Suika: Ramen to Rival Santouka
1626 West Broadway, Vancouver
Appalled that I had never been to Suika, Dennis, May and Rick took me there for a late dinner. I don’t know how I missed this place off my eating wishlist, but it has now rised to the top as one of my fave restaurants.
Below is the obligatory shot of the very cool light fixture in the dining area. It’s apparently featured in as many food blogs as Suika’s food is.
Dennis knew his way around the menu so he did all the ordering. We started with oysters dressed with scallions and a sweet and spicy chili oil. The oysters were smooth and tasty.
Next up were the ebimayo: deep fried prawns. The prawns were gigantic and juicy in the middle, encased in a very tasty and crispy batter. I wish there were more of them!
Normally, I don’t order tuna dishes (except for toro sashimi) since I prefer salmon over tuna, but the lightly smoked tuna tataki at Suika was delicious. The meat was silky and delicate, the lightly cooked crust flaking away and melting in my mouth as I ate it. I also loved how the delicate tuna meat picked up the smoky flavours and the spice from the chili oil.
The corn kakiage (fritters) were my favourite. They’re just corn niblets fried in batter but somehow they were the perfect combo of crunch, saltiness and sweetness. I much prefer these deep fried corn goodies over popcorn any day.
Our other deep fried appetizer was the tako karaage: octopus slices. They were crispy, crunchy and as addictive as the corn kakiage. The octopus meat under the batter was soft and tender, not overly chewy at all.
The scene stealer of the night was the sizzling beef filet steak that came to the table on a hot stone plate. It smelled amazing, smoky, peppery and rich.
The beef was tender and succulent. We had to quickly gobble it up though before the hot stone plate cooked the steak through.
It’s hard to dine with Dennis and not have pork on the table. Filling the pork quota this time was the kakuni bibimbap: stewed pork belly on rice with sweet dried shrimp and scallions served in a hot stone bowl.
The thing that I love about dining with other bloggers is that they love taking pictures of their food as much as I do. So before our server mixed up the pork belly meat with the steamed rice, we asked to take pictures. And yes, we all pointed our cameras at that little sizzling bowl of rice and pork belly like there was no tomorrow. Hey, what’s more fun than documenting food, right? After we took a million pictures, our server mashed up the pork belly and mixed it in with the rice, pressing everything up against the sides of the hot stone bowl so it could stay warm.
I loved this dish (not just taking photos of it!), it was salty and delicious. The rice soaked up all the fatty flavours of the tender pork belly and the scallions added an extra crunch to the dish. The sauce was a sweet and salty soy mixture.
Here was the biggest surprise: the Tokyo oxtail ramen was just as tasty as ramen from topnotch ramen restaurants, Santouka and Kintaro. I never know what to expect when ordering ramen from restaurants not specializing in it. But the ramen at Suika was amazing, the noodles were thick and chewy and the broth was well seasoned and flavourful.
The oxtail meat was very tender, it just fell apart in my bowl of noodles.
I loved that instead of mints, a little bowl of frozen grapes were served with our bill. Would you believe that I’ve never had a frozen grape before? I know. What kind of foodie am I? It’s such a simple but unique after-dinner nibble. The ice cold grape juice that slowly melted on my tongue was just the right refreshing hit of sweet tartness after all those deep fried goodies.
I can’t wait to go back to Suika to try all the other menu items!