Kintaro Ramen was one of the first ramen restaurants to bring Japanese noodle soup to Vancouver. My inaugural ramen experience was years ago at Kintaro in Richmond (now closed) – I did not enjoy it. Ridiculously fatty pork slices swimming in liquid lard. Not my idea of a good time. Anyways, years have passed since then, and we have recently tried some excellent ramen joints: Ramen Sanpachi on Broadway, Benkei Ramen in Kits, and Hokkaido Ramen Santouka in the West End.
My brother was over from Vancouver Island and requested to eat something “spicy” for our late lunch. I suggested ramen since it’s quick, so we headed over to the West End to give Kintaro Ramen another chance. We arrived at around 4pm on Friday afternoon and surprisingly the place was packed!
What sets Kintaro apart from other ramen places is that they allow you to select light, medium, or rich soup broths and fatty or lean pork. Miso Ramen ($8.45) – Medium soup and lean pork. The broth consisted of a blend of different soy bean pastes, but lacked actual flavor, and was very one dimensional. Bean sprouts, onion, bamboo shoots, green onion, and corn were included. The pork slices were very tough and dry, and were also quite bland. However, there were quite a few pieces. If this is medium soup, then the light broth must literally taste like water.
Spicy Garlic Ramen ($8.95) – It was spicy and garlicky, however it lacked depth. Just like the Miso Ramen, the broth was almost watery in consistency and taste. The egg was overcooked which is a faux pas. The boiled eggs should have bright orange runny yolks (like Benkei Ramen and Ramen Sanpachi). The ramen noodles were a tinge better in quality than instant noodles. Perhaps if we had ordered rich broth and fatty pork, we would have enjoyed our ramen…
Overall, we were disappointed with Kintaro Ramen on Denman. Service was nonexistent and ramen was unsatisfactory. This was my brother’s first ever ramen experience, and he stated that he’ll never eat ramen ever again because he was “assaulted with blandness”. 🙁
If you want excellent ramen and are willing to pay a bit more, try Hokkaido Ramen Santouka just down the street from Kintaro. Ramen Sanpachi and Benkei Ramen in Kitsilano are other great ramen choices. I’m curious…why was Kintaro so busy?