Ya Kun Kaya Toast, National Museum of Singapore, and Singapore River Cruise

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The next morning, we decided to go to 313@Somerset, which is a shopping mall along Orchard Road. Our goal was to have our favourite kaya toast at Ya Kun Kaya Toast. There are outlets all across Singapore so be sure to try it whenever you see one. However, since we were planing to walk around the Orchard area after, this was a great spot for us. If you are deciding between Toast Box or Ya Kun, I highly suggest Ya Kun as the toast tastes much better! I started with a Hot Tea which comes with my set.

 

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Since it wasn’t our first time here, S decided to try the Kaya Peanut Toast. It is essentially the kaya toast but with peanut butter as well. If you haven’t had kaya before, it is sort of like a coconut spread. It is typically made of sugar, coconut milk and eggs, pandan, and sometimes margarine or butter. It is a common breakfast dish for Singaporeans or Malaysians. S also got a Chocolate Frosty to quench his thirst.

 

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For myself, I got the traditional Kaya Toast with Butter. Kaya toast is not exactly healthy as the kaya often comes with slabs of butter, but it tastes amazing! Guilty pleasures! The value sets also come with soft boiled eggs which you whisk together with some soy sauce and pepper. You can dip your toast into the egg mixture for a different experience!

 

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After brunch, we walked around Orchard Road and checked out some fancy department stores. We decided to check out the Singapore Visitor Centre which I suggest stopping by if you’re in the area. You can get all the maps you need and purchase any tourist tickets you’re looking for. They also have a small souvenir shop with some cute Singaporean items. On the second floor, they have an exhibition which changes and they have free tours  at 10:30 am, 11:30 am, and 4pm based on first come first serve. For example, when we went, it was close to mid-autumn festival, so they were actually teaching visitors how to make mooncakes! Unfortunately we just missed the start time!

 

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Right next to the Singapore Visitor Centre on Orchard Road is Emerald Hill, a neighbourhood which was a former home to many members of the city-state’s wealthy Peranakan community. The architecture here brings you back to the past and I especially loved the colourful buildings. Some of them are now bars so you can grab a quick drink here as well. Otherwise, it’s a nice detour from the modernized Orchard Road which doesn’t take too long.

 

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Our next stop was the National Museum of Singapore. For whatever reason, we decided we could walk 20 minutes from along Orchard Road to the museum. But it got confusing and after being lost for a while, we finally found the beautiful white building! The museum is just off the Fort Canning Park, so you can also quickly check that out. During our stay in Singapore this time, we used KLOOK to buy almost all our admission tickets. You download the app and it’s so quick and easy to use. For example, for the museum tickets, they normally go for $15SGD but we were able to get a $1SGD discount on KLOOK. It doesn’t seem much but it adds up and some of the other attractions are more heavily discounted. Plus, all you do is show them the QR code and oftentimes you can bypass the lineup.

 

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Anyways, we had a really good time at the National Museum of Singapore. Given I did not know much of the history, I found the museum to be extremely informative and well laid out. The exhibits were entertaining and dates back from 1887 to present day. You can definitely spend a couple of hours here and I have to add the exterior and interior is visually appealing! Great for those who want to get some Instagram pictures! They also had a Glass Rotunda which featured a cool interactive forest display.

 

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We also wandered over to Istana Park where we found the Festival Arch. Opposite to this is The Istana which is the official residence and office of the President of Singapore. Unfortunately, we are not allowed to visit the Istana Grounds although it is actually open to the public five days a year on special holidays.

 

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After lots of walking, we headed back towards Orchard Road to ION, a shopping mall. We were getting tired and hungry, so we decided to look around for food. We decided to settle on Hong Kong Wonton Noodle 香港雲吞面. I got the Prawn Wonton Noodle and it was actually pretty good. Noodles were chewy and broth was flavourful.

 

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We then decided to take the bus to the Clarke Quay area. After getting off the bus, we were greeted by the colourful MICA Building, also known as the Old Hill Street Police Station. There are 927 windows with colourful shutters!

 

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As we walked toward the water, you’ll find the famous Clarke Quay signage. This riverside district has some shopping, but it is more famous for the night clubs and night life along the water. Some of these restaurants/pubs are floating on water!

