Rating: ★★★☆☆

Address: Shop 105, 1/F, Citylink Plaza, 1 Sha Tin Station Circuit, Sha Tin 沙田沙田車站圍1號連城廣場1樓105號鋪

Telephone: 2606 7022

http://www.menyamusashi.com.hk/

麺屋武蔵是由日本開過來香港的拉麵店,最出名的是黑,白,赤三種的拉麵。我早前跟U Magazine 到沙田店試了幾款拉麵和小菜,味道不錯,其中我最喜愛微辣的赤武骨拉麵和限量供應的神山沾汁。後者的湯底由豚骨、蘋果蓉、洋蔥、麵豉及肉碎熬製而成,配搭煙靭又方便掛湯的有坑拉麵,實在非常美味!

A hot, steaming bowl of ramen can be utterly satisfying, whether you have it for lunch, dinner or late at night after some drinks. Hong Kongers love ramen, which explains why a number of new ramen joints have been popping up left, right and centre all over the city, with the latest addition being Ichiran, a 24-hour operation in Causeway Bay.

Menya Musashi is a ramen chain that opened in Japan in 1996, and is named after a legendary samurai, Miyamoto Musashi, who was famed for his double sword style. Menya Musashi is renowned for their soup base which tends to be creamier than most others, and also for their pioneering white, red and black ramens.

The Japanese chain opened its first Hong Kong outlet in Kwun Tong in 2012, and has since then opened 5 more outlets, in Causeway Bay, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hung Hom, Tuen Mun and Sha Tin. Each shop’s offerings are largely the same, with only small differences in the menu and in the ramen broth to give each branch some individuality. When the branch in Sha Tin opened a few months ago, a few bloggers and I joined U Magazine to test out their ramens and snacks.

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Chef Saido (齊藤) comes from Japan and has spent the past 6 years at the ramen chain. He was stationed in Hong Kong for a few months to ensure that the ramen quality at the Hong Kong outlets were comparable to the outlets in Japan.

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(1) We started our meal with a vegetable salad ($55), which had a creative selection of ingredients. The combination of corn and strawberries worked surprisingly well, and the deep fried lotus slices added a nice crunch.

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(2) The Musashi dumplings ($35) are one of the most popular dishes at the restaurant. Freshly made by hand everyday, the dumpling had a juicy filling and the wrapper was delicately thin and crispy at the bottom. A generous sprinkling of spring onions made this extra tasty.

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(3) The codfish roe stuffed in green pepper ($45) was flavourful and quite nicely grilled. A mild spiciness lifted the dish.

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(4) The marinated flatfish ($45), in a yuzu sauce, was overall delicious but could have been more tender.

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(5) As mentioned above, Menya Musashi‘s ramens come in three colours. We first tried the white one, Shirobukotsu ramen with BBQ pork ($72). Their signature pork bone broth was made with pork bones and fish, which was alluringly flavourful and nicely sweet. The BBQ pork was decent but could have been a tad more fatty.

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(6) The red ramen, Akabukotsu ramen with marinated pork ($72), followed. This had a similar broth as the white ramen, with the addition of a house made spicy oil. The level of spiciness was just right, and added zing to the ramen without overwhelming the other flavours. The marinated pork had an excellent flavour, but could have been more tender and soft.

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(7) We then tried the black ramen, Kurobukotsu with BBQ Pork ($72). The pork bone broth was lifted by the taste of scallion and garlic oil, which seemed fascinating at first, but became a bit overwhelming after a while.

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(8) The ramen chain serves a few of their own innovative dishes, which includes the grilled pork with tomato tonkotsu broth ($80). The tomato tonkotsu broth is intended to offer a lighter, less filling alternative to the traditional tonkotsu broth. The slightly tart broth reminded me of the tomato soup base used at local cha chaan tengs, which was tasty with a bit of Hong Kong flair!

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(9) When I visited the restaurant, it was serving a special edition Kamiyama tsukemen ($80). Tsukemen ramen is meant to be dipped into the broth right before being eaten, so that the ramen would not soften. Kyushu ramen is intentionally thin, whereas other types of ramen may be thicker. This tsukumen used an extra thick ramen, which had a dent in the middle cut by a special knife imported from Japan, so that the noodle could hold onto more broth when being dipped. The ramen was spectacularly springy and bouncy, and the broth, which had a bit of meat blended into it, was flavourful and scrumptious – I do hope it becomes a permanent item on the menu!

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Here is what our U Magazine interview looked like, just in case you are interested!

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