Vancouver’s ever-expanding ramen scene can count one more contender for stellar slurp-able noodles and soup. Ramen Danbo, located in Kitsilano on 4th near Burrard, has recently opened its doors, serving up steaming bowls of specialty broth and noodles with a few custom twists.
Ramen Danbo specializes in Fukuoka-style ramen, which is traditional Tonkotsu ramen crafted in the Kyushu Hakata style. This is the first restaurant outside of Japan for the Danbo chain, which launched in 2000.
The two key signature components of Danbo’s ramen are their thin noodles, which are served on the more firm side. Because they lose their elasticity in the hot broth, however, Danbo serves a smaller portion of the noodles in each bowl. Customers then can add an additional serving of noodles, called Kaedama, for $1 for a half-portion and $2 for a full portion.
These taut, toothsome noodles swim in a complex house-made broth created by pressure cooking at a high boil using treated water. Danbo set up the kitchen with a NeuG7 “Quantum Water Generator” system, which provides oxygenated and “electron-activated” water used in the broth. The result is a deeply complex “umami” flavour of tonkotsu broth, which, in all but one of the options (the Negi-goma, or Green Onion and Sesame), is further enriched by lard.
Customers can tweak their order in a series of ways to customize their ramen experience. First, at no additional cost, diners select the scale for each of the following: firmness of the noodles, the thickness of the noodle broth, and the amount of lard and spicy tare sauce. Add-ons with an upcharge include soft boiled egg, nori (seaweed), Kikurage (cloud ear mushroom), or extra slices of their supple Yakibuta Chashu Pork.
Danbo offers a slender selection of sides, mostly rice-based items, though their pork gyoza are noteworthy for their juicy filling and crispy-crunchy satisfying pan sear.
The din inside Danbo is undeniable; with a staff of native Japanese-speakers calling orders and greetings in traditional style, a small and sparse interior, and a busy open kitchen, it’s fortunate the act of diving your spoon and chopsticks into the glossy brown broth to draw up the noodle, pork, and other savoury bits takes some concentration, as it’s tough to hold a conversation. No matter; odds are much of what you want to say is how tasty each mouthful is, and what delightful snap the noodles have.
Address: 1833 West 4th Avenue, Kitsilano
Hours: Daily 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.