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Ramen Sanpachi now open - 1st Canadian shop of Hokkaido chain

Looks like the ramen wars are heating up!

Ramen Sanpachi has taken over the location formerly occupied by Royal Thai - 770 Bute next to Steamrollers. According to the press, this is their first North American location with the next shop opening in Edmonton in January.

The article said that Sanpanchi chose Vancouver due to the success of Santouka in the Vancouver market and our familiarity with ramen. They're planning on rolling out 20 shops on the continent over the next 5 years.They have 69 shops in Japan and already have a few set up in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Korea. It sounds like the Japanese economy is still in the doldrums, so we may see more ramen chains heading into foreign markets like Canada to grow their business.

Sanpachi website and menu here:

They're in their soft opening phase so not all the menu items are available yet. I'm going to try it this weekend - not crowded yet but that won't last long once word gets out to the ramen aficionados around town.

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  1. Nice one, Kentan. I too will make a foray soon.

    1. Arigato Kentan for the info. Stopped in this afternoon for a bowl. Full menu will have gyoza, rice balls, different bento boxes / rice bowls, desserts, and other set menus. There's also a full array of booze available from beer, sake, cocktails, whiskey, and so on, which makes it different from the other ramen places.

      There are only full bowls available for the moment; it looks like half-bowl options will come soon . You can have the regulars (shio, shoyu, miso, spicy, cha-shu, negi) or a couple I've not seen before here like corn and butter (the photo of the stick of butter in the menu looks like it's 2 tablespons) or yatai ( the most traditional ramen which is a mixture of shio and shoyu). I got the yatai. I was later told that yatai is similar to the ramen stand versions where the stock is limited and there's few veggies since there's little time to soften them up. It seemed counter-intuitive for a sit-down place, but it was delicious. Firm noodles, clean pork broth, with tender pieces of cha-shu. I got an extra order of the cha-shu to add to the bowl. Can't wait to try other bowls.

      1. Anyone know if this place is open on Sundays?

        1. Sanpachi website and menu here:

          Can anybody translate the ramen types on the second and third page on their site. I can make out the first page which is the traditional ramen types, but whats with the second and third pages?

          thanks a million

          4 Replies
          1. re: mikeyjrd

            I can give it a shot...working from the top of the second page down to the end of the third page:

            sapporo chou-miso ramen (strong miso)
            sanma-men (pike fish)
            stir fried miso ramen
            burned/seared shoyu ramen
            tonkotsu (pork bone) ramen
            something something shoyu tsuke-men (can't read the small print and don't know the 4 character compound...something to do with concentrated and seared - tsukemen is generally spicy IIRC)
            butter corn ramen
            cha-shu ramen
            negi ramen (green onion)
            vegetable ramen
            egg ramen
            half ramen

            hope this helps...

              1. re: jerkstore

                thanks for the help,..with these translations, I can kind of figure out how they do the ramen

                burned/seared shoyu ramen & stir fried miso ramen ?? <--- I think you cook the noodles & soup together for a while before serving; instead of pouring soup to noodles and serve.. am I right??

                i think the tsukemen is dipping ramen served with hot / cold noodle...the dip is shoyu & fish-bone based..

                looking back at the first page, whats with the two shoyu ramen?? third one says original shoyu ramen?? and the two shio ramen (4th & 5th). <-- need some help on translating those two sets as well

                from the looks of it, their ramen is mostly miso and/or shoyu based, i think i'll try the sanma-men, tonkotsu ramen, and the tsukemen


                For the people who went to this place, how much of the menu do they have as of right now?
                first page only...please report back..

                1. re: mikeyjrd

                  The description for the stir fried one implies that a spicy meat and vegetable stir fry is made first with the noodles and soup added after, I think. The description for the one I translated as "burned/seared shoyu ramen" is too tiny to read...the characters are too blurry when I blow it up...does say something about stir-fried veg as well, and possibly meat is cooked in shoyu first?

                  The third one on the first page is motogumi shoyu ramen, which best I can tell is just a name - my guess would be it's a different shoyu broth made with a darker shoyu - onions are added for sweetness it says as well.

                  The 4th on that page is just shio ramen; the 5th is old-fashioned ramen made with dashi broth.

