SeeFoon Gets Mad about Ramen in Old Town
I love noodles. It’s my Achilles heel. No amount of willpower or determination can keep me from guzzling noodles if it’s staring me in the face and taunting me. Even if it means blowing my low-carb regime.
Which brings me to being mad about Mad Ramen Bar.
This newly-opened restaurant in the thick of old town right opposite Plan B has all the makings of a carb lover’s paradise. Ramen in all its guises served in various broths and topped with a large selection of condiments and garnishes are the stars of the show here.
Don’t look for sushi or sashimi here. Look instead for freshly pan-fried Yaki Gyoza, homemade pork and cabbage dumplings with grapefruit ponzu dipping sauce RM11.80 for 5 pcs. They also have a deep-fried version called Age Gyoza served with a Sriracha mayo for RM9.80
Don’t look for French fries here. Look instead for Porky Fries, thin strips of pork luncheon meat appearing on my table looking for all the world like sweet potato fries (which I thought they were) until I took the first bite. All my childhood memories of Ma Ling or Spam luncheon meat came flooding back and I was transported. Umami strips of meat, slightly crisped on the outside and tender on the inside. Great as a snack to go with their speciality Craft beers while waiting for your meal; RM10.80.
Other nibblers or appetizers included the Takoyaki Balls, a very special rice-batter ball filled with bits of octopus, laced with Japanese sweet sauce and topped with Bonito flakes. You must be very careful biting into this ball as it arrives piping hot and can certainly burn your tongue; RM7.80 for 5 pieces.
While still on appetizers, we had a platter of their Yakitori skewers, ranging from Australian beef slice, pork belly, chicken, button and king oyster mushroom, bacon enoki and mixed vegetable. There is a two skewer per order minimum with prices ranging from RM3.80 to RM5.80 each and a Mad Ramen platter of one of everything for RM28.80. Dipping sauce is not necessary as each skewer is well seasoned.
Then we moved onto the Ramen. The menu lists items under the heading of Tonkotsu Ramen and Hokkaido Ramen. Tonkotsu Ramen is distinguished by its robust pork broth, simmered over 8 hours for a thick creamy result, definitely a labour of love! This ramen is a speciality dish from Fukuoka, Kyushu Island. From the Tonkotsu menu, we had the Black Tonkotsu, black garlic (extremely beneficial for health) and black sesame broth served with pork Chashu (a special roast pork) black fungus, braised egg and spring onions; RM19.80.
This was followed by the Pork Rib Black Shoyu, another robust broth with Black Shoyu, a huge braised pork rib, black fungus, braised egg and spring onions. The rib (ask for gloves to eat) was fall-off-the-bone tender and the broth divine. Definitely THE signature and must-have dish here; RM21.80.
Then one of my group suggested we sample the Hokkaido style Ramen, which he said was lighter and not as satiating. The Shio Ramen, one from the Hokkaido ramen series, a salt-based soup in chicken and vegetable broth with light and refreshing notes. With Ramen, pork Chashu, wakame, nori, braised egg, corn bamboo shoots and spring onions. Definitely lighter but equally umami; RM16.80.
On a previous occasion, I sampled their Chili Miso Ramen, served with the same condiments as the Shio ramen except that the Chili Miso lent a piquancy to the broth which I found delightful. And if the Scoville unit is not enough for you, you can always add the readily available sprinkle which they’ll be happy to supply; RM16.80.
Mad Ramen is a full bar, and their drinks menu is worth investigating. Their Craft Beers are certainly special as is their house Draft from Suntory, with a price of RM18.80 per glass and RM78.80 for a set of 5.
Worth having fun with is their Sake Bomb (they have an extensive range of Sakes) where you get a shot of sake and a beer. The shot of sake is placed on 2 chopsticks across the top of the beer mug and with whoops and much banging on the table, the shot of sake is encouraged to drop into the mug of beer. For those who fail, they’ll just have to buy another round!
MAD RAMEN BAR
3 Jalan Panglima, 30000 Ipoh.
Tel: 05 210 8866
Weekdays: 12pm-3pm; 5.30pm-10.30pm (5.30pm-12am Thu & Fri)
Weekend: Saturday (12pm-12am), Sunday (12pm-10.30pm)
Day off: Tuesday