 

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We came to Clarke Quay mainly because I wanted to go on the Singapore River Cruise. Again, we purchased this through KLOOK because it is slightly discounted but mainly because you can cut the line to purchase tickets and it also seemed like we were able to get into a fast track line. We simply showed them our QR code and we were on the boat in no time. I suggest going on this cruise in the evening because the night lights in Singapore are very enjoyable.

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The boat is quite nice with seating outside as well as covered seating.

 

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Seating is really just benches but it is very clean. I suggest sitting outside to take advantage of the 360 view.

 

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The boat ride is roughly 40 minutes and departs every 30 minutes. The last boat departs at 10:30pm. The boat will stop by different spots such as Fullerton, Merlion Park, and the Esplanade. You can choose to disembark at the spots, but you won’t be able to get back on. I suggest just staying on to enjoy the full ride. I also liked how they had English audio playing with some basic commentary of what you were seeing. This made it informative if you weren’t sure what the buildings were.

 

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This is a great activity if you’re only in Singapore for a few days as you can see all the signature spots in just under an hour. I highly recommend this! On KLOOK, an adult ticket costs USD$17.

 

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After we enjoyed the cruise, we headed back to the Clarke Quay area to walk around the pubs. There are many Western style pubs in this area, but keep in mind that alcohol in Singapore is quite pricey!

 

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We decided not to indulge in the pricey alcohol, but instead on some dessert. Ended our night with some hazelnut cake and rested our feet before heading home!

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Tim Ho Wan 添好運 – Singapore

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Tim Ho Wan is a famous dim sum restaurant because it was awarded a Michelin star. As we walked around Plaza Singapura, I noticed the restaurant and suggested we give it a try! Since getting a Michelin star in their Hong Kong locations, they have opened up several locations outside of Hong Kong, including in Singapore. I don’t believe this location has a Michelin star though.

 

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Bean Curd Skin Roll with Shrimp

We started off with the Bean Curd Skin Roll with Shrimp which was crispy and not too greasy. Each bite had shrimp and had a nice chew.

 

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Steamed Rice Roll with BBQ Pork

The Steamed Rice Roll with BBQ Pork featured a thin and smooth rice rolls and was packed with flavourful pork.

 

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Poached Fresh Seasonal Vegetables

Of course, we had to get some vegetable so we just got the Poached Fresh Seasonal Vegetables. Nothing special as they were just poached and dressed with soy sauce.

 

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Pan Fried Turnip Cake

The Pan Fried Turnip Cake was crispy on the outside. No complaints!

 

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Baked BBQ Pork Buns

And last but not least was the star of Tim Ho Wan and also a must order! The Baked BBQ Pork Buns were definitely one of the best I’ve had. The bun was a bit sweet on the exterior and extremely crispy and soft inside. It was filled with a sweet and savoury mixture of BBQ pork. Really enjoyed it and highly suggest ordering this.

Overall, Tim Ho Wan did not disappoint. I thought the other menu items were good but nothing too special. Probably because we are pretty spoiled back at home in Richmond and Vancouver. However, the Baked BBQ Pork Buns were definitely a star. Pricing is also great given it’s a Michelin restaurant! I will have to try the original one in Hong Kong but for now this will do!

 

 

Bánh Mì Très Bon

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Bánh Mì Très Bon was one of the earlier restaurants to open up when Central at Garden City opened up. I heard great things about this new Vietnamese spot, but my heart always fell to Pho 37 when I had a pho craving so it wasn’t until recently that I tried it. The restaurant is very busy during peak hours on the weekends, so try to come a bit earlier. The seating is not the comfiest as the restaurant is pretty small, but the service is extremely friendly and attentive. I especially loved their wooden board menu which is super hipster! The interior is also well decorated and gives you a cute homey feel.

 

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Pho Tai Bo Vien

I decided to go for the Pho Tai Bo Vien or pho noodle soup with beef tenderloin and meatballs. The best part about the pho is it comes with a huge bone marrow as well! They will ask you if you’re okay with it and can take it out if you don’t want it. The broth itself is quite clear and light but there is a slight kick to it from the jalapenos which are already in the soup. You can add bean sprouts, basil and lime to your broth which are in this super cute boat! It should also be noted that their beef is grass fed and hormone free and they do not use any MSG. As the broth was more on the lighter side, I personally preferred Pho37’s pho because I enjoy deeper flavours.

