April 07, 2013

Nao Ramen, Perth

I love Perth, but it has been hard finding good Japanese food here. Gumshara Ramen in Sydney has set the ramen bar very high, so imagine my surprise when I read about a great authentic ramen place here in Perth - that makes ramen from scratch, both their noodles and their chashu! After reading about Nao Ramen I immediately decided to seek them out - but then I was pulled up short. Wait, wasn't there a place called "Nao" just a few doors down from where we were staying?


Why yes, yes there was. We had been staying just a few steps from the best most authentic ramen in Perth, and I hadn't even bothered to poke my nose in. In my defence they're mostly open for lunch. Monday through Thursday from 11:30 am till 6pm, Sundays from noon till 5pm, but they are open late on Friday night and I had noticed the queues outside but had foolishly assumed they were people queueing for the backpacker's hostel next door. Enough breast beating, we immediately decided to have our next Sunday brunch there. Sarah, Debbie, and I got a booking for noon and resolved to give them a try.  When we arrived at 11:45 there was already a queue stretching down the street!


The menu is fairly basic, ramen, some other noodle dishes, some one plate meals, a bit of sushi, and some side dishes, but everyone comes for the ramen. There are the standard three types: "shio" a salt and stock based broth, "miso" a stock and fermented soy bean paste based broth, and "shoyu" a soy sauce and stock based broth. You can also get spicy miso broth. You can choose from three noodles: standard egg noodles, spinach flavored, and chili flavored. You can add garlic, seaweed, green onion, or more chashu for an additional cost.


We had miso ramen with chashu, butter and corn; shoyu ramen with chashu and garlic; and spicy miso ramen with chashu; all with standard noodles. We also ordered a side of gyoza (fried japanese dumplings.) All of them were excellent! The noodles had a nice spring to them, not overcooked, the chashu was traditional Japanese style roast pork belly. Each of the broths had a nice clarity of flavor and the presentation of the ramen was excellent.


I had chatted with Naoki-san earlier in the week about his ramen making machine, and the possibility of getting tonkotsu ramen from him (When I asked he said "Are you from Kyushu?" "No, I'm American."  "Well , we sometimes make it on special request.") I may ask him at some point but really there's no need, the ramen is wonderful just the way it is.

It was a lovely afternoon and we all left quite satisfied.