No Ramen No Life, a catch cry for ramen lovers, is the slogan at this unpretentious two storey ramen bar in Chinatown's Haymarket. Here you'll find big bowls of steaming hot ramen with some of the best soups you'll ever find. Upstairs is ideal for a group or sit at the ramen bar downstairs for the ramen bar experience.
I came across Yasaka ramen because Mr NQN's new job is located right next to Yasaka Ramen. He knew of it because he'd see queues outside and it is actually Mochi's favourite places to sniff when she goes for a walk. It's an early weeknight when I finally get around to visiting. A ramen machine sits in the front window of the store and we are directed upstairs to a table.
At 6:30pm on a Wednesday night it is already very full and we nab a table from the headphone clad staff speaking into their Madonna headpieces. Staff are very friendly and lovely and give us some confident recommendations.
I'm very susceptible to smells. Like if I smell something delicious I want to order it. Like this 18 piece chicken karaage set that comes in your choice of flavours. we chose one of each: a plain original, a spring onion with ponzu mayonnaise and a spicy. They're all good, it's hard to choose a favourite but it would probably be the spring onion and ponzu mayo one with some extra sesame seeds and pickled ginger from the help yourself condiment bar.
I am powerless to resist bao because I adore that crunchy soft textural combo. The prawn katsu bao doesn't disappoint at all, in fact I'm reluctant to hand over half to Mr NQN. The spicy mayonnaise has a really nice chilli hit to it too.
I adore the grilled kakuni pork ramen with a shoyu broth. It's said to be their signature ramen and has a large piece of sweet pork bone that has been slow cooked and then grilled to give it a crispy texture on the outside. It's distinctly sweet but melts in the mouth. I could eat this again and again it's so moreish and I think I'd even order another piece of kakuni pork if I were feeling greedy.
The charshu ramen with a shoyu broth doesn't quite look as plentiful in charshu as the menu picture but it's a wonderful ramen, especially the soup. The ramen itself is quite good although I prefer it a bit springier (a la Ryo's) but the silky rich soups here are the real highlight for me. The charshu is thinly sliced and unctuous in texture. Unlike other places though you do have to order your onsen eggs separately as only two ramens have them included.
Having eaten more than our fill we go to leave and pay. It's cash only here. And as we leave the queue has grown noticeably!
So tell me Dear Reader, are you seduced by smells? What is your favourite food smell? And do you believe in no ramen, no life?
This meal was independently paid for.
126 Liverpool St, Sydney NSW 2000
Monday to Saturday 11:30am–10pm
www.yasakaramen.com.au Phone: (02) 9262 9027