Bangkok Dining: Sendai Ramen Mokkori Silom @ Narathiwat Soi 1

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I love it when friends take me to off the beaten track eateries.  Little treasures that just make you wonder what other secrets lay hidden waiting to be discovered.   This latest discovery came quite unexpected for it was a chance meeting and we took the opportunity to go grab a bite to eat.  In search of somewhere not too far from Silom, Narathiwat and the Rama IV area my friend navigated me to this little japanese eatery called “Sendai Ramen Mokkori Silom.”

Don’t ask me what the name means. I only know “Ramen” and “Silom”(road name.)   It’s one of those eateries you find in the least expected places.  It’s at the base of an old-fashioned condominium at Narathiwat Soi 1.  It seems to have been around for quite some time and probably well-known to those who go to that area, but for me it was an area I hardly go to and a street I’ve never driven into.

What’s surprising is that walking out of the condominium parking (you can get your parking ticket validated at the eatery) you do not see the eatery right away.  I saw another Japanese place and almost went there, but lo and behold suddenly this one appears.  It’s surrounded by a lot of things, and it the daylight it’s not easy to spot, but when the lights come on, you see it clearly with the red lanterns and the lights shining from inside.

It’s small and simple inside.  A wall full of photographs of the owner with celebrities and well-known people decorate the shop and japanese writings also adorn the walls.  I always wonder if they have something unique that’s not on the menu.

The menu is dizzying.  The large B5 sized menu is filled with pictures of many types of ramen, rice dishes and other japanese favorites.  Too many makes it hard for me to choose and so I go with my favorite Mabo tofu with ramen. (It’s ramen with tofu sauce) and of course the tonkatsu (fried breaded pork) with japanese curry.    The portions are HUGE.  Not somewhere to go if you are on a diet, but a great place to go if you want to just eat and enjoy.

I liked the fact that the atmosphere took us out of the typical restaurant vibe we get in downtown Siam.  It’s less hectic and probably because it was a lazy Sunday evening one could just chill and relax without feeling pressured to give up our table to the waiting customer.   (I don’t know what it’s like on weekdays since it’s near to the business district)

The food was good and delicious for its price even though the ramen noodles were not made in-house. It wasn’t the best ramen I’ve ever had, but I think it is not too far off from the authentic ramen noodles I’ve had in Japan.  (The owner is japanese and appears on the menu cover and on the photos on the wall) The tonkatsu was crispy and lean. However if you ask me to compare the tonkatsu to that at Saboten (another japanese eatery), I have to say Saboten still wins.  The thing is, food at this eatery is roughly half the price of Saboten.

Dishes were around 140-250thb each which is a pretty good deal compared to other japanese restaurants downtown where a medium pork loin at Saboten can cost you around 290thb.  The portions are large, the flavor authentic and the atmosphere unique. I could be somewhere in Soho.

Would I go back again? Yes I will.   It’s one of those places that isn’t pretentious, the food good and a nice hideaway from the crowds of Bangkok city.  Itadakimasu.

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Bangkok Dining: Ramentei

 

Talking to a Japanese friend about Japanese food and ramen, I cannot but think about taking you to this ramen place I’ve been going to since I was young called “Ramentei.”  If you live in Bangkok, I’m sure many of you have heard about this place and have been to it.  They have a couple branches, with the original one being near Villa Supermarket on Sukhumvit 33.  There’s another one next to Thaniya Plaza where one goes to see golf materials, and there is also one between Suriwong and Silom roads.

What I love about it, is that it’s simple, serves good food fast and you know what to expect.  Delicious ramen, served efficiently and in a relatively clean restaurant.   Some locations are older than others, but overall, it’s clean and good.   You can choose between sitting in the Japanese style tables, or on regular tables.  I personally prefer regular tables since I always think they’re more comfortable and don’t require my pushing myself to get up.

