Thursday, January 6, 2011

Ramen Sanpachi

Well, looks like another Hokkaido-style ramen shop has popped up in Vancouver.  Meh.......I was referred to this place by a friend, who told me this place has good ramen.  She doesn't even like ramen all that much, but if she liked it, a lot of people who are new to ramen, or seldom eat it, will probably like Ramen Sanpachi.  

Hokkaido style ramen is a bit lighter and probably more suitable for people who don't really like the heavy stuff........but its not my cup of tea. 

The place is open pretty late though, so this place will be able to pick up where a lot of other ramen shops don't.  Anyway, the first thing I noticed when I stepped into the place was how sterile looking the place was, sort of like Aji-sen.  The place was brightly lit, and the furniture and decor seemed very Ikea-like.   I felt like I was eating in an iPod rather than a ramen shop.  Most ramen shops I've been to in Japan would resemble something more like G-men, but with less character.

The Menu looked promising, and the place was licensed!  Personally, I like to have a glass of ice water with my ramen, but some like a cold beer I suppose.  I like G-Men because they automatically give you ice water, with a pitcher too!   

We had the Chashu Ramen and Butter Corn Ramen, and when we tried to order Gyoza, the were out.  Out of Gyoza???  Gyoza and ramen are a golden combination, how could they be out???  What was shocking still  was that if they still had gyoza available, it would only be  Deep fried gyoza only?  What, are we in some kind of strange AYCE sushi restaurant suddenly?  I've never encountered deep-fried gyoza in any of the ramen shops, during all my trips to Japan.  But who knows, maybe deep fried gyoza exists in some obscure corner of a ramen shop in Yokohama or something.  Another thing they were out of was takenoko (bamboo shoots), something that's essential in a bowl of ramen.  I couldn't believe it, but anyway, in lieu, we got 10% off.

When the Butter Corn Ramen came, the block of butter was titanic.  Seriously, this thing was as big as the Titanic and probably would have won against the ice berg.  I took half of the block and dumped it into my Chashu/miso ramen because I thought that my broth looked a little "lean".  The broth for the butter corn ramen was also miso-base, and came with a lot of corn.

The Chashu ramen came with lots of chashu, and though it tasted alright, it was a little on the lean side (for you health nuts out there, you'd love it).  The ramen in both bowls were plenty, along with the veg (a bit too much for my personal liking - way too much moyashi).  For me personally, I thought the broth wasn't fatty enough, even with the butter, and not quite salty as I would like to have it.  For those of you who like your noodle soup light on fat and taste, this place is for you.

Not much of a review here, but my first and probably last visit to Sanpachi was heavily distracted by something that happened while I was there and positively ruined my experience here: 

For you authenticity nuts out there, Sanpachi's got at least one foot in the door.  Near as I can tell, the ramen chef is Japanese, along with much of the staff.  Sanpachi Ramen may have it's roots in Japan, however the owner of this location was probably made in ROC or PRC.  How do I know this?  I found out because the table next to us was occupied by a very peculiar group of people.  One young woman who was showing a bit of defiance in the beginning (but sobbing by the time we left), an older gentlemen with a huge gold Rolex sitting on the side quietly while this nasty old ba-ba (short, impolite way of saying obasan) was reaming out the young woman in a very Chinese-fashion (the way my mom used to when I was little, in public and broad day light, tear me a new one when I was bad).  From what I gathered, the nasty ba-ba was probably the younger woman's mother or other such rich relative and financier of operations.  The younger woman was apparently the owner of Sanpachi Ramen (maybe in name only) who was soon to be kicked out of her home or soon to be cut-off. 

Nasty ba-ba switched between Chinese an English while she lectured the younger one, and kept on repeating "The owner of Sanpachi owner has no money!  Shame of you!  Shame of you!"  Shame on me for eavesdropping?  I wasn't dropping any eaves as the nasty ba-ba was yammering so loud that other customers in our section were shaking their heads and I was considering asking for another table.  The servers were clearly embarassed because they couldn't say anything to the owner's mommy.

Anyway, sweet family bickering aside, it was pretty unprofessional to have that kind of discussion at the workplace (even if it is in another language), all the while eating and dining over a bottle of wine (yes, they had a bottle of white wine while eating at their ramen shop), whilst entertaining customers like myself with their bickering.  The snot running down the young woman's nose was almost enough to turn me off my meal. 

I apologize for reducing this entry to the level of a trashy tabloid magazine, but those people really irked me.  The chef and staff may be Japanese, but if the person in charge keeps running the place this way, they are going to run it into the ground.  My suggestion to the staff that work at Sanpachi Robson, find another employer.  Public humiliation of your child/"owner of the company" is perfectly acceptable in a dim sum restaurant like Po King or shopping mall (lol, like my mother used to do to me when I was a kid), we're used to seeing something like that, but not in a Japanese restaurant. 

Sanpachi on Urbanspoon


  1. Saves me a trip to Sanpachi LMAO

  2. I believe this place is still owned by the same owner as the Thai restaurant before, an middle-aged (or older) HK lady. After they closed down their Thai and switched to ramen, Buddha Boy walked by once and the owner lady (older lady) was in there supervising the work of the workers during the reno...

  3. Hi Elaine,

    You like your ramen on the heavy side too? I can't stand Hokkaido style ramen.....for me, it feels watered down, lol.


    That's right, I heard there used to be a pretty good Thai restaurant in the same location.

    So, it's owned by an older HK lady? Her Mandarin didn't seem to have an HK accent....but anyways, it seemed like the ownership may have been passed on (maybe only in name) to the young woman I saw. The situation was really ugly, they were there before we got there, and they were there after, and the younger woman was just getting reamed out the entire time.....


  4. Hi KimHo,

    Sorry, can you repost your comment? I hit the wrong button and deleted it by accident.

    Yes, I personally don't care about authenticity either, but the ramen's gotta taste good. Kintaro's "authentic", but I hate it...Aji Sen's a Chinese operation, and I like it, but my favourite by far is still G-Men.


  5. I happened to stumble across this review when I was looking up Sanpachi Roboson.
    This restaurant replaced the Thai restaurant that I use to eat at, and I know that the owner of the Thai restaurant actually sold it.

    Thanks for the review though! I might still check it out to see the renovations.

  6. Hi Anonymous,

    Thanks for reading. Yeah, I heard good things about the Thai restaurant, but never got a chance to try it out.

    Hope your experience with Sanpachi Ramen is more peaceful than mine was, lol!



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