Friday, July 22, 2011

japanese: i strongly recommend WANG WEI RAMEN



WANG WEI RAMEN
No. 40 Chang An E. Rd, Sec. 2
(02) 2571-1678

MRT: Song Jiang/ Nan Jing

website: Facebook page

hours: 11 AM - 10 PM

$$

Kid friendliness: no high chairs spotted

Visit reviewed: 4/1/2011 &


Most of us probably have memories of buying cheap packs of instant ramen or Cup O Noodle and eating them at home, or in college or at work because all you needed was water to make a quick meal. Maybe we even fancied it up with a soft boiled egg, some veggies or meat to make it more appetizing. And there's a ton of forgettable ramen shops out in LA and even Taipei where I've paid US$7 and thought I could have totally made a better bowl at home myself.

All the ramen I've had before pales in comparison to the ramen I had at Wang Wei Ramen, which should satisfy those who haven't yet found a real bowl of ramen in Taipei.


The busy ramen shop probably seats about 40 or so, and fills up quickly during the lunch hour. With an open kitchen, the seats in the back have a good view of the chefs.


The Chinese/Japanese only menu is a bit confusing to the uninitiated- I'm still a little confused by it now even after having eaten there twice. Available from left to right are styles from three regions- Shinshu (shown with the red square) which is more thick, Kyushu (the orange square) is more sweet, and Hokkaido (the right page with the brown square) which is more intense. Then within each column there are different bowls to choose from, with bowls ranging from NT$220-290.


My first visit I chose a spicy miso ramen (to the far right of the menu) and on my second visit I got a bowl of Kyushu ramen with three pieces of cha siu. Surprisingly, I couldn't finish three slices and the bowls are huge enough to share, if you wanted to.



The broth is thick, but not too oily and thick with miso flavor, some might say umami, and the wavy ramen has the perfect QQ bite. The cha siu pork slices are the biggest I've ever had. I loved the the pork slices from the first bite- the huge pieces of cha siu are thick, juicy and hot and not too fatty. (Unlike some ramen places in Taipei where I've experienced that put in cool or cold pieces of meat into a hot broth which makes for a lukewarm cha siu and terrible experience). In addition to adding extra slices of pork to your bowl for NT$30, you can also add corn, butter, egg or vegetables.

You can get more broth to dilute your broth if you think it's too thick/salty/heavy. On my second visit, I did feel like it was too salty and you can request for it to be diluted before it comes to you the first time.

The garlic/onion ramen variation that my friend ordered is seasonal, only available from November to May. The Kyushu ramens also come with a slice of sweet potato and are made from wheat flour.



The soft boiled egg over rice with meat sauce (NT$100) is supposed to be mixed together before eating, and is a good bowl for someone who's not feeling like ramen. You can also get just cha siu over rice.


The Japanese style fried chicken (NT$180) is perfectly crispy and tasty.


Ramen aficiandos, tell me- what is the difference between the various regions of ramen and does Wang Wei Ramen get it right?

14 comments:

Pandalicious said...

omg! that looks amazing. my mouth is watering! i'm gonna make some ramen now.

Anonymous said...

I can find this on a map, can you link it in google maps? Thanks!

Ken said...

you can find it here:

http://maps.google.com/maps?q=Taipei+City,+Taiwan&hl=en&ll=25.048689,121.532234&spn=0.002223,0.004715&sll=35.626446,139.723444&sspn=0.031813,0.059137&z=19

go on Zhang-An East Rd (heading WEST) - after crossing SongJian Road (running N-S), about half a block down, Zhang-An, you will find the restaurant on the left-hand side.

Ken said...

Once again, Joanh has picked a nice restaurant - this place probably has the best quality toppings of any ramen shop in Taipei (the 炙りチャーシュー or the pork slices get braised a second time before going on top - I know of only two shops in Tokyo that do this). The soup was also excellent, and the noodles were pretty good (it's hard to find good noodles in Taipei: 一心一勝 has the best noodles with excellent soup, but so-so toppings). As for authenticity, Wang Wei is pretty good. Usually, certain regions are known for certain types of ramen - shoyu in Tokyo, pork-bone in Kyushu, and miso in Hokkaido, but since it's too hard for one shop to do all types well, they usually concentrate on one type. FWIW, most authentic good ramen in Taipei are probably ラーメン花月嵐 (but they messed up their egg - Wang Wei's is much better) and 楽麺屋 (may be the best, overall). Thanks for introducing us to Wang Wei Ramen, Joanh!

joanh said...

pandalicious: thanks for commenting! it was good!!

anonymous: sorry i didn't get a chance to do it earlier. thanks ken!

ken: thanks again for commenting! i love the pork slices there too and haven't been to the other ramen places you've mentioned... i always love hearing from people who actually visit places and enjoy them based on my posts

broadbean said...

