Thursday, July 28, 2011

Nan Chuu Japanese Izakaya

Great news!  Suzuki Minoru of G-Men Ramen fame is now back in the saddle and making the lower mainland's finest ramen!  Nan Chuu Japanese Izakaya will now be serving ramen!

Kintaro, Benkei, Santouka, Sampachi. Aji Sen, Menya and serveral others were available, but G-men's Miso ramen was by far the best ramen I've had outside of Japan.  It was rich, it was intense, it was exciting.  I got that eager feeling of anticipation before sitting down to a bowl of ramen there.  My friend and fellow foodie Eric once ordered two bowls in a row.  The atmosphere always mentally put me back in Japan and the service was always spot on.  It was my little ramen paradise on this side of the Pacific. 

When G-men ramen closed down, I was devastated.  I told everyone I would find out where G-Men's chef went, stalk him and get him to make me a bowl of ramen.  A few months later, through a strange turn of events, I found him!  I got a chance to taste some samples last night and to my surprise, discovered something that tasted even better than his miso ramen - his Shio Tonkotsu Ramen, but I'll get to that after.

The first thing we got to try was cabbage. Doesn't sound very exciting does it? But I was as surprised as anyone else that this simple looking cabbage dish was freakin' amazing. It was lightly dressed with sesame oil, salt, pepper and probably some other stuff, and a perfect way to start the night off.

We also got to try two slight variations of chicken karaage. The first had slightly more seasoning than the second, but don't get me wrong, both were delicious. The meat was incredibly tender, and you know it's the freshest of the fresh, the skin nice and crispy, and the coating had a reasonable amount of seasoning. Add a squirt of lemon or a dip of mayonaise, and you end up with a plate of happiness.

Ok, so maybe it isn't better than his Miso Ramen, but it is a damn fine substitute, and thinking back, I'd have a hard time deciding if one was actually better than the other because I love them both.  I could easily order the Shio Tonkotsu if Miso wasn't available.  Anyway, my ramen was AWESOME. The broth here is nice and rich, and seasoned to perfection.  Some may maon about it being too rich, or too salty, but this is exactly the way I like my ramen, and to be honest, I think ramen should be like this.  If you're not screaming for a cup of cold water when you're done, you didn't have good ramen.

The noodles were cooked perfectly - no soggy, fat noodles, or undercooked, clumped-together noodles here. I really couldn't find any flaw in the ramen that I had, and you're hearing this from a guy that lives primarily on Miso Ramen. The only thing I probably would have preferred was a fattier cut of chashu.  The only problem is, alot of people don't share my taste in fat and unhealthy cuts of meat, so looks like I lose to the world.  Anyway, the entire bowl tasted like pure guilty pleasure, and I greedily gulped down every last bit.   Minoru-san, you truly are the Ramen Master.

Other's had different types of ramen, including tan tan men, which could give my dad's tan tan mien a run for it's momey. The sesame paste was mixed in smoothly (no clumps of sesame paste) and there was just the right amount kick.

We finished off the food sampling with fried rice, which had the right amount of shine.  Although I was pretty full by that point, it still tasted really good. 
On to the drinks!  Nan Chuu is an izakaya afterall, haha!  We were given a variety of drink samples, mostly named after movies, and most of which I cannot remember the names for the life of me. 
This one tasted like Mr. Freeze ice bars, the ones you used to get for 50 cents at the corner store.  You know, the ones that turn your tongue whatever color the ice bar is?  Anyway, this one tasted really good.  I think it had calpis and some other stuff in it.
This one was calpiss, cassis and some other stuff....another really tasty drink.
Suzuki-san on the left, Hide sensei on the right.
This one apparently was minty, but I didn't try it.
The Godfather, haha, the only drink name I remembered.  I think it was basically a Black Russian, but I'll have to double check that.....or you could double check that for me and let me know, haha!

By the time this drink came around, I was pretty bagged, and I had to drive home eventually so I cut myself off and sucked back hot tea for the next few hours.  Great food, excellent service, awesome experience.  Would I go back?  Absolutely!  During this visit, I also heard that Nan Chuu wll be one of the few ramen shops open till the wee hours of the morning.  If I had my way, I'd have them open 24 hrs, haha! 

Nan Chuu Japanese Izakaya on Urbanspoon


  1. Hurrah! You gotta bring me to that place when I go back again later this year, Pete! Hahaha!

  2. Haha, hey man, good to see you're still reading! Folks, let me introduce to you Fatman, my pal that ordered two bowls of Miso Ramen - in a row!


  3. Love your blog!

    1. Does Nan Chuu now serve ramen during lunch AND dinner?
    2. If I were to go there today, is ramen now on the menu?

  4. Hi Jeff,

    Thanks for reading! When I went there, they were still renovating the place. I heard they were going to open up shop in the beginning of August so it should be any day now. If I were you though, I'd give them a call first to make sure they're ready to go. 604-276-8391.


  5. Thanks for the info Peter!:)

    I will give them a shout since I was also disappointed with Gmen suddenly closed down.

    Keep up the great work! :)

  6. No problem, let me know how your experience goes!


  7. But of course Petey, this is the best way to stay in touch. BTW, I plan to be back for a couple of weeks sometime in November/December. I will let you know.

  8. I read this post a while back, but I was never really a fan of G-Men to begin with... too salty for me! But if you keep insisting, I will have to try :) The good thing about this place is that they have other dishes as well, not just ramen!

  9. Yes, salty! Haha, if salt isn't your thing, maybe you shouldn't try, haha! I always need a glass of ice water next to me when having cleanses the palate and I can start again!


  10. Hi

    Thanks for the posting, I used to Gmen big fans, so sad first they change the menu like removed the ear mushroom (they said lazy to clean) change with aboundant smelly bomboo shoot, which kintaro has best bamboo shoot, then a month letter they just closed down. btw do they have soupless ramen in Nanchu? how is the price for the ramen? more importantly how is the char siu?

  11. Hi Porce,

    Thanks for reading, sorry, I don't remember if they have soupless ramen at Nan Chuu. I've been there twice now, and I haven't even noticed! I'll have to go back again to investigate =)

    The price for ramen here is definitely reasonable. I kept going to G-men because it was, well, the best ramen in town, but also because the prices were reasonable. The chashu was a bit too lean for my first visit, but perfect the second time I went. I think if you're picky like me, you can probably request fat or lean, but the chef knows I like it at least 50/50 so it was perfect on my second visit.



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