Shinzo ramen

After coming back from Osaka only two weeks ago, I knew one of the things I would miss (besides seeing kawaii things EVERYWHERE) would be the food, more specifically, the ramen. So my eyes widened when I saw a Facebook post that Nu signage had just completed the signs for Shinzo ramen in the ANU area. The menu looked limited but it was filled with different versions of tonkotsu, my favourite ramen of all time.

Here’s the menu:I don’t know what we did before social media, but I am used to restaurants counting down to when they open, creating hype, having giveaways; meanwhile, I couldn’t even find a phone number for this restaurant. There are two random photos using the shinzo hashtag on Instagram, but there was no Instagram account, no Facebook page, not even a poorly designed website that had ‘website coming soon’. I had to resort to good ol’ fashion stalking. I sent my friend who works near the Unilodge at ANU on a mission to find the shop front, he was able to send me the opening times and warned me it was almost a hole in the wall as he walked past it twice without realising it.

They seem to have a section for making noodles cornered off at the front.TimmyC and I arrived just after they had opened for dinner and there were already a few people inside. There are three big tables with 8 stools each and it’s an order at the counter and then find yourself a seat type of system.Soft drink can aloe vera juice drink with pulp bits + peach juice ($3.00) this was a nice drink with aloe pieces and tasted like peach flavouring.Signature tonkotsu ($15.00) when I saw that the broth had a rich colour, I had such high hopes but alas, I was only disappointed. There was flavour there, but it wasn’t fatty, almost to the point of creamy – which is what I look for in a tonkotsu. The noodles were a bit harder than I would have liked and although I don’t usually indulge in the egg, it was completely hard-boiled. The pork was done well and seemed to be the only saving grace.A promising opaque rich brown colour.That egg is definitely hard boiled.The bowls have a weird sloped shape, so they are wide at the top and narrow at the base. After a while, you find there isn’t much soup because the bowl isn’t that big, throwing off the soup to noodle ratio.Black garlic tonkotsu ($16.00) I was really disappointed when I couldn’t taste much difference between my black garlic and TimmyC’s signature tonkotsu. I bit into a tiny black chip hoping it would taste like black garlic bit it felt like I was biting a burnt wood chip. Again the broth could have been more flavoursome and have more depth, the egg was also completely hard-boiled, while the pork was good, it was messily cut and broke into chunks when served in the bowl.Pork gyoza ($7.00) I was a bit dubious when they put down the plate, the gyoza wasn’t pan-fried on one side which is what I’m used to and when we bit into them, they were cold and not cooked all the way through. When I told them, they were very apologetic and replaced them. There was a bit of a wait until the new set arrived and they gave us complimentary edamame beans. The second plate was cooked all the way through, but the dipping dish wasn’t big enough and you had to awkwardly dip both ends of the dumpling or double dip. I wouldn’t order them again, they don’t have a crunchy texture when one side isn’t pan fried but the taste was okay.The edamame beans we got given while we waited for our second set gyoza.They had a flyer saying that they were a family owned business and wanted to improve, you can write feedback on the back and return it during your next visit to receive 10% off. I wanted to give them my feedback but didn’t know when I would be back, so I left it there on the table when I left. My list of improvements included: pan fry one side of the gyoza, maybe improve on their tonkotsu broth, don’t overcook the egg, have a better shaped ramen bowl and also suggested they could maybe they could have a noodle ‘softness’ choice for customers.

I did like the staff’s friendly attitude and the price (for Canberra) is fair considering it includes the bamboo, seaweed, egg etc. I was hoping to cover my lips in a fattiness that only a collagen-rich tonkotsu could provide but I don’t think I’ll be getting that here. It is still early days considering they only opened last Thursday, I hope they improve.

Venue: Shinzo ramen

Address: 35 Childers St, Canberra ACT 2601 (next to Shanghai dumpling cafe)

Opening times:

Monday – Friday 11:00 – 15:00, 18:00 – 21:00

Saturday 11:30 – 14:30, 18:00 – 21:30

closed Sunday

Handy tip: there are no bathrooms at this restaurant

Yummy Chinese BBQ re-run

I haven’t been back to Yummy Chinese BBQ since it just opened but with the cooler weather setting in, my friends and I wanted to warm ourselves with hot food over some hot coals. See my first post here.

Things have changed slightly since my last visit; there is no more steam boat, the small hot plates that sat in the charcoal chamber have been replaced with big gas hot plates which means more room to cook chicken wings and there is no more confusing iPad to order things from.

