There are times when a meal can feel like a religious awakening.
That first bite hits your mouth and it’s so shockingly good, it feels as though the heavens have opened up just for your taste buds.
Usually, I just throw my head back and stare at the ceiling – thanking the chef gods for making me feel such bliss.
I felt that recently during my first bite of a certain bowl of ramen. I never know what type of ramen to order. They all look and sound good. I usually steer away from the spicier bowls because my palette is a tad delicate.
This time, I saw the words “chicken karaage ramen” and knew I had to try it.
I love chicken karaage. It’s my go-to hot item when I am feasting on a platter of sushi and sashimi.
So ramen + chicken karaage felt like a match made in heaven (I’m rolling with the religious theme, even though I’m an atheist).
I was at Jinya Ramen in Metrotown and it was the chef’s special, with chicken broth, crispy chicken dressed with chili sauce, green onion, bamboo shoots, seasoned egg and nori dried seawood and a thin noodle.
I prefer thin noodles, whether it’s Asian dishes or wanting angel hair pasta when I go Italian. (Nothing worse for me than a giant slab of fettuccini noodles to make me feel I’m slogging through a Bataan death march at the table.)
Jinya’s broths are outstanding. Thick, but not syrupy like some ramen places where a chopstick could probably stand up on its own.
I know ramen isn’t for everyone. Some people, like my friend, prefer pho because of the lighter broth. She complains that ramen is too fatty and I’m like, well, yeah, that’s what makes it so awesome.
It also depends on what toppings you decided to add to your ramen. Jinya had “butter” as a topping and while I toyed with the idea (because butter almost always makes things better in life), I decided against it lest my heart stop right there in the restaurant.
I agree, ramen is insanely rich and so I have to be in the right mood for it, whereas I can literally eat pho anytime.
But when I’m in that right mood and you get a bowl as fine as Jinya’s was, well, let’s just say the Earth moved.
DISCLAIMER: I was not paid by this restaurant to write this blog. They also had no idea I was writing about them. I just love writing about food.
Follow Chris Campbell on Twitter @shinebox44.