Jul 25, 2011

Rakumenya 樂麵屋


Rakumenya is a Ramen Shop located near the Zhong Xiao Fuxing MRT. They are unique in how they let the customers customize the strength of the soup base and the hardness of the Ramen noodles. These type of Ramen shops are hard to come by in Taiwan, and it is very reminiscient of Shin Sen Gumi or Orochan in Los Angeles. The two popular soup bases served here are the pork broth and their specialty chicken-vegetable broth. For under 250 NT, you can select a soup base variation that you desire. Each bowl comes with a few basic slices of cha siu, egg, and vegetables, but you can add other ingredients for a nominal fee. They have the best tasting noodles that I have had so far in Taiwan: al dente, very snappy, and Q-licious. If you find yourself hankering for a bowl of Ramen, try this popular restaurant in the East District.

Address:  台北市大安路1段83巷10號1樓
                 No. 10, Lane 83, Section 1, DàĀn Rd, Daan District
Phone #: 02-8772-8159
Business Hours: 11:00-22:00 (guesstimation)
Website: N/A
Price Range:   $$
Accepts Credit Cards: yes
Attire: casual
Good for kids: yes
Take out: yes
Waiter Service: yes
Outdoor seating:  no
Alcohol: yes


Food Quality: 4 out of 5
Decor:  4 out of 5
Service: 3.5 out of 5
Overall: 3.83 out of 5
Recommendation: Best Ramen Noodles in Taipei


When you first walk in you are immediately welcomed by a very warm but busy staff. They give you a smile, then the smile becomes increasingly awkward if you take up too much of their time. This is understandable because their job entails putting up with a large customer to server ratio with time sensitive bowls of Ramen. They get a 3.5 for trying to be amiable, but they really focused on getting the order in and getting the food out in a timely manner. They don't have the time to dote on each customer, but people who have eaten at Ramen shops like Shin Sen Gumi or Orochan should be used to and somewhat expect the hustle and bustle. Their interior design was very wooden and you felt Japanese. It was not extremely interesting, but it was clean, sleek, and comfortable enough.
I got a plate of Shiso Gyoza for starters. They were very flat, crispy, and lacking substance (meat). The Shiso leave was a very dominant flavor as the virtual second layer of wrapping. I think these particular Gyoza weren't that great. It could be that I am not a big fan of the flavor of Shisho, but also mainly because that it was too dry, too skimpy on the meat, and not very fulfilling for it's price. You might as well go to another place around the corner to get better pot-stickers. I would try one of their other appetizers on a return visit.
Their main attraction is their specialty salty flavored Ramen. It is a clear-ish stock made from chicken bones and 11 different types of vegetables. They mixed in some greens, enoki mushrooms, sweet egg, and little slices of cha siu. I asked for a stronger soup base, and I did indeed get a comparably oilier and saltier concoction. Although the difference is rather subtle. It did sort of taste like chicken soup, but with a soy saucy and peppery twist. Next time, I will need to try their pork bone stock, but since they recommended this one as their popular choice I had to try it out. I was quite disappointed that they did not serve Miso Ramen because it is my favorite type of stock. In the end, I was not taken away by the quality or flavor of their soup. All the ingredients were just mediocre and okay, but their noodles are worthy of note. You get to choose the hardness of the noodles, and I typically like the slightly al dente noodles. Most of the Ramen locations around this city seem to default to borderline soggy noodles. It might have to due with the fact that the Taiwanese taste bud does not like hard textures in their noodles, but somehow Arashi ramen and Akasaka both veer toward being too soft for me. This place's ramen noodles had the right amount of snap to it and when drenched in the flavor of the soup base turns each spoonful  into a sensational mad slurping situation. If only they offered soup bases that I enjoy, it would be perfect. I like even stronger flavors like the miso ramen at Orochan, but I still can enjoy lighter ramen like they serve at Shin Sen Gumi. but even Shin Sen Gumi gave you the option to add spicy miso into your broth. Maybe I will just need to BYOM and bring my own tub of miso into the store. This restaurant is definitely worth a visit, worth the honorable mention on certain TV shows, and worth the recommendations by Hungry Girl's readers.

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