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Published February 24th 2011
With a reputation for serving up some of Sydney's best ramen, Menya Noodle Bars are a haven for noodle lovers.
For those who don't know, ramen is a Japanese noodle dish that consists of a meaty broth, noodles, and shredded vegetables and meats. The tradition of noodles in Japanese cuisine dates back to the 18th century, however the addition of meats to the broth was thanks to western influence. Ramen is sometimes associated with poverty, because it provides basic nutrition on a limited budget and can be easily dressed up with the addition of vegetables and meats.
Ramen is made using painstakingly prepared soup bases, to which the various meats, vegetables, noodles and other ingredients are added. The famous Tonkutsu Soup is an intoxicatingly flavoursome collagen rich broth made by simmering top quality pork bones for over 10 hours. Soy-based soup is made by using quality aged soy sauce and adding chicken broth which has been infused with fish and shellfish. Miso soup is made with miso (a combination of soy beans and grains) and spices ground together, then added to a soy-based, and chicken soup. Shio is a light and healthy seafood and chicken combination soup. And for the dedicated vegetarian, there's a Vegetarian soup, made by combining slow-simmering vegetables with soy sauce.
So now that you know what it is, you need to know where to get the best. There are three Menya noodle bars in Sydney.
Menya Noodle Bar City (CBD) is at 1 Market Street, and serves "soups of distinction". Owner Shiro Nakashio has spent many years becoming a master of the art of making ramen. If you don't fancy soup, then you can choose from a substantial selection of Menya's signature Japanese curries, soba and udon noodles, or a la carte dishes on the menu
Opening hours are Monday to Friday midday till 3. Dinner from 6 till 10 pm. Closed on Sunday. Phone number is 02 9267 4649 if you want to book.
Menya Noodle Bar Chinatown is at 8 Quay Street, Haymarket. Eizo Shimazaki, the manager is proud of his craft and dedicated to making Menya the only place you'll ever go for ramen. Chinatown Menya has a different menu to the CBD noodle bar.
Opening hours are 7 days a week lunch, 11.30am till 3.30 pm. Dinner 5.30pm till 9 pm. Phone number is 02 9212 1020
Menya Noodle Bar Mappen (town Hall) is Sydney's first self-serve genuine udon restaurant located at 537 George Street. Their soup bases are Kakedashi, made from premium soy sauce with fish stock and dried kelp. Tsukedashi is like the Kakedashi but richer, making it more like a sauce. The menu is designed for those in a hurry.