Regardless of the season or weather, ramen is an amazing bowl of wonders. The winter season heightens the comfort it brings to my body and mind. The ramen fever that has hit Sydney’s Chinatown in the recent week has brought nothing but joy to this ramen-loving heart of mine. A few days after a ramen place opened in Sussex Centre, one more has launched in Market City. But this time, it’s a Hakata style ramen place that goes by the name of Hakata-Maru.
|Hakata-Maru Ramen shopfront|
Hakata-Maru Ramen in Market City is one of many shops that the Japan based Toridoll company has opened globally (owns approx. 800 shops in Japan, China, Korea, Hong Kong, Thailand, Taiwan, Indonesia, America and Russia). Hakata style ramen uses noodles that are thinner compared to other ramen noodles. The soup base used for Hakata style ramen is tonkotsu (pork bone) broth. Hakata-Maru is situated inside Market City’s food court and features a look that partly resembles an old school ramen shop entrance.
The first of two ramens I tried is the cha shu ramen ($10.80). It uses white tonkotsu broth (basic tonkotsu broth), which has a light milky pork taste but with more cha shu (roast pork slices). The pieces of cha shu are tasty and tender. It's not as collagen loaded as most tonkotsu broths but it has enough richness and flavour to satisfy a tonkotsu ramen lover's palate. The noodles are cooked Al dente. The soft-boiled eggs are also cooked perfectly that the yolks are still a little bit runny.
The black tonkotsu ($8.80) was my favourite of the two. The darker shade of the broth comes from the dark garlic oil that the tonkotsu broth is topped with. The garlic oil and garlic flakes give the broth a deeper flavour and more pronounced pork/garlic character compared to a basic tonkotsu soup.
The karaage wings (ordered as a set with white tonkotsu ramen for a total of $9.80) are their take on a classic Japanese fried chicken dish. The succulent chicken wings have a thin crispy batter and is flavoured with a spice blend. It’s an absolute deep fried delight!
The gyozas (ordered as a set with white tonkotsu ramen for a total of $9.80) have the usual delicate caramelised crisped bottom and the dough skin perfectly cooked. The filling has well balanced flavours of pork, ginger, garlic, green onion and soy.
The servings are smaller compared to most ramen places that I have visited but it is still very satisfying. Hakata-Maru Ramen delivers both quality and value for money. Kaedama (extra bowl of noodles) is also available for an extra $1.
Shop 3 Level 3 Market City
9-13 Hay Street, Sydney, Australia 2000
Tel: (02) 9281 6648
Trading hours: Monday to Sunday 11:00 am - 7:30 pm
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