Vancouver eaters (and restaurant staff) are aflutter about the ramen pop-up, No. 1 Noodle House, in the old Boneta space at 1 West Cordova in Gastown. The pop-up, which opened April 19, is targeting the late-night crowd, particularly restaurant staff looking for good food when they get off the line. So far, it’s attracting everyone and there seems to be enough room to handle the demand: unlike the tiny ramen shops in the West End, Vancouver’s go-to neighbourhood for ramen, the pop-up is large and can seat 75-90 people
No. 1 Noodle House has a mixed Asian fusion menu with ramen ($9.50) in varieties including spicy chicken and tonkotsu (pork broth), as well as banh mi, chicken wings, bao with fried chicken, pork spring rolls and more. Keeping in line with the budget-friendly nature of most ramen joints, everything is under $10.
No. 1 is another venture by Vancouver restaurateur Mark Brand (Sea Monstr, Boneta, Save On Meats, Portside Pub). Word around the food blogs (Scout Magazine; Vancity Buzz) has it that Brand is working with partners Matt MacDougall, Lindsay Lapierre, Tyrell Shaw and Alex Usow (Brand’s Sea Monstr Sushi partner).
It’s not easy to be Vancouver’s number one noodle house. In fact, it really depends whom you ask. Most Vancouver ramen joints are in the West End. Among the dozens of options, you’ll find fierce allegiance for Santouka on Robson (it also has locations in Japan and the U.S.), which always has a line. The favourite ramen there? Probably the miso with pork jowl. Other good ramen joints in the West End? Crowd-sourced opinion points to Motomachi Shokudo and Kintaro.
But head to Strathcona/Chinatown and you’ll find diners raving about Harvest market’s ramen menu, which has veggie options such as ramen with miso broth and squash, alongside ramen with pork shoulder, candied bacon, egg, and radish.
How does Vancouver’s ramen culture stack up when compared to other international cities? Will No. 1 Noodle House be our very own Momofuku? We have seven months of pop-up time to find out. If you’re interested in trying their stuff, No. 1 Noodle House is currently open daily from 6:30pm. Closing hours vary by day. Check the schedule on their Facebook page. Lunch service will begin next week.
In the meantime, who makes the best ramen in Vancouver? Help out by commenting below.
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