Kenzo Japanese Noodle House on Kingsway and Griffiths, Burnaby


It was one of those rare moments that everyone in the family collectively agree on what to eat.

Usually the weekend would start with us asking the boys what they wanted. I don’t know why we always do that because we almost always end up over-ruling them. Arkensen would say anything sushi – he doesn’t care where as long as it is sushi. The problem is mummy does not like raw food. Nanzaro first choice is usually a HK Style Cafe and hates the fact that mum and dad always want to go to somewhere new. As for Suanne, she will just say “anywhere you all want” and then when the suggestions came she will rule them out one by one. Don’t ask her. Me … I am always indecisive. I got such a ridiculously long list of restaurants-to-try that it ceases to be of much use.

This time it was surprisingly unanimous. When I suggested “ramen”, I got an all-round “yeah”. And then when I suggested that I drive all the way to eastern reaches of Burnaby, the boys even said “sure, OK”. Normally they would protest if we ever drive across the bridge out of Richmond. Hmmm … I was wondering if they are hiding bad grades from us, or failed to complete their homework or something. They are not normally that agreeable.

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So with the boys’ blessings we drove all the way to Burnaby to Kenzo. It was quite a drive from home. All the way from south Richmond to the far reaches of east Burnaby, that drive must have been 40 minutes.

I had always wanted to try Kenzo but even though it was near my office, I did not. This is because Suanne loves ramen and I wanted to save this place so that she can be there too.

I had always assumed Kenzo is a Japanese restaurant. It was only before we walked in that we realize that there are Korean scripts on the signboard too.

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The place is clean but is cluttered in some corners. You know little things like newspapers lying at a corner and such. Nothing big. We like the heavy wooden furniture. We gave it a shake — it was really sturdy ones.

Kenzo is more Korean than it is Japanese. I overheard the waitress speaking to a customer in Korean. Other tell tale signs are the presence of a Korean service bell on the table and the stack of Korean newspapers by the door.

One other thing which I felt is also a characteristic of a Korean restaurant. You tell me if you agree. It is the presence of wooden partitions between tables. I see this in many Korean restaurants which provides a little privacy and at the same time allow them to put tables together.

Service was OK. There is one waitress overseeing the entire restaurant. So she does appear harried. She served tea which was a bit different from other places. It was nothing new but it is one of those rice-tea. Not sure what it is called though.

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Nanzaro was quick with his order. Being the youngest in the family, he had always been the lowest in the pecking order of things. Of late he is being a lot more aggressive in asserting himself. When he saw that item on the menu right up on the top called “King of Kings”, he immediately said he is ordering that.

The King of Kings is $10 and is described as Hot Netsu Ramen with 5 toppings. I had not heard of Netsu ramen before but anyway the broth is the lighter one and spicy. The toppings includes hard boiled egg, seaweed, vegetables and pork.

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The bowls are really large. Ramen had to be large to be … satisfying. At least that is my expectation of a bowl of ramen. This is quite unlike the Chinese wonton noodles. With wonton noodles, the best places serves really small bowls.

Agree?

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Normally a dish called King of Kings is reserved for the head of the family. Not this time. The head of the family was relegated to a cheaper version. He got the $9 Sapporo Miso Ramen.

The broth is very rich and I asked for the highest level of spiciness. It was very spicy. So spicy that I had tears in my eyes and my nose runny. This ramen is served with roasted vegetables, ground pork and Japanese soybean paste … yeah, it was a busy bowl with lots of stuff in it. As a matter of fact the beansprouts are almost 1/2 bowl of it.

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Arkensen had the Shi-O Ramen. Shi-O ramen is seasoned with salt and is the basic of basic ramen. The soup is clear and light. It is also the cheapest at $7 considering also the lightness of this type of ramen.

I had a sip of the soup … no kick.

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Mummy Suanne had the Don Ko Chi which is $8. I think the name Don Ko Chi is just another word for Tonkotsu.

Wowee … the creamy colored soup is rich and tasty. The soup is made with boiled pork bones.

Between the four we had this had got to be the best. The pork slices are great and has a little charrings on the outside.

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Alright. We are not ramen specialists. I don’t know … I felt that there are so many ramen purists lurking on this site that I felt I got to be careful what I say.

But as far as we are concerned, this noodles are superb. One look at the bright yellowness of the noodles makes us want to chomp down on them immediately!

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Yeah, it was a good meal for sure. We not only finished the ramen but drank every drop of the broth. The chef must be happy seeing bowls returned to the kitchen like this.

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Four bowls of ramen for $35 (before tips). Not too bad. We all enjoyed it. If only they are closer to home or else we will most definitely return. Richmond needs more places like this.

Kenzo Japanese Noodle House on Urbanspoon

13 thoughts on “Kenzo Japanese Noodle House on Kingsway and Griffiths, Burnaby

  1. I’m glad to see you enjoyed it as much as I did! I just got back from Hapa Izakaya, hungry and $40 poorer! With one bowl at Kenzo I’d be stuffed and up $30!

    • You are so funny Karl. I don’t think one can compare this way but yeah … I know what you mean. We eat anything and we really think Kenzo is really decent. Ben

  2. i’ve been to hi genki several times and have eaten alot of their food. its ok, not great tho. alot of deep fried foods, however their miso glazed chicken and teriyaki chicken is AMAZING

  3. Hi Genki is run by the Fujiya sushi/grocery stores. Their main store is at Clark and Venables in Vancouver and another location off Bridgeport Rd in Richmond. Good for takeout sushi and basic bento boxes. I’d say the quality is better than T&T for sure.

  4. Hi Ben,

    There is a Japanese restaurant near Kenzo called Hi Genki. Its part of a Senior’s home so the ambiance is like a cafeteria but the food is closer to what you find being served in Japan (Japanese Comfort Food). They have a regular menu but its their Daily Specials that really shine. Have you tried it yet?

    • I’ve been to Hi Genki. Food was ok, but didn’t wow me. I can’t recall what I ordered, but it wasn’t memorable. The dining room smelled greasy as if the kitchen ventilation wasn’t able to keep up. Parking in the area is not easy, and the underground parkade is on the small side.

      Kenzo I’ve been too. Food was decent but somehow struck me as pricey. Maybe because I was having lunch during the work day and expected that area of town to offer cheaper lunches. Room was nicely decorated, though, and staff attentive and friendly.

  5. Kings of Kings? Ooh, haven’t heard of that before. Have heard of the miso and shio ramen though. Their bowls look giant especially with the hand and the chopsticks for scale!

    I need to visit a ramen place now…just got a 10 dollar certificate for free and so I need to use it 🙂

  6. The rice tea could have been Genmaicha (roasted rice with green tea) or it could be Korean variety. Mmm, all look delicious!

    I tried the lunch ramen at G-Men last weekend with the Shio chicken broth. It was simple and much lighter than the dinner version with the full bodied, rich pork broth. The bf tried the shoyu broth and that was equally good, but with the typical soy flavours.

    Good eats for this time of year for sure.

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