Monday, 16 January 2012

Another Toronto Winter, Another Ramen Lunch

With my sister still having some time off work, we went grocery shopping one day for some meals over the coming days.  After finishing most of her shopping it was time for lunch, so we decided to swing by a nearby ramen noodle restaurant.  Located in the same commercial complex as the J-Town Japanese mall, Niwatei had a more varied menu selection than Vancouver's Motomachi Shokudo, but my sister and I opted to stick with the ramen noodles.  Unfortunately, as I wasn't expecting to try something new for lunch, I committed a foodie cardinal sin (again!) and didn't bring my camera with me.  Fortunately, my sister (http://www.boneats.ca/) saved my bacon one more time.
Shio Ramen. (Photo courtesy of www.boneats.ca.)
I ordered the Shio Ramen with an additional topping of marinated bamboo shoots.  This ramen dish was already loaded with char-siu slices, fish cake slices, green onions, corn, nori (served on the side to maintain crispiness) and half a hard-boiled egg.  I was fascinated by how Japanese char-siu differed from Chinese char-siu.  Visually, Chinese char-siu was coloured red outside but maintained a fairly white interior, while Japanese char-siu looked consistently darker through and through.  In terms of taste and texture, the char-siu served here resembled closer to southern Chinese marinated pork rather than Chinese char-siu.  My sister and I nonetheless found it a delightful surprise.
Tonkotsue Ramen. (Photo courtesy of www.boneats.ca.)
My sister ordered the Tonkotsu Ramen, topped with char-siu slices, fish cake slices, green onions, pieces of pickled ginger and half a hard-boiled egg.  "Tonkotsu", literally translated as "pork bone", referred to the broth being made of pork bones.  This broth was cloudy compared to shio and shoyu broths and was milky-white in colour, and it tasted smooth and pretty good.

It's nice to see an increasing variety of Japanese restaurants beyond sushi restaurants in the Toronto area, and Niwatei is worth a stopover especially if one is swinging by J-Town.  Both bar (i.e. kitchen-side) and table seating are available.


Name: Niwatei
Address: 2-3160 Steeles Ave. E., Markham, ON
Cuisine: Japanese
Price Range: $10-$20
Accessible: Yes

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