Genkotsu Ramen, Eight Mile Plains

Ramen is almost synonymous with rain, cold weather and comfort. There is nothing more satisfying than a hot bowl of ramen on a cold winter’s day, or in this case, a breezy and slightly chilly summer afternoon.

Excitement was building as the construction for Genkotsu Ramen was underway and as soon as it was open, we quickly ventured over and lined up with the quickly growing crowd of diners. The restaurant itself was a lot smaller thank anticipated, seating about 20 people at once. Despite that, the table was still quite spacious to fit all the food (which of course is the most important thing). The menu offered a large range of ramen, making the decision quite hard as everything sounded absolutely delicious.

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The first thing we decided on was the spicy gyoza which was delicious. A little moist on the inside and slightly charred and crispy on the outside. The gyoza itself wasn’t overly spicy, but had enough of a hint to give it an extra zing on the taste buds.

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The kaarage was flavoursome and succulent, with a slight crisp which melted in the mouth. The sauce worked beautifully with the kaarage, adding just the perfect tang and creaminess.

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With nine different types of ramen, it was hard trying to decide what we would order first (although we knew we would be back again). The Gyokai Tonkotsu, a seafood flavoured soup was the first pick. The ramen was topped with charshu, boiled egg, bamboo shoots, dried seaweed and shallot. The first mouthful of the soup ended up tasting quite fishy, which was a let down. After mixing everything together, the fishy taste was still there. However, a friend had ordered the same ramen but that fishy taste was barely present. This however could be due to being newly open and not having everything to perfection just yet.

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As a caution to those that don’t fare to well with spicy meals, avoid the Karamen. The extremely spicy chilli flavoured broth definitely got the sweat dripping. Topped with pork chashu, shallots and a boiled egg, the ramen was definitely delicious and flavoursome if you could brave through the spices.

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With our second visit to Genkotsu Ramen, we decided to try out more simpler flavours. The Black Garlic ramen with soy sauce was mouth watering and tantalising on the taste buds. The garlic oil, pork chat, boiled eggs, bamboo shoots and dried seaweed worked so well together without any particular ingredient being overpowering. A definite must try if you can’t decide on what to order and don’t mind trying something a little different.

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With a slightly salted pork broth and pork chashu, the Shio Tonkotsu is the perfect ramen for those who are looking for a simple ramen with all the flavours but without the frills. With this ramen, you can add your own chilli powder and sesame to taste without altering the original flavours.

With such a flavoursome broth, Genkotsu Ramen is the perfect restaurant to taste authentic ramen. The only fault would be that the pork chashu was cut quite thick and didn’t tie in as seamlessly with the noodles, but that however is a personal preference. The broth however is spot on, making sure you have slurped up every last drop before leaving with an extremely full belly.

In love and food,

Vivi

Genkotsu Ramen on Urbanspoon

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Travel Food Diary: Osaka, Japan

If a single word was used to describe Japan, it would be the word ‘mesmerising’ and all the synonyms that belong to it.

The people were charming, the landscape was captivating, the culture was enchanting and the food (*inserts a big sigh of love*) the food was absolutely spellbinding.

My love affair with Dōtonbori started as soon as I caught a glimpse of the bright lights and the whiff of food circulating from the street vendors. Time slowed down, but my heartbeat quicken as I wandered from store to store, enamoured by all the food on the menus. The hardest decisions were, what was I going to eat and how was I going to fit it all in.

From takoyaki to ramen, this is a sample of my food journey through Dōtonbori in Osaka.

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Okonomiyaki with mochi

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Fried oyster curry

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Tempura omu-rice

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Takoyaki

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Chūtoro bowl

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Mister Donut

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You can never go around the world without having the classic Starbucks

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150 yen sushi

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Takoyaki

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Vending machines with cold and hot drinks, genius!

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Salmon

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Ramen

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Chicken katsu curry

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Have you been to Osaka? If so, where is your favourite place to eat?

In love and food,

Vivi

Tokyo Express, Toowong

Nestled behind Woolworths near Toowong Village is Tokyo Express, a small family owned business that creates some of the most mouthwatering sushi on the west side of Brisbane. Although there is an abundance of sushi chains around Brisbane, it can often be quite a challenge to find fresh sushi that is light and full of flavour.

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Salmon aburi

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Chef’s special

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SAO (salmon, avocado, onion) 

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Salmon handroll

As an avid fan of both salmon and avocado, any sushi combination with the two ingredients are utterly delicious and very welcomed. The salmon at Tokyo Express is always fresh, and the avocados ripe to perfection (I swear restaurants must source their avocados from an Avocado God as it is never the same when you buy them to bring home).

