Vancouver Eats: Jinya

how to make ramen
Via Lucky Peach

Oh when the weather outside is frightful, a bowl of ramen is always delightful.  Perfect for rainy days and chilly days, and everything bleak and wet in between.  There’s a ramen place in my neighbourhood called Jinya that we’ve been frequenting for a few years now.  It doesn’t have the star power of some of the other more popular ramen joints, however, it still has its own cult following and there are people willing to line up for steaming hot bowls of their tasty broth and noodles every day.  I am one of them, on a nippy, wintry day.

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On Mark’s first day back in town, we took him to the new Ramen Jinya branch at Kerrisdale, our old neighbourhood.  Dad had been several times but it was the first time for the rest of us. The ambience of the shop is a lot bigger and more upscale than their first location in Yaletown.  The food quality, fortunately, is just the same, while the service is so much better.

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Jinya’s broth is the infallible tonkotsu, one of Japan’s magical gifts to mankind (the ramen noodles, by the way, were gifted by the Chinese).  It is a word ubiquitous with sushi nowadays, given the number of ramen houses that dot big cities all over the world.  A broth made from un-relentless simmering of pork bones for hours and hours to emulsify the pork fat and umami in the bones to make a delicious, comforting, rich, and creamy broth.  Are you licking your lips now?

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Throw in some perfectly cooked, chewy ramen noodles (thin, please), a little bit of pork chasu (yes, I want all the fat), an ajitsuke egg (no signs of that hard-boiled-light-yellow-tinge around the edges, please), green onions, fried onions, and you’ve got everything I want to comfort me on a cold and dreary day.

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Jinya recently changed their menu and they now offer a range of delicious appetizers.  I love their takoyaki, which I’m normally not too crazy about because of the often rubbery batter that you have to bite through to get to the good stuff in the middle (people actually think it’s worth gnawing through to get to this? I don’t get it.).  Jinya’s takoyaki is incredibly soft on the outside and almost reminiscent of mashed potato.  Maybe I’ve just had bad takoyakis in the past?  Or maybe this one is just exceptionally good.  I loved it.

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Their gyozas are delicious.

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And the spicy agedashi tofu is a must.

I was so full that I had to leave a puddle of broth at the bottom of my bowl that I just couldn’t finish.  Mark, on the other hand, slurped his down to the last drop and finished off all the remaining gyozas.  Normally I’m the garburator finishing all the scraps on the table but when Mark is in town, I don’t have to worry about that.  Oh, he will eat it ALL.  With room left for dessert.  But, of course.

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We rolled out of there so stuffed and content, ready to hit our old favourite neighbourhood shops for specs and clothes. So much has changed in Kerrisdale!  We spotted a lot of new boutiques and restaurants that we want to try.  Either way, I know I’ll be back for a piping hot bowl of ramen on another chilly day.

Check out Jinya’s super cool ramen express concept set to open in LA soon.  The quick service concept will allow customers to build their own ramen bowls from a selection of broths, proteins, and garnishes.  Sounds more appropriate for the rainier side of the street, no?

How are you staying warm?

-SS

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