Standing in line for ramen seems to be the norm in the West End. Marutama Ramen is no exception to having ramen enthusiasts waiting outside. Tucked away on Bidwell and just off Robson, this restaurant is easy to miss. It is just across another popular ramen restaurant, Santouka, which is also famous for line-ups. What is unique about Marutama is that their creamy, rich ramen broth is chicken-based. In fact, chicken feet and the meaty abdominal portions of the chicken contribute to the soup base having the maximal “umami” or “pleasant savoury taste.” The result is a lighter broth compared the typical pork-based ramen broth.
Did I get in?
The protocol at Marutama Ramen is to place your name on the clipboard hanging near the entrance. A staff person goes in and out of the restaurant to check the list and call people in accordingly. People do not need to stand in a structured line like for Santouka. Everyone needs to wait outside until seated so there is no crowd squished inside the restaurant doorway. There is also some eager anticipation every time a staff person comes out of the restaurant to check people off the list.
Got a seat!
Marutama has a more modern interior than typical ramen joints and has a communal table, small tables and counter seating. You can ask for a mini laundry basket to put your coat and belongings in. This restaurant is also kid-friendly, where they can provide you with kids’ cutlery and scissors to help cut the noodles.
Marutama Ramen Menu
The menu consists of 6 types of their house ramen along with two specialty ramens in mild or spicy. The house ramen ranges from $9.25 to $18.00 depending on the amount of toppings. All menu items and prices are listed on their website. You can also ask for noodles with different firmness. The regular noodle is the most popular, according to the server, and is a thinner type.
For first-time goers, you cannot go wrong with the tamago ramen ($10.50) with chashu, green onion, a soft-boiled flavoured egg and aosa seaweed. The egg had a tasty soy sauce flavour while the chashu is melt-in-your mouth delicious, flavourful and tender. I am a seaweed lover and I really enjoyed how the aosa seaweed enriched the flavour of the ramen.
On a hungrier day, I had the tamago chashu ramen ($14) which had two more slices of chashu than the tamago ramen. I was happily stuffed after this bowl.
Wanting a full experience? The zenbu ramen also known as “The Works” is the most expensive ramen ($18). However, I felt that the increased amount of ingredients for the zenbu ramen ($18) compared to the tamago ramen ($10.50) did not justify the higher price.
I also really enjoyed the tan men specialty ramen, which was chicken soup noodle with vegetable toppings only ($11.50). The vegetable toppings were fresh and the overall dish was deliciously light. I did not miss the chashu at all.
The chicken-based soup broth at Maurtama Ramen is light yet rich and flavourful. If you are a chicken-noodle lover, then you will like this place.