For most of us, when we hear the word “ramen”, the first thing that comes to mind are visions of styrofoam, splintering convenience store chopsticks and dried remnants of vegetables that look like crack for tropical fish.
Sure, the world has a place for that from time to time — but that place is generally somewhere atop your “I’m hungry AF and can’t be bothered making any effort” checklist.
But the “real” ramen, like the Japanese do it in Japan, is a wonderful thing to behold.
Following a recommendation, I recently tried a Japanese style ramen franchise in the Jangsan area of Haeundae and since that first slurping bite I can’t get enough.
I’m not hyping the place when I say “Japanese style.”
When you first walk in the door you’re surrounded by Japanese decor; the all-Korean staff are speaking Japanese to each other; the menu and signage is in Japanese and, for good measure, there’s JPop playing on the speakers overhead.
The prices at Menya Sandaime are quite reasonable – a bowl will run you about 8,000 won, and you can add extra meat or veggies for a few thousand more.
The two times I’ve been, I ordered the spicy Kerakuchi Ramen with extra pork. The noodles were very fresh, the broth stellar and the tender meat blowtorched to perfection.
On my Four-Star Ramen Oishii Wonderland Super Happy Love Scale, which I just made up, Menya Sandaime gets a solid Four-Star Rating.
Give it a try for yourself and give new meaning to the word “ramen” in your life.
Getting there – Sort of:
There are three other locations in Busan — one in PNU, KSU/Pukyoung and Seomyeon, according to the staff. I looked for them on the Menya Sandaime homepage, to no avail.
Perhaps they opted to divert money from the marketing budget to the purchase of quality ingredients?
Both Naver and Google maps proved less than fruitful as well, but we will update as info becomes available. If anyone can share directions to the other locations in the comments section below, arigato gozaimasu!
For the one in Jangsan, it’s an easy find: Come out exit 7 of the subway station, hang a u-turn and then a right at the Baskin Robbins. Keeping walking, without stopping for ice cream, for about 10-20 steps. Menya Sandaime is on the right.
They’re open 7 days a week from 11:30 until 9. If it’s still busy at 9:00, they will stay open later according to the staff.
Here’s a card they gave me with phone numbers to other locations around Korea. Looks like they haven’t added all of their Busan restaurants here either, but the bottom “051” numbers are for the one in KSU/Pukyong area and the other for Seomyeon.
If you speak Japanese or Korean, you’re well on your way, grasshopper.
Happy noodle slurping to you and yours.