The basis of any self-respecting bowl of ramen is the happy union of broth, noodles and toppings. But essential to a good swallow is the tare; not unlike the mirepoix in a soup, this is the shio (salt), shoyu (soy) or miso base that gives ramen its distinct flavour profile. With this in mind, we tested Melbourne’s ramen shops to find the best of the bunch. Still hungry? Try one of Melbourne's best Japanese restaurants or dumpling houses instead.
The best ramen shops in Melbourne
This nifty ramen bar makes up for lack of space with the option to upgrade to Godzilla-sized bowls. Try the less conventional bowls; you won’t miss out on any umami action with the miso-based vegetarian ramen, and the Chinese-inspired tantanmen is rich and spicy in equal measures.
These guys have no qualms about not being authentic and that’s okay. The menu is a cultural mishmash of ramen, bao sandwiches and pies for dessert, but they take their ramen seriously: noodles are made fresh in-house, the tonkotsu is light and punchy, and the creamy veggie broth with cashew milk might just win over meat eaters.
Skip the greasy hot chips next time you’ve got the 3am munchies. Shujinko is open 24 hours and will do you a world of good the next day if you’ve been hitting the bars. The fiery karakuchi ramen smacks you across the face in a nice way, and the hiyashi tantanmen with a cool chicken broth and jumbo prawns will be a great summer alternative.
If you want your ramen to arrive in front of you faster than you say ‘tonkotsu’, make a beeline for Fukuryu Ramen, a Chinatown ramen spot that’s all about the efficiency. The menu runs the gamut of traditional ramen, but try the not-so-traditional chicken tonkotsu ramen, vegetarian miso ramen and a chilled seafood noodle salad with yuzu jelly.
How to eat ramen like a pro
Eating ramen is serious business. Follow the these steps and get maximum deliciousness out of every bowl.
1. Pull out a bit of noodles with your chopsticks. Take less than you think you need for optimal slurp action.
2. Using your chopsticks, lift the noodles until they're untangled, then dip them in and out of the soup.
3. Get slurping. It's a bit like drinking fancy wine, you want to suck air into your mouth to make the slurping sound. Don’t be afraid to make some noise.
4. Alternate between noodle slurping, broth sipping and taking bites out of the chashu pork.
5. Don't stop when the noodles are finished. Pick up your bowl and drink the broth right out of it.