I don’t have a drop of Japanese blood in me, but ramen is the kind of food that soothes my soul. Whenever I am in one of ‘those’ moods – sick, sad or stressed – I can always count on a steaming hot bowl of ramen to lift my spirits.
I trudged home one day on a Friday afternoon, with a blistering headache, having survived one of the toughest weeks I’ve encountered. I was already running late for a lunch date with my dad and I only had time to do a quick google for a ramen place near my apartment. We arrived at Shop Ramen, hAngry (not hungry). Without waiting for my dad to take his reading glasses out, I skimmed over the menu and ordered the first two dishes that looked like they were sure-to-please.
I had the Pork Belly Ramen, with shoyu broth, oyster mushroom, fresh spring onion, marinated egg and crispy nori. What impressed me the most was that every element of this dish was cooked to perfection. Usually, the selling point of ramen is the broth, maybe the noodles. The soup would be undoubtedly be rich and flavorful, but the condiments were nothing to rave about. In this bowl of ramen, the pork belly was succulent and grilled to perfection, the slightly sauteed mushroom melted in your mouth, the egg had texture and flavor, the noodles were definition of al dante, and the soup did not fall short either. With every bite, I became more intrigued as the plot thickened. It was a somber moment I reached the bottom of the empty bowl.
I ordered the Beef Brown Rice Bowl, with slow roasted brisket, soft egg, herbs, carrot, pickled cucumber, mizuna and salsa verde for my dad. The big descriptor that I missed was “served chilled”. I expected a Bibimbap-like sizzling stone bowl, one of my dad’s all-time favourites. When it arrived looking like a summer salad, I was very confused. After trying a mouthful, I retracted my initial judgements and came to the conclusion that this deliciously refreshing beef and rice salad, was precisely what I should’ve expected when dining on Smith Street. It was a tastefully executed twist on Japanese cuisine. By no means was it an authentic Japanese dish, but enjoyed it thoroughly in all it’s creativity.
I’ve only been living in Collingwood for 5 days, but so far, my tastebuds are tingling with excitement for more food adventures.
Lots of love,