What’s good? My current favorite is the Hiyashi Ramen. I’ve suddenly grown to enjoy cold ramen and especially when it’s full of vegetables and delicious sesame infused sauce, I cannot resist it.  You get to enjoy the full flavor of the noodle and its texture.  Alex had the pork ramen and that too was good if you enjoy hot soup with meats.  I’ve had other kinds of ramen though and so far I’ve enjoyed them all.  Also, I like the fact that Japanese people also frequent this place (which to me means that it is a sign of approval).  If the japanese come here for ramen, then it must be quite good don’t you think?

Oh another thing, if the portion is too large for you, you can always ask for the smaller bowl.  I think they take around 20baht off your bill, which isn’t much, but then you don’t have to worry about wasting food that could go to feed other hungry people.

The last time I went (which was a few months ago) the dishes were around 180thb each and very reasonable.  With all this inflation, prices may have gone up a bit, but I suspect it will still be value for money.    Itadakimasu!

Ramen at Ra-men Restaurant

I love lazy Sundays. I love it especially when the weather is not so warm outside and there are Christmas songs playing wherever you go. I love the feeling of not having to rush anywhere or having to be at a certain place in time for an appointment. What better day then than to go explore a new restaurant and find something good to fill our stomachs? Today, Alex and I went to a new ramen place recommended by my brother. Thank you. The ramen was absolutely delicious. It’s name is easy to remember. It’s called Ra-men Restaurant. What do they serve? Ramen.

The ramen I have to say was one of the best ramens I’ve had in Bangkok so far. Chabuton was good but slightly too salty for my taste. Ramentei is delicious, but the ramen at Ra-men restaurant was good. Very good. The soup wasn’t salty and the noodles the right consistency. I had “Hiyashi” which is the cold ramen noodle topped with vegetables and pork. I loved it, and despite it’s huge portion size, I finished it all. Alex had the pork ramen with soup. His was also delicious and the soup tasted wonderful. You can tell that this wasn’t mass produced. The ramen at this place gets top stars from me.

Now for the ambiance. I wasn’t really expecting anything fancy or super nice for a ramen restaurant but I have to say this place was quite unexpected. It’s a small restaurant, which is acceptable. I understand the lack of space, but there are certain things that somehow I just cannot quite overlook despite the wonderful food. The first thing that hits you is the smell. The place absolutely has a problem with ventilation and the smell hits you smack in the face even for someone with a blocked nose like me. It’s not a place you’ll take someone out on a first or second date. Both of you will come out smelling of food. The smell stuck for quite a bit afterwards.

I might be a bit picky, but when I see glass used for doors and walls, I like that glass to look clean. The glass here wasn’t. Some cobwebs were spotted. Looking at how inventory was arranged or how clean the place was, I felt like this place was perhaps a restaurant that the owner opened up a while ago. He/She probably got it up and running and haven’t really been around to look at it much. While these thoughts were flowing through my head, I did hear the telephone ring and the lady picks up to talk to the “Boss.” I hear her reply that the flow of customers was steady and mention something about noodles. I wonder if they are brought fresh here from somewhere.

Other than the decor, this ramen place was also quite amusing. The staff were trained to be very japanese-like. Whenever the head chef said out the order, all the other staff would reply and say “ka” in a very japanese style. They sounded japanese while working, and when customers left you would here the customary “thank you” in japanese. It all sounds japanese until they start relaxing and then I start hearing the North-eastern dialect. It’s funny.

Where is this place? It’s right next to Emporium Department Store on Sukhumvit Soi 24. It’s on the same side as the department store, and if you exit the department store from the perfume section its on your left. Okay in conclusion, food at Ra-men Restaurant is top quality, price range on the high side,.. (270thb for a Hiyashi Ramen, 230thb for the Pork Ramen), but ambiance is….hmm… you read it. If you aren’t too picky about smell and ambiance, but love good ramen then this is the place for you.

For me, this is one of the places that Alex calls “A place where you love the food, but can’t stand the ambiance.” Do you know any other places like this? Please share 🙂