I went here a couple of days ago - I had never imagined char siu could be soooo delicious! Thanks for the recommendation.

joanh said...

broadbean= thanks for commenting. it's pretty tasty, huh? :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks to your recommendation, I visited this place a few weeks ago. It was great! Perfectly cooked noodles and great flavor.

Ken said...

OK, I went in for my second visit. Had the Sapporo Cheese Ramen this time (seasonal) - that's not a typo - in the last few years, cheese ramen has actually been quite popular with ramen fanatics in Japan. The grated parmesan cheese was excellent - I like it best half-melted in the thick miso soup.

My impression this time: the noodles are actually quite good (not soft like most Taipei ramen shops - these taste like they were made in-house) and the soup is excellent (very flavorful and a bit salty - the way it should be), but the chashu should be cooked a bit better - they weren't cooked long enough.

Aburi chashu, when cooked right, should just melt in your mouth, and the only way you can pull this off without making your customers wait an hour, is to actually prepare the chashu by pre-cooking.

When the order comes in, you grill it one more time to heat it up and char the meat. The best shops in Japan all do it this way. When I took a peek at Wang Wei Ramen's kitchen, I could tell they were cooking chashu from scratch - too late...

I think next time, I will try the spicy miso, but Wang Wei should really have Tan-tan mien - their style of noodles (thick noodles typical of Sapporo-style ramen) and their quality miso soup are actually perfect for Japanese-style tan-tan mien.

Bigjoet said...

2 bites into the ginormous bowl, I already know I'll be recommending this to everyone!! Thanks!!!!

Ken said...

Had their soft-boiled egg with minced pork over rice and their 冷やし担々麺 (Cold Tan Tan noodles) last night. Both were quite good.

The quality of the minced pork is excellent (there seems to be little fat), so much so that I actually prefer it to their pork slices as a topping (I know this is heresy, but the quality of their cooking of the pork slices is uneven - sometimes, it's too hard and sometimes, it melts in your mouth). The Tan Tan noodles were al dente to the extreme - the ice cubes in the soup made sure that they were chewy. The soup managed to be salty, sweet, and spicy all at the same time. The noodles have the same minced pork as a topping. With the cucumbers and tomato as topping, the entire combination certainly reminded me of Korean 冷麺, the biggest difference being the sesame in the Tan Tan mian. On a packed Friday night, I couldn't find anyone else ordering these noodles and my order definitely took longer than the regular hot soup - I suspect many Taiwanese probably think the idea of noodles in cold soup quite odd, as I had in the distant past. But for me, these noodles are repeatable.

Suprisingly, I am finding myself liking WANG WEI RAMEN more and more - I especially like their seasonal offerings.

Ken said...

Had their 冷やし坦々麺 (cold Tan-tan noodles) twice in the last two weeks. If you've never had cold noodle soup before, you may find this a bit weird the first few times. In my case, because I've been seriously jogging every morning, I've had to look for "healthier" ramen to satisfy my cravings. Wang wei's 冷やし坦々麺 fits the bill. The soup is cooled off with three ice cubes and somehow manages to be salty, sweet, a little spicy all at the same time. The noodles are firm, not too unlike Korean cold noodles. The ground pork is the same as what they use on the side-dish on top of rice (excellent). I will definitely go several more times before the summer is out. It seems like I am hooked on WANG WEI's special seasonal ramen.

Anonymous said...

Just ate their thanks to the posting and comments. I have only had "real" ramen once before this in new york and this was just so good. I a bowl from the first section, spicy with veggies, one slice of the melt in your mouth pork, and an extra, and totally perfect egg. It was outstanding. I walked 5 miles round trip for it. Worth it!

Cris Stringfellow said...

just going there now, thanks to you!

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