 

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Lemongrass Chicken Vermicelli Bowl

S got the Lemongrass Chicken Vermicelli Bowl which comes with spring rolls. S noted that the bowl was quite delicious but that it was a bit difficult to mix everything together especially after adding the fish sauce as the bowl was too small and the ingredients were spilling out.

Overall, I enjoyed the food we had but thought the items were priced slightly higher. But then again, the service and ambiance is nicer than many pho shops so you probably pay the extra price for that. Hope to return to try their other items!

Pros:
– Quality ingredients and well presented dishes
– Friendly service and cute ambiance

Cons:
– Menu is slightly more expensive

Price Range: $15-20 per person

1: Terrible 2: Poor 3: Average 4: Good 5: Excellent

Food: 3.5 Service: 3.5 Ambiance: 3.5 Parking: Free parking at complex Overall: 3.5

 

Bánh Mi Très Bon Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sen Pad Thai

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I’ve heard many great things about Sen Pad Thai, which is part of the large group of restaurants Chef Angus An runs. The shop used to be inside The Loft at Granville Island, but recently moved to The Granville Island Public Market where the rest of the restaurants are. It is more of a food court set up to be honest, where you order and pay up front first and find your own seat in the area or take out. I liked how they give you a buzzer so you can wander around until it buzzes which means your food is ready.

 

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The shop offers a variety of noodles, curries, and a few appetizers. The prices are roughly all $12- $15 which is a bit pricey given you’re eating in a food court setting. However, we were pleasantly surprised that the portions were pretty reasonable given the price.

 

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Crispy Wings with Thai Garlic

We started off sharing the Crispy Wings with Thai Garlic which were served with a tamarind sauce. The wings were rather small in size but they were very crispy with the inside moist. I enjoyed the flavours and especially when dipped in the tamarind sauce which was a bit acidic and sweet.

 

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Pad Thai

I heard great things about the Pad Thai so had to give this a try. The pad thai was served with tamarind, tofu and egg. The portion of this dish was huge! I kept eating and it didn’t end! This is great to be shared between two if you’re going to have an appetizer as well.

 

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The noodles were chewy and not overly dressed in sauce. It was quite flavourful but I would’ve liked it to have a bit of a kick. Seems like they do not add any spice unless you ask or you can add their homemade chili sauces which is on the side when you pick up your order.

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Pad Siew Beef

My favourite dish we tried was the Pad Siew Beef which featured fresh rice sheet noodles stir-fried with beef, gai lan and egg. This dish had so much “wok-hay” which is hard to find. The noodles were also a new type of noodles I’ve never tried before. They were translucent and wide and very chewy. The beef was tender and I loved the gai lan which added a bit of crunch. A must try if you’d like to try something new.

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Overall, we really enjoyed the dishes at Sen Pad Thai. They have great wok flavour and the portions are very generous for the price. You’ll have to scout around the market place for a seat during peak hours though!

Pros:
– Dishes have great flavour and “wok hay”

Cons:
– A bit pricey for food court setting

Price Range: $15-20 per person

1: Terrible 2: Poor 3: Average 4: Good 5: Excellent

Food: 4 Service: 3.5 Ambiance: N/A Parking: Free and paid parking in Granville Island Overall: 4

 

Sen Pad Thai Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

 

Baiyulan Shanghai Cuisine

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Baiyulan is the new Chen’s Shanghai Kitchen after the old location was being used for redevelopment. The new location is quite spacious and even has a patio during the summer. I have to say it’s a bit odd to eat Chinese food on a patio though! The menu seems to be pretty much the same. During peak hours, there is a short wait as it seems to be quite popular.

 

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Xiao Long Bao

To start, we had the Xiao Long Bao with one order consisting of 6 dumplings. The skin was fairly thin and the inside was pretty juicy. Although I still much prefer the ones from Yuan’s Garden as they have the most soup. Still, these are fairly priced and pretty good.

 

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Beef Wrap

We also tried the Beef Wrap but this was pretty disappointing. The dough was very pale and white but the main issue was there wasn’t enough hoisin sauce so the wrap was rather dry.

