Ramen Zundo, Sydney: Tantanmen

Rating: 4 out of 5

Ramen Zundo
Shop 10.30 World Square, 644 George St, Sydney 2000

ramen zundo lanternsWorld Square’s little alleyways, crammed with side by side eateries, reminds me a bit of Asia. The buzz and brightly lit doorways transport me the streets of Sapporo or Hong Kong or Singapore.

In the midst of action is Ramen Zundo, and I’m immediately drawn to the front window, which is filled floor to ceiling with red and white lanterns. Very striking. The menu is a dazzling array of choices, with curries and donburi, and enough ramen options to render this hapless noodler torn between tonkotsu or chicken broth, small or large, standalone ramen or a set, mild or spicy. As tempted as I was by the tsukemen, the Zundo black (particularly after I loved the black ramen at Hakata-Maru), and the Double Soup – can’t decide between tonkotsu or chicken broth? Have both! – I opted for the tantanmen.

ramen zundo tantanmen

The tantanmen ($12.80) came after a much shorter time than it took to place the order, and was delivered with a  sweet and polite nod and smile from our server. The menu indicated that this would be a spicy affair, and the anticipation was heightened when I saw the liberal sprinkling of dried chilli flakes on the noodles. First things first, I had a taste of the soup and it certainly had a lovely, rounded flavour with a fiery kick to finish, and didn’t feel very heavy.

The yellow, straight noodles were soft with still a bit of bite. The pork mince was flecked with more chilli, but it was delicious and moist, and particularly tasty when spooning it out of the bowl after it had absorbed the soup flavours. Some freshness and texture was added with the baby bok choy and sweet bean sprouts.

This was a very enjoyable noodle experience, with something on the menu to suit everyone, and polite and quick service. Next time I might work up an appetite and get a ramen set so that I can sample the curry or donburi without missing out on my noodle fix!

ramen zundo restaurant

Ramen Zundo on Urbanspoon

Sambal, North Ryde: Har mee

Rating: 3 out of 5

Sambal
285-297 Lane Cove Road, North Ryde 2113

har mee sambal

Laksa and char kway teow may be the most well-know Singaporean-Malaysian noodle dishes, but a stand out option for prawn lovers is always the har mee. It’s not for the faint hearted though, since the prawn stock can pack a punch. It is made from the simmering of prawn heads and shells, sometimes with the addition of pork, and the intense prawn smell and taste will overwhelm your senses.

The har mee at Sambal ($13.80) doesn’t quite hit you between the eyes like others that I’ve had.  It still has a lovely sweet, prawn flavour but it is not up there in the intensity scale.  This would be a good thing if this was your first ever har mee and you wanted to ease yourself into it, but for seasoned har mee veterens, this might be a tad disappointing.  It is a light-coloured broth, filled with the typical mix of yellow hokkien noodle and thin rice vermicelli.  It is topped with thinly sliced pork, which is a bit on the dry side, and within the soup you will find a few half slices of prawns, although you’ll be left foraging in your soup for more.  Mixed in with the noodles are fresh bean sprouts for some added crunch.

The service here at Sambal is pleasant and efficient, and even when it is jam packed during lunch service, the meals still come out relatively quickly.  There is a nice buzz and atmosphere here when it’s busy, and they have an outdoor dining section too, which would be fantastic on a nice sunny day.  Overall, it’s a decent Singaporean-Malaysian establishment.  The har mee may not be a huge hit with some, but will definitely appeal to others.  Just in case you were wondering, the laksa and char kway teow here are worth it.

Sambal on Urbanspoon