Updated: 27th February 2011: this restaurant is closed according to Urbanspoon.com.
While all the chowtimes readers who attended paid token sum of $5 each for this meal, Suanne and I did not have to pay for the food.
This had to be one of the simplest blog post I had to put up for a long time. Well, this is because this is written largely by chowtimes readers!
When we put up the invitation to chowtimes readers to attend an exclusive Ramen Tasting event, there were requests for 115 seats! The response was overwhelming. Unfortunately the restaurant could only cater for 34 people.
The Miki Japanese Ramen is a restaurant located on Kingsway and Royal Oak in Burnaby. It is run by Ben and Karen, a young husband and wife team, who were trying to put the word out of their newish restaurant.
Every now and then, Suanne and I receive requests from restaurant owners to help them promote an event. Miki had a Ramen Slurping event which was covered on TV. One thing led to another, Miki agreed to put up an exclusive ramen tasting event for chowtimes readers. We jumped into this because we thought it would be something our readers would like and that we get the chance to meet them too.
While the food was just OK, we had a great time. Ed and Darryl proved to be the life wire of the event with their fun but meaningless banter across the table (thanks guys for providing the entertainment!).
BTW, for those of you who attended the event, Evelyn found out the origin of the word “congee”:
Rice congee (pronounced /ˈkɒndʒiː/) is a type of rice porridge that is eaten in many Asian countries. The word congee is possibly derived from the Dravidian language Tamil word கஞ்சி kanji. The Sinhalese word is Kanda.
Thank you all for taking the time to come out for this event. Suanne and I hope you had a great time as much as we did.
I have one more such restaurant-proposed event up my sleeve and was wondering if we should continue to organize. My hesitation here is that for such “restaurant-driven” event, I cannot assure the quality of the food or restaurant. These are events where restaurants wanted to promote their restaurant … and in exchange, they give chowtimes readers an exclusive use of the restaurant and a heavily discounted meal (i.e. for this event in Miki, it was just a token $5 for a $21 meal). Please let me know … do you think we should continue to organize it? Please note again, I am referring to “restaurant-driven” events here; not events like 8GTCC.
Anyway, here is the feedback from those who attended the event …
|Karen and Tim:We really enjoyed the ramen event – good food & good company! We are newbies to real ramen so we have nothing really to compare it too. Tim & I both had the shoyu & found it very tasty – not salty as expected. The noodles had a nice chewy texture & the bean spouts added a nice crunch. The BBQ items were okay – not as flavourful as expected. The chicken was moist, the ground pork needed something more – good pork flavour but missing something… same with the tongue – good, but needed something more. The green beans were almost the best – nice sweet sauce went well with the beans. The tofu was grilled nicely and really improved in flavour with the grated ginger. The salad starter – nice combination with a tasty dressing.
|Eric:Overall, the event went pretty well. To be honest, I was expecting a little “educational element for the night”, instead of just receiving and tasting the food. But it was still good, getting to chat with other table mates 🙂 Just curious…when did this restaurant open? My friend was panic.ing last minute this morning because he can’t find it on Google Map. Then I examined it closely, matching the same roof colour of the pic you had on chowtimes….and then realize it was beside HSBC. The image it showed on Google Street View used to be a Vietnamese restaurant. Thanks for organizing this event for us! We hope to be able to come back for more =) Any details on the coffee one yet
|Evelyn:I think one very unfortunate thing that I disliked about the experience is that my throat was SUPER DRY after we left. This isn’t something that is unique to Miki though.. I seem to get that when I eat ramen at Benkei and Menya (I don’t remember having that sensation when I ate at Motomatchi or Kintaro though).
Also, I think maybe I had expected that we would be getting educated on ramen or hear about the chef’s life/career. I was really looking forward to that and wish that maybe we could watch him work or hear him tell us about how he got into becoming a ramen chef. 🙂
I still really enjoyed myself though and I loved how I had so many enthusiastic people talking about food, cooking and restaurants with me!