 

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Pan Fried Shanghai Noodles

Last but not least, we had the Pan Fried Shanghai Noodles which is a staple dish we order at Shanghainese restaurants. The dish was large with the noodles being chewy and not overly oily. It was very flavourful and the amount of ingredients in the dish was just right.

Overall, Baiyulan is a great option for Shanghainese food in Richmond. Not my favourite one but it’s up on the list when I’m thinking of a spot to go to. Service was actually not bad and they were pretty responsive.

Pros:
– Decent eats at reasonable prices
– Service is pretty quick

Cons:
– Good but nothing to rave about

Price Range: $15-20 per person

1: Terrible 2: Poor 3: Average 4: Good 5: Excellent

Food: 3.5 Service: 3.5 Ambiance: 3 Parking: Free parking in complex Overall: 3.5

 

Baiyulan Shanghai Cuisine Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Superbaba

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Superbaba is one of the newest food trucks in the downtown core. It opened up earlier this year and parks in front of the Bentall Towers on the weekdays. The food truck has a restaurant in Victoria so not a stranger to BC. It caught my attention after seeing so many people lining up.

 

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The food truck features Middle Eastern food and focusses on pita wraps and bowls. The dishes range from $10-$12 so fairly priced for the downtown lunch crowd. They have two vegetarian options including falafels and eggplants, but also two meat options including chicken and steak.

 

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Falafel Bowl

I decided to go for the Falafel Bowl which featured chickpea fritters, fried cauliflower, tomato & cucumber salad, hummus, pickled cabbage, tahini, and shug. All bowls have a base of dressed kale and arugula and chilled rice and lentils. Being a meat lover, this vegetarian dish was absolutely delicious. These are probably the best falafels I’ve had. The falafels were so crispy on the outside and moist and flavourful inside. The hummus was smooth and not too garlicky and the fried cauliflowers were again crispy and crunchy with a nice acidity. Even the pickled cabbage and salads tasted great. I thought I would be hungry given most of the dish were vegetables, but I was surprisingly full. Highly recommend this dish!

Based on the falafel bowl, I am already loving Superbaba. I can’t wait to come back to try their wraps and other dishes. There’s a bit of a wait during lunch hours, but they’re pretty quick after you place your order. Plus, the people are super nice. Will be back to try more soon!

Pros:
– One of the best falafels I’ve had
– Reasonably priced

Cons:
– Line up can get pretty long during peak hours

Price Range: $10-15 per person

1: Terrible 2: Poor 3: Average 4: Good 5: Excellent

Food: 4.5 Service: 3.5 Ambiance: N/A Parking: N/A Overall: 4.5

 

Superbaba Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Matsuzushi

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I’m sure by now you have hear about the $25 omakase at Matsuzushi. Given the rising prices in the city, $25 for an omakase is definitely hard to come by. I’m guessing the main reason for the low price is due to the location. Located in Port Moody, just down the streets from where the breweries are located, Matsuzushi is run by just a husband and wife team. Decor is minimal if not barely any, and service is on the slower side as only the husband prepares the sushi while the wife serves the food.

 

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Try to make reservations in advance if possible, although the restaurant was pretty empty when we visited. However, if you want to sit at the bar to get the full omakase experience, then you should call in advance and let them know. The chef will have some fish cut ahead of time while he is not too busy so it makes things quicker given he’s a one man show. If you sit at the bar, then he will serve you each nigiri one piece at a time and also brush the soy sauce for you. If you sit at the tables away from the bar, then he will serve the sushi all at once or in two parts in a tray and you’ll need to dip your sushi in soy sauce yourself.

 

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As noted, you can also order a la carte. But given you can get 11 pieces plus a hand roll for $25, the deal for omakase is much better. Of course, the chef’s choice of fish will change daily, so you might not get what you want. I also like how you can order rolls and other appetizers here and all are quite reasonably priced.

 

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I can’t quite remember what all the type of fish we got were as the chef did not really explain what we got as he placed it down on our plate. However, if you ask, he will tell you. I just didn’t really bother asking as he seemed quite busy.

 

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Tuna

The Tuna was among my favourites. It was fresh and had a melt in your mouth texture.

