Ramen Rules at Manpuku, Kingsford

Sunday, July 03, 2016

A good bowl of ramen is like a piece of art. Every element adds something unique to the finished piece - the noodles, broth, toppings - and all work together in harmony. Creating the perfect ramen is a laborious labour of love, and there is no shortage of contenders for the title of the best in Sydney.

If you scour the web for top ramen picks in Sydney, chances are you'll come across Manpuku. The original restaurant is set among the strip of shops along Anzac Parade in Kingsford, and a second location in Chatswood opened early last year. It's one of those places you'll head to for a warming, wallet-friendly meal, making it an ideal dining spot for those who attend the nearby Uni.

As with most Japanese ramen-ya, the atmosphere is casual with an order-at-the-counter system. Cute hand-drawn and coloured signs adorn the walls, providing encouraging hints on how to best enjoy your noodles.

Help yourself to the huge containers of rainbow leaf mustard and fluorescent red pickled ginger which sit on a trolley next to the counter. In keeping with the homely, kawaii vibe, these are named Takana and Benji Shoga respectively. Nice you meet you!

Leaf Mustard + Pickled Ginger

Ramen is the go-to menu item here. The only problem is choosing which broth style to order. There are two main soups on offer: Tori Gara (chicken) and Tonkotsu (pork), as well as a special pork and chicken base and also special soup varieties. Within each of these categories, choose from a shoyu (soy) or shio (salt) base for your ramen.

The broth is cooked using bone marrow for a minimum of six hours to get that deep porky flavour and collagen-rich sheen. But that's not the only thing made in-house here - so too are the noodles. 

As well as their infamous ramen are mini bowls of cha shu rice and smaller side dishes like takoyaki.

Musashi ($5.90)
A rectangular Japanese vegetable and seafood pancake, this is cooked using a batter that is similar to that ball-shaped Osaka street snack, takoyaki. It's served the same way too, with bonito flakes and a choice of either takoyaki-style or spicy sauce. Each stick is generously sized; the inside soft and flecked with little bits of seafood.

Chicken wing gyoza ($6.90)
What happens when you combine two delicious snacks into one? Chicken gyoza. Delicately fried wing tips are embedded in a tight ball of tasty pork mince, the whole thing drizzled in a sweet, sticky sauce. It's snack food at it's finger-licking best, although the pork is a little on the pink side near the wing tip.

Shio Gara Ramen ($13.50)
The shio gara is a salt-based chicken soup with slices of circular pork belly, bean sprouts, bamboo shoot and shallots, as well as that iconic calcium-pressed seaweed sheet. The first thing we notice is how incredibly clear and light the broth is - so much so that we can see right to the bottom of the bowl. 

Salt may be a main part of the name, but in no way does that mean it dominated the broth. Rather, the salt enhances the refined flavours of this nourishing chicken soup. It's very refreshing compared to a traditional tonkotsu base; perfect for when you feel like ramen but don't want to go for something too rich or heavy.

Kono Deaini Kanshashite aijou to jonetsu komete isshoukenmei tsukutta uchirano icchan sukina manpuku shiwase ramen ($14.50)
Despite the slick layer of collagen lining the top of this soup, the pork and chicken-based broth manages to be subtle yet rich and flavoursome at the same time. The soup has a very silky sheen, and teeters the line between a rich tonkotsu and delicate shoyu base. The thick, handmade noodles have the perfect amount of wheaty bite to them, taking on all those flavours which are made even better by the gooey nitamago and thin, fat-lined rounds of cha shu pork.

Miso bomb ($2.00)
For a kick of extra flavour in your soup, opt for the miso bomb  - a thick paste of pork mince and chilli powder that tastes a little like kimchi, only with a rougher, more crumbly texture.

Green tea ($2.50)
Warm your tummy with a mug of green tea to wash down all of that tasty broth.

Handmade signage 

Dragon Balls ($2.00 each)
We finished off with these dragon balls, a kind of hybrid between a brown sugar doughnut and cookie filled with a loose red bean paste. 

Served piping hot fresh from the fryer, the inside is chewy whilst maintaining a gloriously caramelised, crispy outer shell. The addition of brown sugar adds notes of toffee to each bite, and it's a perfect way to finish off the meal.

A lot of love goes into Manpuku's broth, but this mantra also extends to their decorations, evident by the handmade signs and even the monthly-rotated flower arrangement which adorns the bathrooms.

It's not hard to see why the ramen at Manpuku is so renowned - it's perfectly balanced, tasty, yet restrained enough to keep you going back for more.

I was lucky enough to dine at Manpuku thanks to Washoku Lovers, however all opinions are my own. 


Manpuku Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

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  1. Love the ramen here. And the self-serve condiment station is much fun!


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