For our first Japanese culinary adventure with our new Washoku Lovers cards, we strolled down to Manpuku in Chatswood, excited to experience an authentic ramen lunch!
Yuri from Washoku Lovers, a Japanese food lovers’ society, was our guide for the day, and she kindly explained some of the Japanese terms on the menu, so it was fun to learn a few words! Based on her recommendations, we ordered four delicious dishes – the pork gyoza, the Manpuku rice bowl, the “Ramen with the Long Name” as we affectionately called it, and the Tsukemen Special Ramen.
We started with the pork gyoza, which were so delicious – the lovely crispy lattice on the top was golden brown, and they were perfectly cooked – we’d recommend dipping them into the soy sauce and taking a big bite! However, the rice bowl was absolutely phenomenal, with a mixture of pork belly, mushed egg, bean sprouts, shallots, sesame, mayonnaise and a flavourful teryiaki sauce! We kept snacking on it throughout the meal, and it was an excellent side dish and one of the stars of the day for me!
The Kono Deani Kanshashite Aijou To Jonetsu Komete Isshoukenmei Tsukutta Uchirano Icchan Sukina Manpuku Shiawase Ramen, or the “ramen with the long name”, is Manpuku’s masterpiece and specialty ramen available nowhere else in Australia, with the name translating roughly to a gift of ramen prepared and cooked with love to give to you (the customer). We learned from Yuri that the chefs use 6 different types of soy sauce to create the special soy base for their soy soups, which is such a delicate balance, and a real art!
The soy based pork and chicken soup was complemented by pork belly, bean sprouts, bamboo shoots, shallots, a seaweed sheet with their signature printed logo, and a soft boiled egg. We loved this ramen so much, and this honestly was one of the best ramen dishes I’ve tried yet! The wavy noodles were a perfect addition to the rich broth and soaked up the light and flavourful soup – such a delight to eat. The pork belly was also very well cooked and so tender, and the bean sprouts were delicious. A stunner of a dish, and so enjoyable!!
We also had the unique experience of trying the Tsukemen, a special type of ramen which was served cold, with the same wavy noodles as the previous ramen, a tender and melt-in-your-mouth pork rib, bamboo shoots, eggs, an ultra seaweed sheet and shallots. This dish came with a soy based Tonkotsu sour dipping soup, and it was so exciting to dip the ramen into the soup, as the noodles stayed a bit more firm, and were definitely showcased in this dish. Manpuku’s summer noodle menu options are similarly served dry without a soup, so be sure to check those out as well – perfect for a hot day!
As soon as we stepped inside the doors, we enjoyed the restaurant’s wonderful hospitality, and we were given seats that were right up against the window to watch the chefs prepare our meals! The staff were so friendly and lovely, and did their best to make sure our visit was really easy and relaxing. The food came out really quickly, and we particularly liked the Japanese greeting as we left – it was a nice cultural touch! There’s plenty of seating inside the restaurant, and it’s very accessible by public transport, being a short walk from Chatswood station.
We thoroughly enjoyed our meal at Manpuku, and the entire experience truly surpassed any Japanese restaurant we’ve visited before! We’d definitely recommend their signature ramen dish, and of course the Manpuku rice bowl. Give their summer specials a try as well!
Signing up for the Washoku Lovers card is free, and there are so many benefits from being a member, with over 75 restuarants signed on. If you’re a lover of Japanese food already, or just want to try it and see what the cuisine is all about, check it out, and you can sign up using the link here.
Note: Khana dined as a guest of Washoku Lovers and Manpuku Chatswood. Thanks so much to Yuri for organising the visit!