was surprised at how quickly I slowed down. There were also plenty of corn, green onions, bean sprouts, and menma (bamboo shoots). The boiled egg was also great and so was my first piece of meat (don’t ask why I ate three). Now one thing to note here – in order to increase the richness of the broth, the cooks basically skim off the fat from the top of their pot of pork broth and put more in. These bowls are huge as well, so I probably got down to half of the soup when I stopped eating.
My friend tried the Cheese Ramen with Miso Broth. She also chose the rich broth and fatty pork and added egg, plus there were two different types of cheese on top. I figured that it might be a mild cheese, like mozzarella or something, but they both turned out to be quite sharp in taste (not quite sure what they were though). The texture was fun at first – adding a little bit of cheesy goodness to each spoonful (and I did try this out), but after awhile it just became so overwhelming! Definitely fun to try once, but I don’t really get the “Ladie’s L-OO-OO-VE it” comment on the description of this soup. Do we eat more cheese than men on average?
Probably the most conservative of us all in terms of food, the my other co-worker had the Miso Ramen with a Medium Broth and Lean Pork. Now I’d have to say she’s also the smartest of the three of us as she did not have an overly fat-saturated stomach in the office for the rest of the afternoon, while the rest of us could be heard groaning in pain every so often. On the menu it’s also noted that this is “Kintaro’s BEST!”
So there you have it. Please, please, I beg of you, if you’re going to try out Kintaro, do yourself a favour and order the light or medium broth at most. And unless you’re just eating a single portion of pork (or have a stomach made of steel), get the lean option.
I had my boyfriend’s company Christmas party that evening at Sanafir, and I spent the whole 3 hours watching everyone eat the tasting menu while I ran to the bathroom every few minutes and felt nauseous. My dinner that evening consisted of water to rehydrate myself (yes, it was that bad), gingerale, and some sips of vodka soda in hopes that it would kill the lingering fat in my stomach, and half a shot of jager (what, isn’t it supposed to be medicinal with all those herbs)? Unfortunately, I can no longer go back to this place again as it has forever been spoiled for me (and I only have myself to blame), but I hope that others out there have read this and will listen before it’s too late for you too.
Kintaro Ramen Noodle
788 Denman Street