From ramen, udon and soba, we narrow down the best Japanese restaurants in KL to get a bowl of comforting hot noodles. Save this list for a rainy day.
RECOMMENDED: The best yakitori bars in KL
Headed by Chef Nakajima (formerly of Kura and Minori), the small Japanese restaurant in Damansara Uptown specialises in homemade udon. Perfect for a rainy day, the creamy curry udon at Udon Kobo Min Min is served with thin pork slices. The wheat flour noodles (freshly made daily) are not too thick, springy to the bite, and highly satisfying.
Must order: Curry udon, RM20.90
Kampachi’s delicate buckwheat noodles are handmade daily in-house. Here, the silky threads of soba (pick from a choice of hot dashi broth, cold seiro soba in dipping sauce, cha soba or plain zaru soba) are thin and light with a springy texture. We recommend that you go with the cold soba: crack the quail egg into the dipping broth, add chopped scallions, and swirl the soba in the soy-based sauce before slurping it up. Soba, so good.
Must order: Cha soba, RM44
With bits of sweet pork fat and a meaty flavour in its broth, the Kakuni Bankara at Tokyo-based ramen joint Bankara Ramen is not for the faint-hearted. Apart from chashu slices, this gelatin-rich ramen broth that practically coats your teeth comes with kakuni (pork that has been braised for two days), and we suggest that you add ajitsuke tamago (eggs with soy sauce marinade for a deeply orange, barely runny yolk) to the deal. Each table is outfitted with a garlic crusher, sesame seeds, vinegar, soy sauce, and a small tub of fresh garlic. Small eaters, go for the half-noodle option which comes with additional chashu and nori.
Must order: Kakuni Bankara, RM34.80++
It’s no accident Ippudo sits high up on the ramen throne: every bowl of ramen that exits the kitchen is consistently good. The Akamaru Shinaji is built to please – thin noodles (have it four ways: soft, normal, hard or very hard) wallow in a belly-warming tonkotsu stock with a special blend of miso paste, surrounded by bean sprouts, kikurage, spring onions, pork loin, pork belly and seaweed. Their less indulgent shoyu ramen with chicken clear broth gets little love, but it’s still deceptively filling with the combo of noodles, pork loin, bamboo shoots, leeks, narutomaki and seaweed.
Must order: Akamaru Shinaji, RM26.90
Menya Musashi’s signature rich pork bone broth is reason enough to drop by, but it’s the variety of flavours that keep customers coming back for more. You can choose different types of flavoured oil to go with your ramen, which include Shiro (onion), Kuro (fried shallots and garlic) and more.
The soupy ramen is served with the thin Hakata-style ramen, while the miso ramen and dipping noodle are served with thick egg noodles. The Musashi Ramen proved to be the best; we finished the soup in true Japanese fashion – drinking from the bowl itself. Prices may differ per outlet.
Must order: Musashi Ramen, RM27