I love having the option of ramen so close to me, but it can also be a dangerous thing! Jinya Ramen Express opened up a while ago near Olympic Village, attracting local businesses in for lunch. The reason it’s called Express, I’m guessing, is because there’s a very limited menu available here and you’re able to build your own ramen bowl, which is what I did when I came with a couple of my coworkers.
To build your own ramen bowl costs $13. You can add other things to it, the only thing I added was a seasoned egg ($2). I ordered my ramen with Tonkotsu broth, kale noodles, all the garnishes, pork chashu, buttered corn, black garlic oil and all the toppings. I also ordered a side of crispy chicken (3 pieces – $3.75) and Black Milk Tea ($3) to wash it all down.
I loved that my items came on a side plate so that I could see that everything I ordered was there, but there was no need as I dumped it straight into my bowl! My bowl of ramen had a nice, salty flavour to the broth but wasn’t too fatty tasting in flavour. The black garlic oil gave it a nice hint of garlic flavour.
The seasoned egg is cooked nicely, still a bit gelly on the inside and had a good flavour throughout.
The pork chashu has a good, slightly smoky flavour to it and are cut in thick pieces which worked well with the texture of my ramen overall. Besides being green in colour, there wasn’t too much flavour to kale noodles (I mean, kale isn’t very tasty on it’s own to begin with), but the notion of being slightly healthy made me enjoy them more. I’d say the texture of the kale noodles are very similar to regular ramen noodles. My noodles came al dente, which was perfect.
My crispy chicken was the most disappointing part of the meal – it was dry, overcooked and not even crispy but slightly soggy on the outside. I suppose this is what’s expected when going to an express location, but it would make me not want to order them again. Even if they were supposed to be on the dry side, I’d appreciate some sort of sauce (even mayo) to balance it out.
I also tried the Ito En Black Milk Tea, I’ve never had it before and it’s the first time I’ve seen it. The flavour is slightly flowery although it is a black tea, I wasn’t too huge a fan – I’ll stick to my unsweetened green tea next time!
Overall, the service is fast here. There are plenty of seats for a quick meal by yourself or with friends. I also love the artwork on the wall.
For more information on Jinya and the Express location, check out their website here: https://jinya-ramenbar.com/locations/detail/vancouverexpress