                  Phew. I haven't been yet but all this menu reading is making me hungry...maybe a trip this weekend...will report back if I give it a go.

            1. I popped in this evening for a quick bowl of ramen. They specialize in miso ramen, but chose to order the tonkotsu.

              The broth was light and sweet (much lighter and sweeter than my local benchmark broth from Santuoka). I like my ramen noodles firm and toothsome so I ordered them "katame". The noodles had a nice spring but were perhaps a bit softer than I prefer (I like my ramen almost grainy to the tooth). It was all topped with some green onion, chasu, nori (a square propped up at the edge of the bowl) and strips of bamboo shoots (and an nicely cooked egg for a extra buck). They drizzled some "mayu" (charred garlic oil) which added a nice charred-caramelized note.

              Overall a good bowl or ramen. It doesn't knock Santouka off the top spot IMO. Definitely a cut above Benkei and Kintaro.

              I did take photos...but I'm a bit lazy this evening.

              2 Replies
              1. re: fmed

                Was the "mayu" on the counter / table or did you have to ask for it? I like that stuff.

                1. re: el_lobo_solo

                  The ramen came with it already drizzled on top. I'm sure you can ask for some extra on the side. They seem eager to please.

              2. I went Thursday for lunch around 11:40. It wasn't full yet so we got a table. It's pretty small in there. About half the seats are counter seats along the window, with about 5 small tables in the whole place. In a nutshell, I thought the ramen was a bit better than Benkei but not nearly as good as Ramen Santouka. I ordered the "Yatai" ramen, which is their "traditional ramen stand" noodles that came with nori, chashu, bamboo and 2 pieces of bread (?!). I had the combo with a half order of ramen and a bowl of chashu on rice. Good experience. I'll be back this weekend for another taste :)

                In the pics, you'll see that I had the combo one, my lady friend had the tonkotsu and my guy friend had the miso. A couple other people had spicy ramen, which I forgot to take pics of. They said it tasted good. My noodles were plenty firm with having to order them "katame".

                1 Reply
                1. re: flowbee


                  The bread is, well, kind of just that. Pieces of wheat gluten found in various shapes and sizes.

                  Always seemed incongruous to me too.

                2. Larger menu now with bento boxes and izakaya-style dishes. 2nd location open at 3132 W. Broadway but can't confirm with any other website yet.

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: el_lobo_solo

                    3132 West Broadway?!? Be still my heart! Thanks els -- will check it out ASAP.

                    1. re: grayelf

                      There is a Benkei Ramen at 3217 West Broadway.

                      1. re: grayelf

                        Went by and no sign of Sanpachi on that side of the block, though there are (sadly) a few empty store/resto fronts where it could go...

                        1. re: grayelf

                          This is already up: http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/14/157344...

                          The way I heard on Sunday, the place was already open. I guess not.

                          1. re: el_lobo_solo

                            Okay, so it must be taking over the recently vacated Pier 3132 Grill which was Characters which was Panoli which was the late lamented Nemoto Cafe... that would be sweet for convenience! Not ready to open yet based on my squinting through the window today though.

                            1. re: grayelf

                              There's an ad for the new location in the latest Klip coupon magazine, says that the grand opening is on Feb 19th. (Also confirms that it is at the Pier 3132 location). The same ad then also says "March 3rd - Sanpachi Ramen starts!", so it's not entirely clear what date it'll be.

                    2. Went today for lunch with the family. We (my wife and 2 young sons) usually go to Benke but wanted to try someplace new. Together we ordered a Shoyu, Miso, and Yatai. We found the Shoyu and Miso a little too salty, but full of flavour. The guy sitting at the table had ordered his Miso with light salt...perhaps he's a regular and also finds it too salty. I ordered the Yatai and found it quite good! A little like the soup for Sapparo Ichiban, but of course better and more flavourful! We ordered extra noodles and they were generous with the portions. We also ordered the Ika (squid), which I liked, my wife didn't. The portion was small for the cost ($5.95), and it was legs only.
                      Overall the food was good. My 4 year old Shoyu connoisseur prefers Benke (didn't like the sesame seeds) and wife preferred the Benke Miso as well. I liked the Yatai, and will hopefully return. Other downside is that it is more expensive than Benke.