788 Denman St
Vancouver, BC V6G 2L5
When you live in a city where grey rainy days are frequent, the little things in life to bring you out of a dreary fog makes a big difference. I really got to experience all that the wonderful pacific north-wet west coast has to offer this past winter and let me just say seasonal affective disorder is real!
I’m not self diagnosing nor have been diagnosed but I never believed how much weather affected my mood until we moved here.
The adjustment has been a struggle but embracing all that a big city has to offer make’s it better. Vancouver is a foodie playground rain or shine! The multicultural umbrella of restaurants, markets, and shopping is vast and you don’t have to fork and arm and a leg to get quality. So when I heard about ramen and the ramen experience in Vancouver I had to get in on it. There are quiet a few well known ramen joints in Vancouver, but the day we decided to try one the decision was easy. Tired, hungry, and mentally famished we were wandering out of Cole Harbor and onto Robson St when we saw the 15-20 person line up outside of Kintaro Ramen. Now, normally a borderline hangry Sonal would not even consider waiting in line for anything but the setting was too perfect to pass. I’ve been told that ramen is best enjoyed on a cold, rainy day. The bright, hot broth compliments a dreary grey day and comforts you as it warms you right up. AND! Kintaro has been one of the most commonly named as best place for ramen so it became worth the foreseen wait.
Fortunatly the line moved quickly. In fact the staff at Kintaro is very efficient at patron turnover and I mean this in the best way possible. The atmosphere at Kintaro was friendly and relaxed but very much an in and out type of place. As we got closer to the window I noticed a large table that sat about 8-9 people most of who came in pairs. I admit I found it a bit uncomfortable at first-sitting at a table with strangers is a bit awkward (I’m extremely awkward). That changed as soon as I began to intensely study the kitchen staff, servers, and the dining patrons. It was as though they were creating their own ballet- a bit harmonious for a small space filled with shoulder to shoulder seating and large flavours and appetites! The bowls of ramen coming out to the tables were overflowing with comfort: steaming broth, colorful toppings, bright and bold. Each bowl was dynamic and unique in its own right.
By the time we sat down I was already sold on the spicy garlic with lean BBQ pork and rich broth. I’m Indian so anything spicy always catches my attention and garlic, well that takes my vote. We also ordered a side of kimchi which was an excellent addition. It went perfectly as a cold accompaniment to the bold, hot ramen. Both with their own distinct flavors paired perfectly and kept their integrity without being confusing. I do suggest adding the ball of garlic that comes on top of the ramen at your own discretion. The hot broth coming in contact with raw chopped garlic only exponentiates it’s presence which can become overpowering.
Being a stew, chowder, chili type of girl, I did have a bit of hesitation about how satisfying a broth type meal would be and I can honestly say that by the time I was half way through my bowl I was thanking the god lord I did not order extra noodles! My husband barely finished his bowl and that speaks volumes for the appetite he has.
Since then I’ve walked past Kintaro many times. Each time the weather has been sunny or slight overcast and never the right moment. I have to say, the mood only seems perfect on a notorious Vancouver day which oddly makes me look forward to the rain and clouds. Until next then Kintaro!