Great Ramen Richmond
Tasty Light Soy Seafood Broth
I’m not one for line-ups if I can avoid them. I’m prepared to dine at other eateries and let the two hour wait craziness subside at the latest and buzziest.
Usually this takes a few weeks and I don’t get to write the hot take or first look posts. However I do get the benefit of a kitchen that should have worked out any kinks and have settled on the standard that they will be executing their food.
Sanpoutei in Richmond was a ramen-ya I had tabs on. After 4 months since their open, I was able to breeze in at 6pm and claim two spots at their square communal counter. Joining me was Speedy and because she forgot to remind me, I only took pictures of my food and not hers. Despite only trying one ramen, I’m fairly certain Sanpoutei has the foundation to be a great Ramen house in YVR.
Although Vancouver is far from peak ramen, the ramen scene is starting to become competitive and this requires shops to offer a more unique value to discriminating noodle slurping customers. Sanpoutei simply have done so by simmering a broth that is distinct. Basically it’s not the same tonkotsu broth almost everybody is peddling.
The soup I sipped in my Niigata Shoyu Ramen was umami rich, subtly sweet and salty from the shoyu and lastly had a dried seafood flavour. What was absent was a heavy meatiness or a collagen aftertaste – classic indicators for a tonkotsu broth.
Thanks to the niboshi (dried baby sardines), which are depicted in the picture book menu and I assumed used in the soup, the stock reminded a little of the superior broths traditionally used for a good wonton noodle soup. I loved this light, different and impactful concoction Sanpoutei is using for its ramen.
Another aspect that differentiates this number 3 road eatery is its in house made noodles – they are thin, flat and wavy. These kansui enriched noodles look like skinny fettuccine.
These carby ribbons were al dente to start but got soft fairly quickly. I thought these uniquely shaped noodles matched the soup well but wish they stayed firm longer.
As for the toppings, there was a ramen egg, 2 slices of cha shu, bamboo shoots, spinach and nori; the first three items were notable. The Ajitsuke Tamago was good with a gooey yolk and well marinated. The cha shu was torched, giving the pork a charred taste while enhancing the fatty flavour. Lastly the bamboo shoots were not the like menma or common slices from a can but like Jenga blocks. They were perfect soup soakers but were mushy.
In addition to the Niigata Shoyu Ramen, we also got chicken karaage with tartar sauce. I get the appeal of creamy mayo with fried chicken unfortunately I didn’t like what Sanpoutei was serving.
I thought the chicken was seasoned well but was not crispy or juicy. I found the dark meat on the dry side. Also the tartar sauce was more tangy than creamy which I wasn’t too fond of. Although I think if you like Miracle Whip over Mayo then this tartar may work for you. I prefer a concoction that’s creamy with bursts of sour.
Fortunately the meal ended on a sweet note with mochi ice cream. Each order comes with a strawberry and matcha flavoured mound. I like the green tea one more since it actually tasted like matcha. The strawberry one just tasted sweet without the anything notes that would make it strawberry.
Overall I was happy with my first meal at Sanpoutei and I would definitely return next time I’m in the area.
Unit #160 – 4328 No 3 Rd
Richmond, BC V6X 2C2
Bonus Thought: Richmond is the first step towards Peak Ramen
With Yah Yah Ya, G-Men and now Sanpoutei, one can get a very good ramen in Richmond without having to trek all the way Downtown and specifically the West End. For me this is the start to achieving Peak Ramen and not the climax. When one can simply drive 10 minutes, regardless of where you live in the region, to get an above average ramen, then the YVR ramen market can be considered saturated. (Side note: With that definition in mind I think Pho is reaching its apex and yet no one is screaming Peak Pho)
Currently, in order to get a good Ramen, there are only two options: Downtown Vancouver and now Richmond. To be honest, I’m surprised there isn’t better ramen in some neighbourhoods like South Burnaby (around Metrotown) and near UBC. When I can credibly create top 5 lists for this kind of Ramen, or this neighbourhood or that city, then we can start talking about Peak Ramen.