A miso focus
Ramen Gaoh delivers
Great tasty noodles
Ramen Gaoh is the latest expansion from the Menya Kouji group, who you may also know as the folks behind Ramen Butcher and Ramen GoJiro.
The third restaurant differentiates itself by focusing on miso based soups and by being located in North Burnaby.
Miso is a complex and flavourful ingredient but one wouldn’t know it based on the bland one-note miso soups ladled out by sushi eateries. I stopped eating miso ramen because they often were just salty.
I was curious to see if Ramen Gaoh could adequately tease out the subtle differences that miso pastes from different regions of Japan have. On their website, they advertise the use of miso from Aichi, Miyagi and Nagano prefectures for their ramen. Curious if they are using some renown red miso like Sendai (Miyagi prefecture) and Hatcho (Aichi prefecture) in their blends.
My first visit was during their soft open (all bowls were $6), and I tried their Aka ramen.
Adorned with stir fried cabbage and bean sprouts, shredded leak, wood ear mushrooms, bamboo shoots, and grated ginger, the bowl looked heartier in comparison to bowls served by Santouka or Marutama but not as topping heavy as sibling eatery, GoJiro.
The veggies definitely had a strong wok hei flavour. In addition to a piece of serviceable cha su, there was ground pork in the bowl.
The only traditional topping missing was a marinated egg, which I added. The center was gooey and outside white is seasoned well.
The pale yellow curly in-house made noodles (you can see the manufacturing process in an adjacent room), were a great match for the broth.The thicker noodles started al dente and held their firmness throughout the duration of the meal.
The reason why the hefty noodles worked well for the bowl was the Aka ramen had a broth that was full bodied. The reddish brown broth had a rich umami flavour and importantly was not too salty. I assumed a red miso was used in the soup based on the colour.
The Shiro has the exact toppings, lack of egg and thick curly yellow noodles as the Aka ramen. Although the veggies looked the same, the cabbage and bean sprouts had less wok hei flavour.
Of course, this bowl used different miso to flavour the soup and it definitely tastes different than the Aka ramen. It looks noticeable paler in colour but it’s not weak in flavour. The Shiro broth is sweet, with a slight bean-y taste and umami flavour. I wonder if the kitchen dialled back the wok hei on the veggies to prevent it from overwhelm the soup.
Over the two visits I was also able to try the plain/regular gyozas and the karaage. I liked the filling of the dumplings; the pork was well seasoned and had a pleasant texture.
The fried chicken is something I would avoid next time as the chicken was not marinated and lacked seasoning. The Mogu food truck is my gold standard for chicken karaage in the city.
The only ramen I probably will never be able to try is the shop’s signature Scorpion Ramen. Dennis has a great take on his experience with this spicy and numbing ramen. Spoiler alert – someone was slightly on struggle street with their bowl of ramen.
I was impressed that Ramen Gaoh was able to serve two miso ramens that taste distinctly different from one another. It’s a good showcase of the variety of different tasting miso produced in Japan. Both bowls are very robust and hearty so it’s not a dainty meal. As for which bowl I prefer? I think it’ll depend on if I feel like a lighter or heavy tasting soup. Regardless of which bowl you like more, Ramen Gaoh is the best ramen in North Burnaby.
4518 E Hastings Street
Burnaby, BC V5C 2K4