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Go Back   REVscene Automotive Forum > Vancouver LifeStyles (VLS) > Food & Fine Dining

Food & Fine Dining Hungry? Come on down to Wings - Fun, Food and Drinks.
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Old 09-13-2009, 01:59 AM   #1
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Vancouver Ramen Shootout: Benkei, Kintaro, and Motomachi

I spent a month in Japan this past summer and fondly miss the wonderful ramen there, filled with tasty broth, flavourful and tender meats, and firm textured noodles. Seeking to find the best substitute in Vancouver I visited three of the most popular ramen joints that are located near the intersection of Robson and Denman. At each location I sampled the miso ramen which is my favourite.



Benkei certainly has the most Japanese like decor. I found the miso broth here to be the most flavourful and enjoyable of all three places. It also has a slight spice kick (they have a spicy miso available as well). Noodles were thinner than I like and too soft. In Japan, the flavour of the meat used is extraordinary and I found Benkei to come the closest, however it has a terribly tough texture. UPDATE: I have been to Benkei twice since this review and both times have gotten very tender and fatty meat. I also tried their bbq pork onigiri and its pretty tasty, although the rice quickly falls apart unlike other nigiri.



Kintaro is the most popular ramen restaurant in Vancouver by far, probably because they offer so many choices and variations. It has the most spartan and uninspired decor of the three. Here I ordered the rich miso broth (choice of light, medium, rich) with fatty meat (choice of lean or fatty). Ordering rich was a mistake as the broth comes incredibly greasy and covered in bits of fat (as seen all around the lip of the bowl). The miso broth was also surprisingly tasteless. Noodles were average and all the toppings (meat, eggs, corn, etc) were forgettable.



Motomachi is owned by the same people as Kintaro, and is meant as a more trendy upscale ramen restaurant. It seems to have the least seating and a fusion of Japanese and local decor. I believe most or all of the ingredients used are advertised as organic. The broth was much better than Kintaro but I still like Benkei better. The meats used matched the tenderness of the meat I found in Japan, but was still quite bland. Motomachi does certainly make soft boiled eggs right, getting the right texture and the organic eggs seem to taste closest to flavourful Japanese ones. The best part of Motomachi is they use the noodles I love! Its a thicker curly noodle that's yellow in colour, and has a slightly firm texture (pictured below).



To conclude, I will probably not visit Kintaro again. As the broth is most important, I think I will eat at Benkei the most. Its also cheaper than Motomachi, and offers stamp card freebies for frequent customers. Motomachi does have the best noodles and the eggs are far above all others. All locations let me down on the firm kernels of sweet corn that were found everywhere in Japan.

Feel free to express your own opinions, especially if you enjoy other flavours of broth, or share other ramen locations around the metro Vancouver area.
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Old 09-13-2009, 02:14 AM   #2
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Awesome review! Thanks!
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Old 09-13-2009, 06:15 AM   #3
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ou will have to try benkei
the new ramen place owned by gyoza king in richmond was way worse than kintaro
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Old 09-13-2009, 10:04 AM   #4
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Before you dismiss Kintaro, try it again with light broth, less fat..
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Old 09-13-2009, 10:25 AM   #5
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Before you dismiss Kintaro, try it again with light broth, less fat..
Regardless of rich or light broth, I felt that Kintaro's miso broth was lacking in flavour when compared to Benkei. Some may prefer it that way, but every miso ramen I had in Osaka and Tokyo was strongly flavoured and I grew accustomed to it. I also felt that Kintaro's toppings were the poorest of the three restaurants, with bland overcooked eggs, mushy corn, and tough chewy meat (even though I got the fatty version). The noodles at Kintaro and Benkei are pretty much equally average.