This was my first time joining in one of your events and I really liked it! Thank you again for organizing! 🙂
|Darryl:I really hope they get things to where they like it and succeed with the business cause they seem like really nice people, but as it stands I don’t think i will be making any trips out of my way to eat there again unless i was right in front of the place and even then I would probably have other choices ahead of them.
|Evelyn:Seaweed salad with edamame: the addition of the edamame is pleasant but nothing mind-blowing.
|Eric:Appetizer: I really enjoyed this dish. Not something I would normally order on my own. I even ate each and every piece of those edamame (for someone that hate greens (ask Suanne =P)) The sauce was a tad too salty for my taste. It could be toned down a bit.
|Nancy and Ron:I enjoyed the edamame seaweed salad as an appetizer because it cleansed the palate for what was to come. The freshness and contrast in texture from the seaweed and edamame was lovely. The flavours we wonderful with a nice hint of heat. I love that sweet, spicy combination. All of us at the table did comment that the salad did stick a bit to your teeth though, which in my opinion is not a bad thing. This gives you that residual flavour that lingers on the palate, in a good way.
|Darryl:I really liked the seaweed salad, especially mixed with the edamame beans! They could tone down the sodium a little on the dressing, but other than that I really enjoyed the salad.
|Eric:Main: I had a chance to try both Shio and Shuyu (sp?) ‘s soup base. They both taste around the same to me. Not much of a big difference. Maybe I’m still too noob =P
|Nancy and Ron:As for the broths, I had the shoyu and Ron had the shio. I have to say both were wonderful but my favourite was shio. The shio broth was very milky, creamy and not as salty as I expected. The slow simmered pork base really comes through and adds depth to the different soup broths.
The ramen noodles were perfect. Mine was the right chewiness for me.
|Evelyn:Ramen: I had the shio, and my companion had miso and we tried each others in addition to eating our own. I liked the shio better I think, and I’m usually a big miso fan. I though the noodles were great, cooked just right–also loved that they didn’t skimp on the bamboo! Soup was tasty but I have to say, not too special… I feel so bad to say that cause I really wanted to love it. Miso soup had an extra kick to it which was nice and unexpected.
|Darryl:I liked the noodles, they were cooked nicely. They were tender yet still had a nice bite to them.
The broth was okay, didn’t make me go “wow” but I did like it.
As for everything else in the bowl, it was a little lacking. I tend to like my bamboo shoots a little more on al dente side, they were a little too soft for my liking. The fish cakes was pretty small, not sure if this was a price point issue with the special pricing menu we had but I would have preferred larger slices.
|Eric:I’m not sure if it was just my table, but I find it kind of a turn off that most of the meat product and tofu was cold on the inside. I did not find anything ‘special about it’…just around average 🙂
|Nancy and Ron:The skewered meats were good. I liked the texture of all of them and my favourite was the tongue. Flavour wise, it was subtle but I miss the smokiness that one gets from robata. The green beans were OK but nothing you couldn’t find elsewhere. Again, some smokiness would have helped it.
|Evelyn:BBQ plate: Yummy and tasty but it was unfortunately cold when it was served to us (perhaps a result of the fact that they were serving 32 people at the same time, and as they had mentioned, they were not suited to cater to a large group of people at the same time?).
|Darryl:They were okay at best, nothing special. The chicken skewers was cooked nicely, but lacked any oomph in the flavour department. The skewers which i think was pork was cooked nicely as well, but again no flavour. I normally LOVE Ox tongue, but this time it was a bit disappointing. The tongue was a bit dry and a little chewy.
|Eric:They did a really good job in turning a normal vanilla flavour to a really yummy ice cream with the Strawberry “Coulis” sauce. Not sure what coulis mean though 🙂
|Nancy and Ron:Dessert was OK. I appreciate the flavour of it but presentation might need some more flash. Depending on how much it would cost for the dessert, I might pass on it if coming over to Miki on my own.
|Evelyn:Ice cream: Loved the berry sauce! Very fresh tasting! Wish I had more of it 🙂