Japan Tsu Shin -Ramen Series – DARUMA SHOKUDO

Crafting a Classic Meal, A Bowl of ‘Rich Tonkotsu’ Ramen at Daruma Shokudou

 
A story, incredible or mundane, naturally has a beginning and an end. How the story teller crafts this depends on a variety of factors. Style is one of them, cultural nuances another. Participation and interpretation are developed by the reader and listener. Much like crafting a classic meal, or in this case, a bowl of ramen. Approaches to accomplish this joint creative process are many. Stepping into Daruma Shokudo at 1 Mont Kiara, the persuasion begins.
Impeccable décor here means holding true to a classic Japanese aesthetic in a bold way. Bright and spacious, this restaurant is very inviting. Immediately, my favorite part is definitely the back wall with a large stylized traditional daruma print. The friendly owner, Masayuki Igarashi greets and serves many of the patrons while we are there. He allows for a break from his duties to share some of his story and philosophy. After training for over 13 years in food and beverage, 10 of which were in bustling Tokyo as well as a short period in Houston, Texas, Igarashi-san opened Daruma Shokudo in Malaysia. Nearing the end of their first year, he seems to note and appreciate the struggles that have brought him to this point.

A daruma is considered a gift of encouragement that stems from early depictions of Bodhidharma. A beautiful woodblock print by Yoshitoshi from 1887 is an ideal reference for what may have inspired the daruma. For Igarashi-san, it his humble reminder to his past failings. This type of figure is referred to as an ‘okiagari’ underlining the saying “nanakorobi yaoki” or “seven times down, eight times up.” As a talisman for good fortune and symbol of perseverance, selecting the daruma as the shop icon emphasizes these aspects. The menu is extensive and goes well beyond a standard ramen shop. For me this is an izakaya or family restaurant. Igarashi-san highlights his philosophy to deliver good food at affordable prices. Malaysians tend to look for more menu options than a typical Japanese visiting a ramen shop. Well, with such a large space in a shopping mall, I can understand why.

We came to try the ramen, and as usual, the most popular is the ‘Rich Tonkotsu.’ Each day, toppings are prepared in house. The broth is adjusted daily and he states that flavors may vary. He really opens it up and depends on communication from the customer to adjust levels of salty and sweet to meet their taste. So far, locals make up 70% of the customer base, and in November they are expanding to Melaka with a yakitori concept. We tasted the chef’s favorites, garlic kuro tonkotsu and rich miso tonkotsu. Initial notes were of the distinctly strong gamey aroma. Identifiably from the slices of charsu, a bit thin and tough for my taste, and over powering to all the other elements. Noodles were springy and firm with a nice texture, but difficult to fully enjoy. Both broths lean more towards a light taste with a distinctly thin mouthfeel.

For Igarashi-san, the design of the space puts customers in the relaxed and stress reducing environment. His primary objective is to offer a space for people to come and unwind. I look forward to observing Daruma Shokudo’s development.


DARUMA SHOKUDO

Unit L1-20, 1, 1, Jalan Kiara, Mont Kiara, 50480 KL
10am-10pm
03-6206 3977
FB: 達磨食堂 Daruma Shokudo

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