Whenever there is a type of food gaining traction in the foodie world, you can expect to see a lot of the same food popping up around the city. Take Sushi as an example. It has been abused by Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese. Sometimes these restaurants even put in their own spin to cheaply fusion the food. Like the Chinese putting vermicelli and soy sauce on rice and call it “shark fin nigiri sushi”. Kamamarui Ramen & Don is one of these restaurants, taking Japanese Ramen and put the Korean spin in it. They did not call themselves “Japanese”, but the Japanese characters on the signage and menu can be misleading.
Strength: One of the few Ramen places in Burnaby (for now)
Weakness: Boring soup base, undercooked noodle
Other Ramen places
Outside of Kamamarui Ramen and Don
Kamamarui Ramen and Don is one of the few Ramen places in Burnaby. They have been open for more than 5 years. There is always line up on the outside so I’ve decided to come and check out why. There is a parking lot at the rear with limited space and tight maneuvering aisle. So don’t even bother going in. You can see full-height storefront glazing with 5 seats outside for waiting customers. Kamamarui Ramen and Don is located on Royal Oak Avenue near Kingsway, Burnaby.
An interesting sandwich board showcasing 7 days a week
Because it’s located on Royal Oak Avenue off Kingsway, they don’t get a lot of exposure from Kingsway traffic. They use sandwich board signage to capture potential customer’s attention. They are open 7 days a week from 11:30 am to 9:00 pm.
Interior is concrete with wood and patterned acoustic ceiling
We arrive at 11:50 am and the place starts to get busy around 12:15 pm. Kamamarui is a small restaurant with 20 table seats with 6 bar seats. The interior is mainly decorated with painted concrete’s grey tone with light wood colored furniture. The black acoustic ceiling tiles have interesting patterns.
Interesting coat hanger on the painted concrete wall finish
These are the coat hangers. I think it’s cute.
BOMB rice ball with seaweed tastes good
These are called ‘BOMB’. They are good-sized solid rice ball with seaweed and teriyaki sauce and sesame. The sauce has a hint of smoky taste. These BOMBs have balanced flavor even without filling. They are either $3.50 for 3 or $2.00 for 2 if you order with a bowl of ramen. Basically you are looking at a $2.34 to $2.00 of $0.34 saving.
Miso Chashu Ramen
I ordered the miso ramen with extra sous vide chashu. I got a total of 6 pieces of chashu in my Ramen. Let’s just say the sous vide was not worth it because they are not done correctly. The crust is quite dry as you can see on the left of the picture. The meat has a bit more flavour but also a lot more sturdy than it should be. The normal chashu is quite tender and breaks easily.
I had a choice for regular or rich soup. My regular soup has a good initial taste and not too greasy. However, it is quite watery. The taste lacks depth and is a little monotonous. It gets boring quite rapidly so I needed to use the sauce.
3 types of sauce to deal with the boring soup base
This is just the typical sauces they provide for every table. There are chili oil and spicy sauce. I don’t understand what “Ramen Sauce” mean, and why it is not already in my ramen. I am glad they had the spicy sauce to help me get through my bland ramen.
Miso TanTan Ramen
The miso tantan ramen has a bit more variation of ingredients. Ground meat sauce has a bit more flavour, and they have provided two spoons, one for soup and the other strainer spoon for picking up the ground meat. Vegetables on the sides provides a refreshing texture to the bite.
Noodles are somewhat stuck together and a little undercooked
The noodles in the ramen are chewy, but maybe a little undercooked. Its textures eventually get better halfway through my bowl. Then I found the bottom portion of the noodle stuck together, never properly separated during cooking.
604 Food Critic Assessment
I don’t understand why people are lining up for Kamamarui Ramen and Don. The only reason I can think of is perhaps there aren’t authentic ramen places nearby. I think these are all going to change as soon as the Marutama Ramen opens on Kingsway. Unfortunately, Kamamarui Ramen and Don is not worth the $15 per person price point for me. For the same price, I can get a better crafted authentic Japanese ramen from somewhere else.
With the newly upgraded menu, the price also got revamped. Kimchi Maze Udon is similar to Kokoro Tokyo Mazesoba, but somehow this dish feels like a Korean dish.