I went to Ikuzo Ramen about 1-2 weeks after it opened in SS2.
With only Marutama Ramen as a gauge (I have eaten ramen elsewhere of course but it wasn’t at a pure ramen outlet), and without even stepping in the 4 main ramen joints in KL then, Ikuzo Ramen was already a flop in my books.
It’s convenient location and rather budget- friendly prices were the main reasons I went. SS2 is a mere 15 minutes drive from TTDI and slurping on bowls of ramen for less than RM10 each was enticing enough.
Frankly, good ramen doesn’t come cheap. Ramen are mostly handmade with quality flour and the accompanying broth packs a punch if prepared according to the strict procedure of the traditional ramen broth. Thus I had lowered my expectations when I made the decision to visit Ikuzo Ramen. It wasn’t fair to expect hearty rich stock and handmade noodles for the price.
But I couldn’t forgive soggy/mushy ramen in passable soup or the stringy slivers of meat either.
Below: Yakiniku Ramen. RM8.50. It would have been worth the price if I haven’t had to keep on pulling slivers of beef from my mouth because it was simply “un-chewable” due to the stringy .
Below: Tonkatsu Ramen. RM7.90.
I love a good tonkatsu and this one was quite passable. After I did get an acceptable size of pork katsu.
The soup however, wasn’t even close to decent. I hardly ever add oil to my food, but in my attempt to salvage my ramen, I added drops of chilli oil.
The saving grace was the vanilla ice cream float in chocolate! *Thumbs up*
We swore off this place and went on to discover the ramen goodness of Menya Musashi and Gantetsu Hokkaido in Isetan Food Market, 1 Utama. Ikuzo Ramen became a distant memory, unpleasant and never broached upon again.
This was until I received an email from the good people of Izuko Ramen. Apparently, these teething issues are now behind them, and with better trained kitchen staff and SOP, they assured me that my next bowl of ramen (and all potential future ones) would be cooked properly. Do come over again, they said, and allow us to explain Ikuzo’s concept of ramen, which is dissimilar to the ones you have tasted.
Alright, I thought. Why not. Since my dining companion for the previous session remained scarred, I had to re-visit with different company in tow this round.
Ikuzo Ramen really pride themselves on their “No MSG” rule. This, I feel is indeed something worth blowing their trumpet for. Frankly, not many commercial establishments would be bothered with such quality control. The figures on the P & L sheet normally takes precedence.
The menu has been tweaked to reflect the changes as well. Some items remained while some are gone. Thankfully, the refreshing Ikuzo Special: Ginger green tea– fresh ginger (strong ginger taste) – RM3.90 and Green tea /Chocolate milk – low-fat milk – RM4.90 is still on the menu.
If you’re a fan of ginger (even if you’re not you’re likely to fall in love with this too!) then the Ginger green tea is a must!
A myriad of appetisers then appeared as we waited for the ramen to be ready. The cold cucumber whets the appetite while the carnivore in me chomped happily on the pan fried gyoza and the pork spring rolls. Both were crisp and scrumptious!
BELOW: I love the gyoza; porky, very thin crisp skin, non-greasy and tasty!
As we ate, the Ikuzo Ramen team explained the concept of their outlet. The outlet, they felt, has been unfavourably compared with other ramen outlets. Ikuzo does not intend to compete with the big guns like Menya Musashi, Santouka and etc. Their concept is more of MSG-free, “slightly localised” ramen and catered to the masses with its affordable pricing.
That, however doesn’t mean that the quality of their ramen are inferior.
Ikuzo’s ramen is made from Rye Flour. Japanese ramen and Korean jajangmyeon all have their origin from Chinese-style noodles. They vary according to their region of production, ingredients, shape or width, and the manner of preparation.
In Ikuzo, the 2 types of ramen served are:
And these ramen are usually matched with:
Tokyo Ramen – Shoyu-based soup
Hokkaido Ramen – Miso-based soup
The main ingredient of most of these noodles is wheat flour. In Ikuzo, they use rye flour for its obvious high nutritious values. Rye is rich in iron, protein, calcium, vitamin Bs & E and it is also high in fiber. Rye cereal has a very low Glycemic Index (GI) of only 34. Low-GI diet is associated with reduce risk of obesity.
The super high fiber content gives a different twist to the texture and feel of the ramen made from rye flour as compared to those made from wheat flour.
Here’s what we sampled during our lunch.
Ramen (All IKUZO Ramen’s prices from RM5.90 – RM10.90)
- Cha-Shu Ramen RM8.90 – Shoyu paste
- Curry Ramen RM7.90 – curry paste
- Hokkaido Ramen RM8.50 – Miso paste
- Curry Tan Tan Ramen RM6.90 – with mala spices
- Tokyo Ramen RM7.90– Shoyu paste
- Yakiniku Ramen RM8.50– Shoyu paste
Condiments are on the table for you to gussy up your ramen if you wish.
- Chili paste
- Sliced garlic
- Pickled chili
- Fried shallots
- White pepper
- Chili Oil
So as you can see, Ikuzo’s ramen is slightly localised in term of flavour. I much prefer my Menya Musashi and Gantetsu Hokkaido Ramen if I’m craving for hearty heavy ramen, but for everyday meals under RM10, I’ll grab an Ikuzo Ramen anytime! Cheap, convenient and no – MSG! :DD
The packaging for take-away is very user-friendly too. The soups are packed separately in sturdy tupperwares.
In a nutshell, Ikuzo Ramen has a different concept in comparison to other ramen joints so there’s isn’t a point for comparison. Hop in here if you want a light and relatively healthy meal with friendly prices to boot!
Last but not least, kudos to Ikuzo Ramen for stepping up their game. It’s good to know that they value feedback and took appropriate measures to improve their menu.
52, Jalan SS2/61, Petaling Jaya, MY.
10:30 am – 11:00 pm