The basis of Ramen Koika’s MO is to bring authentic flavours from Chiba, Tokyo, Osaka and other parts of Japan to our fair city. A lot of research went into bringing the perfect bowl of ramen back as owner Caleb Lee spent time in Tokyo learning from a renowned ramen chef – Keiichi Machida to hone his skill.
This is the second location for Ramen Koika, the first one opening up a couple years back on Davie street. The Robson location is much larger and has a more contemporary feel to it.
I was invited to check out their menu, so for this particular visit I invited my friend Meagan to come with me – she’s a bit of a connoisseur of ramen since her and her husband go for ramen every Wednesday!
We started off with their Puri-Puri Ebi, Minions Dice and Ebi Gyoza.
The Puri-Puri Ebi ($6.50) is your classic prawn tempura made with panko. It’s then drizzled on with tartar sauce, sesame and parsley. What I like about this dish is that the panko breading is crisp and not too over done.
There’s a nice golden fry to it but the inside is still very tender and not overcooked. The creaminess from the tartar sauce gives the dish a bit more weight and rounds out the flavour.
The Ebi Gyoza ($7.50) is made in house and featured the beautiful crispy skirt around the gyozas. The inside is tender and filled with one prawn and some vegetable mix.
I like that the gyoza had it’s own individual shrimp and the tenderness of the ingredients inside with it being still crispy on the outisde.
The Minions Dice ($4.95) is their deep fried tofu and special sauce. The deep fried tofu is nice and crispy without being overly so and still tender and meaty in the middle. It has a nice slightly saltiness in the batter that’s counter balanced by their special sauce – which is a good balance of tart and salty.
And finally, the ramen! Each bowl features noodles made fresh in house. The broth is also made in house as well.
Meagan ordered the King’s Seafood Ramen ($15.95). Each ramen bowl’s spice level can be adjusted from non-spicy, mild and spicy. The King’s Seafood Ramen has blue crab, clam, green mussel, cabbage, black tree fungus, onion, red pepper, green pepper, Thai chillis, bean sprouts and red pepper powder on top. Meagan said that the broth was great and that the noodles had a nice snap to them. I was surprised how much seafood came in the dish – especially for the price point. I definitely will try this the next time I’m back!
On my search for a delicious bowl of tsukemen, I’m glad to see this is on the menu at Ramen Koika.
The Kyouka Tsukemen ($12.95) is served with the noodles, bamboo shoots, half seasoned egg and seaweed on the side. The broth has the shredded pork in it. I ordered this spicy.
The soy egg had a good consistency gelled but slightly runny – it’s not too salty so it doesn’t over power the flavour of the entire bowl. The seaweed and bamboo shoots give a nice crunch and texture to the bowl. The noodles are thick ones and can be served hot or cold – I went with cold since it was a warm day. The noodles have the perfect amount of snap to them.
The broth is hearty, slightly oily from the beef and a good amount of spice (it’s not spicy, but has a nice small kick to it). The bits of shredded pork are a nice addition to this warm bowl. The broth is not too salty and the flavour is quite good, there wasn’t any part of this dish I didn’t like – I would have to say that this is probably my favourite tsukemen bowl in Vancouver.
The portion sizes here at Ramen Koika are perfect – but if you’re still hungry, you can always ask for more noodles (for a bit more money)! They also offer a Lunch Special Combo where you can order a ramen and add a couple dollars for gyozas, steamed rice/soft drink or tea or a ramen topping.
I would definitely recommend Ramen Koika – they’re a great spot in the city for a delicious bowl of ramen. I can’t wait to come back and try different bowls.
For more information on Ramen Koika and their menu, check out their website here: https://www.ramenkoika.com/