Welcome to Mountain Hut Ramen!
KUALA LUMPUR, June 4 — When it comes to Japanese food, most of us look for authenticity. Original flavours, imported ingredients and the very thought that the food you are savouring now comes from the Land of the Rising Sun... that is sure to make you return to the restaurant.
I’m not saying I don’t like Malaysian food, I enjoy it as much as Japanese food. But whenever I have a little bit of cash in my wallet and whenever I feel like a bit of indulgence, I pick my favourite Japanese restaurant and dine with my loved ones.
I first heard about Yamagoya Ramen from friends (and readers) who told me that the noodles are made in-house at the restaurant itself. I had to try it!
And so after work one evening, I went to Solaris Dutamas to find Yamagoya Ramen which means “Mountain Hut” Ramen. “Yama” means mountain and “Goya” means hut, said Alvin Liew, assistant general manager of the restaurant who pretty much is the guy who makes the ramen and manages the restaurant at the same time.
The owner of Yamagoya Ramen declined to be named but I’ve met him so I can tell you he is Japanese and is very well-versed with food from his home country.
Yamagoya Ramen Malaysia opened on April 8, 2012 and its specialty is the Mukashi Special Ramen which uses tonkotsu soup, secret sauce and essence.
Topped with bamboo shoots, eggs, chashu (Japanese char siew), the Mukashi Special Ramen is a rich, flavourful dish with fine, handmade ramen noodles.
The handmade ramen is made at the restaurant about three to four times a week and is refrigerated for eight hours. There is enough ramen to last for a week and most of the ingredients are imported from Japan.
Liew was flown to Japan to learn from the original Yamagoya founder the techniques of ramen-making.
When I was at the restaurant, one of the founder’s sons was having a meeting. You can be assured that everything in Yamagoya Ramen Malaysia mirrors the original branch in Fukuoka, Japan.
So what’s the story? Well, the founder of Yamagoya Ramen lived in a mountain where he started selling ramen from a hut. He also sold gyoza (a must-try in the Malaysian outlet!), but his core business was ramen.
Yamagoya Ramen was born 35 years ago because a man loved his ramen noodles and came up with ramen-making techniques that became so popular that now, Yamagoya Ramen has 140 outlets worldwide including Taiwan, Jakarta, Bangkok and now Kuala Lumpur.
There are plans to open another outlet in Setia Walk, Puchong in July. Hopefully by then, there would be a Yamagoya ramen-making factory to supply ramen to all the outlets in Malaysia, said the owner.
Major towns like Johor Baru, Penang and Malacca are the next destinations for Yamagoya Ramen Malaysia but for now, the focus will be on the Kuala Lumpur branches to ensure strict quality control.
“Seventy per cent of the customers are young Chinese females! And on weekends, it is mostly families,” said the owner of Yamagoya Ramen, who thought that most of his patrons would be Japanese.
As a young Chinese female myself, I guess I can say we are the right target market when it comes to good food. It was funny that he commented I looked Japanese. Maybe from eating too much Japanese food?
I digress. Back to the food at Yamagoya. Did you know that it takes 24 hours to boil the tonkotsu soup for Yamagoya Ramen? And they boil it till the pork bones melt? That’s how long they take to cook the yummy, lip-smacking soup.
Yamagoya Ramen Malaysia has plenty of ramen choices to choose from, and do try their side dishes - they all look delicious! At Yamagoya Ramen, they serve Japanese green tea if you order it but the owner suggests trying mugicha (roasted barley tea) which is a refreshing, cooling drink he enjoys during summer.
Price for the Mukashi Special Ramen is RM24 while the gyoza is RM11 and refillable mugicha, RM2. Most of the food on the menu is non-halal.YAMAGOYA RAMEN
A2-G2-8, Solaris Dutamas,
No.1, Jalan Dutamas 1,
50480 Kuala Lumpur
Phone: +(603) 62062220