BTW for Benkei visitors: be sure to show your student ID if ordering extra noodles, which reduces the price to $0.50. Two bowls compared side by side with a normal noodle serving and extra noodles showed that they give you almost double.
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Old 09-13-2009, 03:42 PM   #6
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tried 2 different ramen at Benkei, didn't really like either, noodles weren't very good,
I love kintaro's cheese ramen, but I feel ashamed because it says ladies love it on the menu, (technically ladies just lo-o-o-ove it!) But yeah, I like their noodles
Not really worth the wait but IMO better than benkei
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Old 09-13-2009, 04:20 PM   #7
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Awesome review!
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Old 09-13-2009, 05:45 PM   #8
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nice!

now i want ramen!
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Old 09-13-2009, 06:44 PM   #9
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tried all 3 places

hate benkei / motomachi but i love kintaro
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Old 09-13-2009, 09:15 PM   #10
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i just go to the one at the aberdeen food court lol but really i must try these 3 places
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Old 09-14-2009, 12:40 AM   #11
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tried all 3 places

hate benkei / motomachi but i love kintaro
That's a very extreme opposite review. Can you explain why?
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Old 09-14-2009, 02:12 AM   #12
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try menyu on broadway and cambie.

their ramen is pretty good, but still, ANY ramen in japan beats the best here.
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Old 09-14-2009, 05:55 AM   #13
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I found Gyoza King's broth was pretty good execpt their noodles weren't as good as Kintaros.
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Old 09-14-2009, 06:41 AM   #14
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i just go to the one at the aberdeen food court lol but really i must try these 3 places
I visited that place as well but deemed it unsuited to add to this review. The ramen at Aberdeen is a step above instant noodles, not much else.
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Old 09-14-2009, 09:18 AM   #15
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I tried Kintaro, I liked it. There's a japanese restaurant on Thurlow and Melville that I think had way better ramen, albeit slightly higher priced. I'll have to try the other two you mentioned at some point.

Thanks for the review
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Old 09-14-2009, 12:58 PM   #16
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then has anyone try that famous raman place from asia, it's the one at parker i go to that place a lot in HK & when i found out that they had a location here i was sooooo happy till i realize the price of 1 bowl of raman was $10 i was like shit
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Old 09-14-2009, 01:54 PM   #17
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That's a very extreme opposite review. Can you explain why?
the pork is the softest (fatty) out of all three places, the miso soup base is the tastiest , the size is also the largest.

i guesss im' biased
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Old 09-14-2009, 02:28 PM   #18
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Yeah, and that was my initial impression but how are you biased?
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Old 09-14-2009, 03:20 PM   #19
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Damn that looks good, going to try it out this week.
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Old 09-14-2009, 06:32 PM   #20
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Yeah, and that was my initial impression but how are you biased?
i guess i've ate at kintaro all the time, and i've tried those other ramen places and had bad experiences so i was kinda pissed i wasted a trip to downtown and wasted a ramen dinner slot at these places.
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Old 09-14-2009, 08:05 PM   #21
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then has anyone try that famous raman place from asia, it's the one at parker i go to that place a lot in HK & when i found out that they had a location here i was sooooo happy till i realize the price of 1 bowl of raman was $10 i was like shit
that place is crap, its way worst than the locations in HK, and even then, the ones at HK isnt any good.

i used to love going to kintaro for their cheese ramen, but then when i tried the creamy tonkatsu at benki, it's alot better. now i only go to benki with the occasional kintaro visit for the cheese ramen.
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Old 09-14-2009, 08:28 PM   #22
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Never tried Motomachi
Hate Kintaro. Portion is big, but the broth is extremely bland.
Likes Benkei, though the portion is smaller, but the soup tastes much better.
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Old 09-14-2009, 08:28 PM   #23
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then has anyone try that famous raman place from asia, it's the one at parker i go to that place a lot in HK & when i found out that they had a location here i was sooooo happy till i realize the price of 1 bowl of raman was $10 i was like shit
You mean Ajisen Ramen at Parker Place?

Mediocre soup. Mediocre noodles. The "tenderous rib" is very good (better than the toppings at Benkei or Motomachi) but then a bowl has 2 or 3 little pieces. Not worth the price.
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Old 09-14-2009, 09:27 PM   #24
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what about G-Men in richmond? anyone tried that?
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Old 09-14-2009, 09:34 PM   #25
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^ g-men is not good imo, too salty and small bowl

but the good thing was their onsen egg's and their negi cha-shu as a side dish
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