 

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Hamachi (Yellowtail Tuna) 

 

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Ebi (Shrimp)

 

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Ika (Squid)

 

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Heart Clam

The Heart Clam was one I’ve never tried before. Very interesting and has a very strong seafood taste.

 

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The rice to fish portion was just right and I thought they were very well constructed.

 

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Mantis Shrimp

I’ve also never had Mantis Shrimp for sushi before so this was very interesting. The shrimp was very chewy and reminded me of dried squid. I think I much prefer having this fully cooked and flavoured like at Hong Kong restaurants.

 

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Heart Clam

For some reason, we got a Heart Clam again and this ended our omakase with only 9 pieces instead of 11. Either I forgot to take a picture, but I’m pretty sure he just missed two pieces. My friend had ordered a la carte, while the other two of us ordered omakase, so I think he got confused with which number we were at given he serves piece by piece and he was trying to make sure my a la carte friend had something to eat every time. We probably could have said something, but I was actually pretty full already and didn’t want to make a fuss. If one of your diners are going to order a la carte, I would suggest sitting at the table so the chance of him missing a piece is lower since he will present all the sushi at once at he table.

 

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Negitoro Hand Roll

To finish, he handed us over a Negitoro Hand Roll which was absolutely delicious! The toro was very fresh and the seaweed was very crispy.

Overall, I was really pleased with the quality of sushi at Matsuzushi. The omakse also includes a bowl of miso soup. Although I wished we had toro and uni like I saw other diners had, it really depends daily so hard to guess what ingredients you’ll get. However, given the whole set is only $25, it’s really hard to beat this price given the quality. Service is also a bit slow, but the chef is very friendly despite his lack of English. It’s quite a drive out if you don’t live nearby, but worth checking out at least once or if you happen to be in the area.

Pros:
– Good deal for $25 omakase
– Fish taste fresh and nigiri are well constructed

Cons:
– Service is slow

Price Range: $25 per person for omakse

1: Terrible 2: Poor 3: Average 4: Good 5: Excellent

Food: 4.5 Service: 2.5 Ambiance: 2.5 Parking: Meter parking along the street Overall: 4

 

Matsuzushi Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

 

Yaguchiya Ramen

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Looking for a lunch spot near Metrotown, I suggested we try Yaguchiya Ramen since it was just across the Metrotown mall. The interior was very simple with barely any renovations done. In the summer, they only had a fan so it was quite hot. The restaurant features iekei style ramen that originates from Yokohama, Japan. Iekei ramen is the perfect balance of the Tonkotsu style from Kyushu and Shoyu style from Tokyo.

 

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Yaguchiya Special Ramen

S chose the Yaguchiya Special Ramen which features a pork and chicken broth, 3 piece of pork chashu, seasoned egg, spinach, roasted seaweed, and leek. You can choose between regular, medium, and large and S chose the medium. You can also customize the amount of fat, texture of noodles, and amount of soy sauce. The broth was much clearer than a tonkotsu so fairly light. Noodles are the yellow squiggly type so I personally am not a huge fan as I enjoy the Fukuoka style straight thin noodles.

 

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Shoyu Ramen

For myself, I chose the Shoyu Ramen and ordered a regular size. The Shoyu Ramen had a pork and chicken broth, two slices of pork chashu, spinach, and roasted seaweed. I paid $1.50 to add a seasoned egg. I thought the broth was light and not too salty. However, the pork was a bit too dry for me. A regular also had a lot of noodles and I could barely finish my ramen which usually never happens! On the table, customers can also add complimentary condiments included grated garlic, chili paste, ginger, pepper and vinegar. On the wall, they recommend how much of these condiments you should add.

Overall, I thought the ramen was just average. It definitely does not compete with the ones in downtown and it wasn’t very memorable. Service was friendly and attentive though. They seem to still attract regulars who are in the area given there aren’t many ramen shops nearby.

Pros:
– Large portions for reasonable prices
– Broth is light and not greasy

Cons:
– Ramen and toppings are quite average

Price Range: $10-15 per person

1: Terrible 2: Poor 3: Average 4: Good 5: Excellent

Food: 3 Service: 3 Ambiance: 2.5 Parking: Paid meter parking on street Overall: 3

 

Yaguchiya Ramen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato