Monday, April 25, 2011

Special - Best ramen in Bangkok: Bankara, Chabuton, and Bishamon

Today's blog is a special...a roundup of my favorite ramen destinations in Bangkok. Mind you these are not simply noodles, but a Japanese art...a combination of meticulously planned convergence of the right texture of noodles with the perfect broth and accompanying ingredients such as stewed pork and par boiled egg. Try these three places and you already don't have to fly all the way to Japan.

1. Ramen Bankara
Bankara is my favorite of all four, mainly due to the flawless texture of the home-made noodles and the tender stewed pork. Dreaded by a majority of my friends due to the "oilyness" of the broth, I find that ordering the "clear soup" is the best choice versus the creamy, "tonkotsu" (pork bone) soup which may be too overpowering for Thai tastes.


The noodle itself is a slight chewy al dente but not too firm like the Hong Kong versions of egg noodles. What amazes me the most is how juicy and tender the stewed pork belly is, despite being apparently cooked for several house...pure genius.

Kakuni Bankara (Stewed pork belly) THB 230
a little garlic never hurt anyone
The gyoza, something that has become a tradition to order alongside with ramen, is succulent and crisp on the outside. The Karaage (fried chicken) is also one of the best you can find in Bangkok...only to be topped by Chabuton (see later). It makes use of the tasty dark meat fried at an extreme high heat to encapsulate the moisture inside whilst maintaining a dry crispy outer skin. 



Located in Sukhumvit 39, make sure you call ahead for reservations for both weekdays and weekends as this place is extremely packed by a majority of Japanese patrons. 

Ramen Bankara
32/1 Sukhumvit 39
Tel. 02 662-5162-3

2. Chabuton
We went to the branch in Central World, and were able to get  a table immediately as it was already 3pm (i heard it can get very painful to wait if you show up at noon). 



The noodles here are less chewy than Bankara's, but in a pleasant way. The tonkotsu broth is also less aggressive, giving it a more creamy sweetness.  When paired together with the melt in your mouth Chashu (braised rolled pork shoulder), you get a well-balanced ramen that will keep you pleased from start to finish.

Kara Kara Shio Tonkotsu Ramen THB 195
Tonkotsu Chashumen THB 245
As mentioned earlier, the Karaage here is a highlight, also utilizing the dark meat of the chicken. We noticed that the meat had been marinated well and the seasoned batter kicks it up a notch to top the others with regards to fried chicken.

Karaage
Gyoza

Chabuton Ramen
6th Floor Central World
Atrium Zone
Tel. 02-613-1038, 02-613-1092

3. Bishamon Sapporo Ramen
I have just recently tried this place, after a recommendation from a good friend that frequently goes to the TEE OFF driving range between Sukhumvit 42 and 42/1. I was amazed at the scale of the place, as well as the depth on the menu. 


The ramen here offers variations depending which region you would like to go for, from Hokkaido to Tokyo. They also offer a range of other dishes such as sashimi, tonkatsu, and donburi to name some. We ordered the Tonkotsu Kogashi (black) Shio Ramen (did I mention I like garlic?) and the Spicy Miso Ramen. Both dishes and their respective noodles and broth were entirely different but very delectable.

Tonkotsu Kogashi Shio Ramen THB 180
Spicy Miso Sapporo Ramen THB 220
This was also a first for me to order gyoza topped with mayonnaise and mentaiko (fish eggs)...the latter totally changing this dish into a rich and creamy appetizer.

Gyoza topped with Mayo and Mentaiko THB 100 (6 pieces) 
Almond Pudding THB 90
Green tea ice cream with mochi and red bean THB 60
Bishamon Sapporo Ramen
1032 Sukhumvit
Tel. 02 713-6060

I recall not too long ago before these Japanese ramen places invaded Bangkok (first being the resilient Ramen-Tei), the thought of paying THB 200 for dish of noodles was simply preposterous. Be it inflation or a change in trend, the average price for these dishes are still at THB 200, Thai's (including me) have learned to embrace that this is a product of quality ingredients prepared with a specialize skill and expertise. Trust me, this is money well spent if you try any of these four ventures mentioned above. Let me know your comments!

5 comments:

  1. Will try asap guess I'll start with #1 this coming week.

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  2. Bankara is amazing...

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  3. Planning a trip to Bangkok soon and so glad to have stumbled upon your blog! Which one has the richest tonkotsu broth out of all of them? I love garlic tonkotsu to lol

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