Japan Tsu Shin -Ramen Series – HOKKAIDO ICHIE

Gather The Family For Some Food And Fun

Desa Sri Hartamas is an area that still has a wide variety of places to have food and drinks. Options from Korean, German, Indian and Japanese are abundant. A rare standout is the warm wood traditional minimalist interior of family-friendly Hokkaido Ichie. Large groups and families are encouraged as the concept leans towards communal eating. Their signature dish is ‘kamameshi,’ translated literally is ‘kettle rice.’ There are ample side dish options, lunch specials and – the reason I am here – ramen.

Somewhat similar to Malaysia’s clay pot chicken rice, the house specialty is cooked in an iron pot called the ‘kama.’ In Japan, this dish emerged during the late Meiji period following the devastating 1923 Great Kantō earthquake. Made in a large pot with rice and some mixture of meat and vegetables, this conveniently served large groups while people were cleaning up and rebuilding. Versions of this dish are popular in Hong Kong today as well. It has been steadily refined and adjusted depending on the region. As the restaurant name implies, this version is from Hokkaido and is a pot full of hearty goodness.

Head chef and owner, Kon san, may eat Malaysian favorites like roti canai and mee goreng on any given day, but definitely enjoys exploring and tasting all sorts of local dishes. He projects a natural aura exposing a balanced fun and comfortable sensibility that comes out in his staff’s demeanor, food and overall environment. Aware that most Malaysians are not familiar with the time it takes to cook the traditional Japanese kamameshi, at least about 15 minutes, Kon san has provided games, masks and animal plush pillows to encourage the fun family communal atmosphere. My favorite is the samurai topknot rubber hair masks for taking some fun photos.

For this visit, I tried two types of ramen. Kon san added ramen as a lunch special based off of customer requests. So someone could eat an individual meal quickly. Exactly what ramen is all about. The first is the standard Hokkaido style miso ramen. The second, a first for me, ramen salad. Chicken stock and all chicken soft flakey meatballs give this Hokkaido style ramen a lighter mouthfeel. Mixing the butter in is impressively smooth and underlines the chicken miso base.

The ramen salad was delicious. Even the half size – there are two sizes, half and regular – comes in a large bowl with enough for two or three if as a shared starter. On a hot day, typical of most days in Kuala Lumpur, ramen salad is a healthy light, filling and refreshing meal. The noodles are customized to suit this dish, a bit thicker, straight and chewy. Because they are not sitting in broth, there is no need to rush to eat them before they swell. Topped with a fragrant sesame dressing, the giant bowl comes with multiple types of lettuce, broccoli, bell peppers, onions, corn, chicken, cucumber and tomatoes.

If you seek a different kind of clay pot rice, or what this series of reviews is focused on, some delicious ramen, Hokkaido Ichie has you covered in Desa Sri Hartamas.

No-7, Jalan 23/70a, Desa Sri Hartamas, 50480 KL
12noon-3:00pm, 6:00pm-11:00pm
03-6206 2720
FB: HokkaidoICHIE