Being at Tokyo Express is reminiscent to my recent trip to Japan – fresh fresh fresh! By using more salmon than rice, the rice simply sits on the side as a filler and lets the combination of the fresh salmon, smooth avocado and sharp onion creates a tantalising affect on your taste buds.

My favourite dish would have to be their salmon hand rolls (they also have other meat fillings in their hand rolls but I’m a sworn addict to salmon). The crisp crunch of the seaweed paired with the softness of the salmon and avocado is just a mouth orgasm that’ll want you having more.

If you find that sushi still leaves you feeling quite peckish, they also offers set meals and other snacks on the menu that’ll leave your tummy feeling happy and full. With seatings around the sushi train as well as booth, Tokyo Express is extremely family friendly.

In love and food,

Vivi

Tokyo Express on Urbanspoon

8 Street, Westfield Garden City

Westfield Garden City keeps getting better with the near completion of their renovations. The biggest highlight of the new centre is the Asian food precinct & beer garden, known as 8 Street, located on the ground floor towards Coles.

Stepping into 8 Street, you are transported into an atmospheric realm that replicates that of an Asian marketplace. The busy flow of people along the lane way, the delicious scent of food and the beautiful wooden fixtures sets up a scene that can be found in many places around Asia. A feature that enhances the dining experience is the clear glass panels that are situated at each of the 13 stalls which shows off the chef’s cooking skills.

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Teppanyaki Lovers specialises in Japanese cuisine. The chefs at this stall are quite the performers with their little fire tricks while cooking and can be quite mesmerising to watch as they cook the food on the large hot plate. A dish that they’ve mastered to perfection is the teriyaki chicken dish which is served in a bento box with rice, gyoza, tamagoyaki (a Japanese rolled omelette). The teriyaki chicken is succulent as well as slightly charred which gives off a tasty smokey flavour.

Teppanyaki Lovers on Urbanspoon

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Steamed juicy mini dumplings ($7.00/6 pieces)

Dim Sum by Taste Gallery offers a range of mini dumplings, savoury pancakes and soup. The most popular dish on their menu would be the steamed juicy mini dumplings. These mini dumplings have a delicious pork filling as well as a hot broth inside (so be cautious when biting into them). They make a great entree for enticing your taste buds before you feast on some more food at 8 Street.

Dim Sum on Urbanspoon

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Special Singaporean fried rice noodle ($10.90)

Noodle 8 is a Malaysian and Singaporean stall that specialises in noodles and laksa. They also serve satay chicken sticks, pork wraps as well as beef hand rolls. A signature dish at this stall would be their special Singaporean fried rice noodle. As the thin noodles are fried, it is quite dry however the seasoning and flavours make up for it.

Noodle 8 on Urbanspoon

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Hiroshima Seafood ($14.00)

Okonomi House serves up Japanese styled pizzas. There are two different styles which include the Osaka Style where you can choose from bacon, cheese, pork or beef or the Hiroshima Style where it comes with noodles and is available with seafood, beef or vegetarian. A personal favourite would have to be the bacon deluxe which comes with bacon, corn, potato and mozzarella cheese. You can never go wrong with bacon and in this case, it becomes a delectable cheesy bacon heaven as the cheese oozes out with every forkful.

Okonomi House on Urbanspoon

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Combination wonton ($10.90)

Won Ton Ton have a variety of wonton soups, dumplings, buns as well as snacks including crispy chicken and salt & pepper calamari. The combination wonton dish had fish balls, fish tofu, veggies and a decent amount of wontons. The wonton itself had a porportional amount of meat and prawns which was quite flavoursome. As well as that, the broth was subtle and complimented the flavours of the wonton.

Won Ton Ton on Urbanspoon

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Braise pork belly with rice ($10.80)

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Signature braised beef ($8.80 – $10.80)

Rice town offers a variety of popular rice dishes that suits every taste bud from curry chicken to braised pork belly, as well as mackerel  and prawns. The signature braised beef is a safe option for those who are wary of intense foreign flavours but want to experience an authentic Asian meal. With a copious amount of beef, it is sure to keep the belly full. The braised pork belly dish was the standout from the menu as it was soft and tender, balanced with the right combination of soy sauce. With the added steam veggies, it makes scoffing the dish down less of a guilty pleasure.

