I’d been down Denman in Vancouver many times before and had passed the quaint little ramen shop by the name of Kintaro Ramen each time and I had glanced at the menu, with its cheese ramen (apparently, “the ladies loooove it!”), but I’d never bothered to get into the queue. It was only this year, when my brother’s friends gave it the thumbs up, that I managed to finally head over there.
After meeting a group of friends at the corner of Denman and Georgia, and then watching a massive bicycle rally go through that exact corner, we strolled down towards the tiny restaurant where there was already a queue outside. The deal seems to be as such: you take your place at the end of the queue and everyone in your party must be there at the time. The queue works on a first come, first served basis – if there are 2 seats available, but a group of 4 in front of your party of 2, you’ll have to wait until they are seated first. Fair enough. To hasten things, you’re given the menu (in both English and Japanese) to pursue and your order is taken while you’re waiting outside. We queued for about half an hour at around 7pm on a Friday night.
When you’re finally seated, there’s still quite a wait while your order is prepared. Luckily, we didn’t have to wait too long for our gyoza.
These gyoza were fried very nicely and separated easily, something that I’d never seen before. Most gyoza I’ve had tend to be stuck together and so there’s always a bit of ripping of skin as we pry them from each other. The flavour was very good – quite porky but these were also the first I’ve had where the filling is quite finely minced, almost like a mousse.
After we scoffed the gyoza, it was still quite a wait until we received our bowls of ramen. As I’d never been there before, I went quite middle of the road with my order. I chose the miso ramen (their special recipe) with medium strength broth (rich and light broths also available). Their broth is pork based and vegetarians are not catered for – keep that in mind if you’re planning to visit! Each ramen also comes with a serving of pork, available in both lean and fat versions. Of course, I chose the fat!
And this is what arrived – it was a massive, and heavy, bowl of noodles. The broth was opaque and you could see from the globules of fat and tiny particles of meat in the broth that it is very pork based! It’s so rich that I don’t even want to imagine what the rich level of broth is like. But it was delicious. The miso flavour is not as strong as in regular miso soup but adds a lovely creaminess to the broth.
Fatty pork is also the way to go – you get this Swiss roll of pork belly that has both tender meat and melting fat. A friend of my brother had the lean pork and they were drier slices of pork loin. My brother had their shoyu ramen, with soy sauce in the broth, and this was just as delicious, with lots of pepper to flavour it.
We were in and out of the restaurant in under 35 minutes, excluding queuing time, which shows how fast we slurped it all up. Now I’m keen to return again to try their cheese ramen, which comes topped with, you guessed it, a big pile of cheese. It’s supposed to go very well with the broth!
788 Denman St.