ESR² = eat snap repeat repeat = when we blog a place repeatedly.
If you’re a regular esr reader, you’ll know that we’re crazy about ramen – and that my favorite ramen joint in Vancouver is Kintaro. Love it.
Growing up, I ate a lot of instant noodles. Like a few packs a week. It’s what my grandma would cook for me when I came home from school. It’s what my mom would cook for me whenever I complained about being hungry at night. And it’s what I cooked for myself when I first moved out on my own a few years ago.
Older, I’ve now diversified my eating habits (chicken wings have recently overtaken vegetables in my 5 basic food groups) so ramen meals aren’t quite as common as before. Still, whenever I take a step into Kintaro, I’m hit with a sense of nostalgia.
Things are a little different now. The cook is an energetic Japanese man that doesn’t resemble my grandma or mom in the slightest. Parking the bike I rode home from school was a lot easier than parking my car around the busy Denman-Robson area that Kintaro’s located in. And the loud, hungry crowds provide the background noise that after-school cartoons used to. But when I sit down and that large bowl of noodles is placed in front of me, I feel like a kid again.
Of course, Kintaro’s authentic ramen is a lot healthier tastier than the instant stuff I used to devour. That’s another reason why I go there often. However, up until this visit, I’ve never tried their Cheese Ramen.
I’ve always wanted to. The description on their menu is… interesting: “Exquisitely balanced special miso soup and two kinds of cheese. Ladies just lo-o-o-ve it!!”
Ladies just love it? What about men? Or children? Why do women lo-o-o-ve it? Not like, not love, but lo-o-o-ve with 2 exclamation points? Did Kintaro use scientifc means to arrive at this conclusion? So many questions.
I decided to jump the gender gap, order myself a bowl, and look for some answers.
The ramen isn’t as cheesy-tasting as I thought it’d be. This is odd because they actually put a ton of cheese in each bowl. Hidden beneath that large slice of cheese is another large pile of grated cheese. I’m not sure what type of cheese Kintaro uses – the menu says they use 2 different kinds – but it’s similar to the type you’ll find in most French onion soups. The cheese isn’t overpowering and plays nicely with the slightly salty, slightly sweet miso soup broth.
I’m not crazy about the texture though. The cheese masks the nice al dente texture of the noodles. The first few bites are really good, but the way the cheese clumps the noodles together makes the meal feel very heavy. A bowl of Kintaro ramen is filling enough as it is; this pushes it over the top.
With that said, I still think this is worth trying. It’s just too bizarre not to.
I really wanted to lo-o-o-ve this as much as those after-school/late-night bowls of noodles I used to eat. Damn you Y chromosome!