Rice Town on Urbanspoon

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Minced pork & preserved duck egg ($8.80) // Combo deal – Congee + Marinade + Side ($15.80)

Congee Master serves up the most delicious variety of congee with marinades and sides available. With marinades such as chicken wings, pork belly, steamed chicken, sliced beef and calamari, it becomes quite a difficult task to choose just one. However if you aren’t big on the extras, the congee itself has enough ingredients to excite the taste buds. The minced pork and preserved duck egg congee was extremely tasty and surprisingly came with quite a substantial amount of preserved duck egg. This is the perfect meal for breakfast, lunch and dinner as it is light but very filling.

Congee Master on Urbanspoon

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Dol sot bi bim bap ($11.00)

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Seafood udon noodles ($10.00)

Madtongsan is a stall at 8 Street that serves up an amazing array of korean food that ranges from snacks, noodles, rice and soups. With a few restaurants around Brisbane, this stall offers a condensed menu of the most popular dishes. A favourite dish here would definitely have to be the dol sot bi bim bap which is in a hot stone pot. This dish has rice, seasoned vegetables, and either beef or chicken which is then topped with a raw egg and their signature spicy sauce. It is then all mixed in together, creating an explosion of flavour as well a chilli hit, depending on your chilli tolerance.

Madtongsan V on Urbanspoon

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Roast duck pancake – half chicken ($16), pancake ($3.50/10 pieces), hoisin sauce ($1.50)

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Roast pork ($10.90), BBQ pork ($9.90) with steamed rice or noodles and seasonal salad

BBQ by Burlington has by far the most flavoursome peking duck and barbecue meats at 8 Street. They offer roast duck, roast pork, BBQ pork, BBQ chicken, wings, ribs as well as peking duck (roast duck pancake). The roast duck pancake is reminiscent of an asian kebab as the ones found at this stall is a big version of the original size. This is quite exciting as with the original small ones, there is usually never enough to go around. The roast pork had the perfect fat and meat ratio as well as a crispy top. The bbq pork on the other hand was tender and soft making you want to continuously snack on it.

Burlington BBQ on Urbanspoon

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Crazy prawn ($6/3 pieces)

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Teriyaki beef & onion ($6.50/3 pieces), Crazy lamb ($4/3 pieces, $8/half dozen, $15/dozen)

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Chicken fillets ($6/4 pieces), Crazy wings ($2.50/1 piece) – original, fresh garlic, asian curry, chilli pepper, honey soy, black pepper

Crazy Wings offers a large variety of meat on skewers including their famous crazy wings which comes in six different flavours. The most interesting skewers would have to be the ox tongue, the chicken fillet with soft bones as well as the enokitake mushroom. The teriyaki beef was succulent and spot on. The chicken fillet however was quite spicy, so if you find that you do work up quite a sweat when tackling chilli food, you can ask them to tone down on the chilli seasoning. The skewers make a great snack, or even an accompaniment to another meal.

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Crunchy hot n spicy chicken steak ($7.90)

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Grilled pork belly ($8.90)

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Tonkotsu (pork flavoured) ramen with slow cooked pork belly ($10.90) 

At the end of the winding lane way stands Grill n Bao. This stall offers a variety of gua bao burgers as well as ramen soups. Their gua bao burgers include chicken, beef, tofu and possibly the tastiest one, grilled pork belly. The grilled pork belly meat was extremely succulent and with the salad and jap mayo, it left a meaty but fresh tangy taste tingling on the taste buds. The buns are steamed and then placed on the grill, which gives the buns a bit of texture instead of being overly soft. The most notable thing about the gua bao at Grill n Bao is that the buns aren’t oily and greasy which sometimes is the case at other places offering gua bao.

Grill n Bao on Urbanspoon

 

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Oolong milk tea ($4.20), Lychee oolong with aloe ($5.00)

Gong Cha is a Taiwanese style drink shop that has franchises world wide. They offer brewed tea, healthy tea, milk tea, yoghurt drinks as well as smoothies. Two of the most popular drinks on the menu would have to be the milk tea with pearls as well as the lychee oolong tea with aloe vera. Both teas were refreshing and not overly sweet. However, if you’re a bit of a sweet tooth, the sweetness level can be customised.

Gong Cha on Urbanspoon

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If you’re stuck for lunch or dinner ideas or are dining with a large group of people, 8 Street is the ideal location as it has so many different food stalls which would cater to even the pickiest eater. The best part is, there is a licensed bar in the corner selling Asian beers so you can sneak in a drink whilst harbouring your food baby.

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8 Street is open from 10am – 9pm from Monday – Saturday and from 10am-6pm on Sundays.

In love and food,

Vivi