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May 21, 2009 07:39 AM

Authentic vs. Westernized ramen (split from Ontario board)

Why does a place have to be "authentic" 99.9% of the people who will eat there probably have never been to Japan for Ramen nor Vietnam for Pho.. if it tastes good at a reasonable price point then you will may a sucessful business in a recession. If you start bringing over Noodle makers from Japan and importing strange ingredients that most people have never heard of you will loose money. If I want Authentic I go to the little hole in the wall places .. I do not complain that Ho Lee Chow is not Authentic because it should not be it is what it is...

At least they tell you here that they are not trying to be authentic they say they will serve a Westernised version.. so do not hold this against them..

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  1. I'm looking forward to seeing what westernized ramen will have in it. Goat cheese and prosciutto?

    1. I don't really care if they want to serve a westernized version or not, assuming it's good. Ho Lee Chow is not authentic, but it also isn't good. Most of the restaurants in the city that specifically focus on ramen didn't make a good bowl of ramen. I can hardly imagine a place more insistent upon laptop computers and how a bowl of ramen won't cost $20 (only $10!) and looks like Spring Rolls will be able to produce a decent bowl. I'm a bit skeptical, but I'll reserve judgment until I try the place.

      3 Replies
        1. re: tjr

          But my question is ... if you are a "ramen freak" why even try it? It is like my comment about Ho Lee Chow.. you know it is a westernised chain fast food (and it sucks).. if you love Chinese you should be smart enough to realise you will not like it.. (I only go when I want dayglow chicken balls!)

          If this place is not out to server authentic Ramen you SHOULD not go there if you will slag them based on your taste for the real thing..

          1. re: OnDaGo

            Because we hope for decent ramen in a city lacking decent ramen?

            ... or if they say they serve ramen and it sucks, we should say it sucks. Sorry, but bad restaurants don't get a pass just because they're bad AND inauthentic.

        2. Hey! This chocolate ice cream isn't vanilla!

          1. If something is called ramen, it triggers memories of taste/texutre that I associate with it. When it tastes nothing like it at all, it is a disappointment to say the least.

            There are lots of foods that fall into this category. You might not feel the same about ramen, but I'm sure you will feel the same level of sacrilege if one of your most beloved foods is bastardized into a pseudo wifi-coffee bar/lounge.

            Take a look at the level of debate authentic smoked meat, pizza, poutine, etc.... generates on here, that's how I feel about ramen too.

            18 Replies
            1. re: aser

              It said it will be serving "healthy and nutritious Japanese inspired food". It means that there will be no Tonkotsu (Pork Bone soupbase) ramen and fatty Japanese Cha Siu, why ? Because what make these things so delicious is the pork fat and lard ! Or they are going to tone down the fat to make it non-fat like the one we had on Izakaya ramen place (now closed) on Front.

              1. re: skylineR33

                Oh please let them have Tonkotsu and fatty Japanese Cha Siu! I can't afford a trip to Japan!

                  1. re: tjr

                    Exactly. If they want healthy noodle, why not consider the cantonese Wonton Noodle as the "next concept" ? We are lack of good one here. It is clear broth, no fatty stuff. Fit their healthy and nutritious criteria. But I guess it is hard to learn to make noodle with their leg and butt using the bamboo stick.

                    1. re: skylineR33

                      Have you guys had the ramen at Nota Bene? I don't think they have it at the moment, but when I went to try it, the bartender told me that they had moved it off the regular menu to a once-a-week special since it was so time consuming to make the broth and noodles. Sounds like it's worth checking out, eh?

                      1. re: Chester Eleganté

                        Hi Chester Eleganté, I do not see it on the menu, can you give us more info ? Thanks.

                        1. re: skylineR33

                          Sorry, all I can recall was that there was some chicken in the description. When I asked recently if it'd make a reappearance, the chef just gave an open-ended answer of "Anything is possible...".

                1. re: aser

                  I would agree IF they said they were opening up an authentic Ramen shop which they have not said.. if Pizza Pizza opens an new store in Liberty Village will you rant about it not being authentic Pizza? no because everyone knows they are fast food versions.. So if this place opens and makes it clear that they are not trying to open a traditional Ramen shop then I applaud them for not misleading you...

                  1. re: OnDaGo

                    I'm pretty sure no one thinks they're misleading anyone. We just want authentic ramen, not Spring Rolls (Ramen Edition).

                    1. re: tjr

                      Unfortunately, given the current economy, it makes better sense to cater to the masses than to those who want authenticity. Too bad for us, of course, but business is business.

                      1. re: Tatai

                        Believe me, once you try the authentic ramen, you will like it !! It just a matter that they don't know how to make it ! All these ramen places in Toronto are taking short cut.

                        1. re: skylineR33

                          I'm positive we'd all adore it, skylineR33! And kicking myself that I didn't join my daughter and my sister as they're touring Japan right now. I've been getting reports of incredible food. Sigh...

                          1. re: skylineR33

                            skylineR33, any wonderful ramen places you can recommend in Kyoto? That's where they are now. (Or any other fantastic restaurants, for that matter?)

                            1. re: Tatai

                              Just walk in to anyone, most of them have their own little twist. Probably your family knows about it, but "The path of Ramen" at the Kyoto station is a good choice to try different type of ramen and it is very convenient. There are 6 to 7 ramen shops in there !


                      2. re: OnDaGo

                        It still doesn't mean I can't be disappointed by another poor imitation of ramen invading the city.

                        Pizza isn't an apt comparison as people know what pizza is. Most people have no idea what ramen even is, they think it's just the instant noodle stuff. Lots of people will walk away from eating at places like these thinking that's what ramen should be.

                        chester - No, I haven't had the ramen at Nota Bene. Surprised they would even attempt it as to your stated reasons (labour intensive).

                        1. re: aser

                          HOw about we all just wait until the place opens up? Yeah, it will probably suck, but who know? Maybe they will surpise us.

                          1. re: acd123

                            Here's to hoping for a fabulous surprise!

                            1. re: Davedigger

                              Check out the post from the owner on the Toronto thread.

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