Yummy Chinese BBQ offers you ‘all you can eat’ from a range of skewers and raw meat that you cook yourselves and a buffet of hot Chinese food for those who can’t wait for the food to be cooked.

$36.00 per person all you can eat and $3.00 for unlimited orange juice and Coca Cola.
Skewers on offer include prawns, smoky lamb, beef and caramelised pork. We were not constrained with a time limit which was good because the coals took a while to arrive and we didn’t mind sitting outside because it meant it was less smoky. The food choice might seem a little odd to some because it is more ‘traditional’ Chinese food (that night’s buffet selection included pipis, fish in a chilli sauce, chicken feet and sesame balls filled with red bean) but it is a fun and different way to dine with friends.

We were done eating just under two hours and I basically just ate my weight in chicken wings.
Yummy Chinese BBQ Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Yummy Chinese BBQ

So I found this sitting in my drafts folder and I can’t believe I’ve waited so long to finish this post, here it is!

I love it when friends find new places to eat, I just get to go along for the ride with very few details about the food. The new place we were headed to this time was called Yummy Chinese BBQ, based on the name I assumed we were going somewhere where ducks and bbq pork hung from the windows.
My friend sent me a message before we met to wear something that I wouldn’t mind smelling like BBQ smoke, luckily he did because I had a whole new outfit picked out, now I was going to wear any ol’ thing.

It is an ‘all you can eat’ situation with ‘cook it yourself’ elements from the BBQ and hotpot whilst also being able to choose some pre-made hot food from the buffet ($35.00 pp with a two-hour time limit).

The Uni Lodge Precinct is forever growing and is catering towards the increasing Asian student population in the area. IMG_5474.JPGIMG_5475.JPGAfter snapping photos of the surrounding area, I met my friends at the table and a look of confusion took over my face, if it’s a charcoal BBQ place, why is there a hot pot? I was further confused when I was also told there was an all you could eat buffet inside. With so much variety, where do I start?

Well the coals weren’t in the BBQ yet so that could take the back burner. My Asian friend was in charge of the tablet where you could order drinks and skewered meats for the BBQ, so I left her to deal with that as I went to venture inside to check out what was happening. At first, I didn’t know if I liked the thought of sitting outside until I went inside… Although there were exhaust fans above each grill, the feeling of smoke was irritating to the eyes.

 No coals yet, time to go to plan B.IMG_5478.JPGPlan B requires food input from the food buffet inside. Okay! Inside we go!

Broths are continually refilled by the wait staff and there is one hot pot between two people. It does take up valuable table real estate though because there isn’t much space left after a BBQ is fitted into the table.IMG_5480.JPG I’ve never seen portable hot pots like this and I thought the pattern was gorgeous!IMG_5476.JPGThe tablet luckily had some English translation or I’d be very lost. IMG_5479.JPGInside there is a cold open fridge with unlabeled marinated meats for the BBQ, an assortment of Asian salads, a limited range of sweets and fruit, a buffet of noodles, luncheon meat, greens for the hot pot and the last three trays were filled with hot ready to eat food (fish, pippies and crab).

The unidentified meat fridge is constantly being restocked. I particularly liked the chicken wings and garlic bread on the BBQ.IMG_5483.JPGA weird combination of sauce/condiments and dessert area. Not too many to choose from, just some sesame balls and fruit (not refilled yet).IMG_5484.JPGA variety of salads that I didn’t try at all, I was too busy om nom noming other things.IMG_5482.JPGNext up: an assortment of luncheon meat, vegetables and noodles for the hot pot as well as some pre-made hot food.IMG_5485.JPGI went to town on the pippies, the crab looked like it was too much effort for little return. IMG_5491.JPGI grabbed a few things for our hot pots.IMG_5503.JPGIMG_5504.JPGIMG_5500.JPGThe coals finally arrive!IMG_5497.JPGIt’s time to BBQ!IMG_5498.JPGThe BBQs are fitted with genius moving racks that have slots to connect with your skewer and constantly rotate them for even cooking.IMG_5501.JPGIt’s all starting to happen on the table, BBQ, hot pot and om nom noms. IMG_5502.JPGIt is a good way to dine as it provides some instant food as well as a fun way to eat with friends, it also allows everyone to eat what they like while still sharing an experience together.IMG_5510.JPGI must admit it was a fun way to dine with friends once you figure out all the food options and what was happening. There is a combination of ready to eat foods as well as novelty ‘cook it yourself’ options and once all the food starts cooking, you could be eating for a non stop 2 hour duration.

Unfortunate traits are: figuring out what all the unlabeled meats were (I’m pretty sure I ate tongue somewhere), some of the meats were too fatty and not worth cooking, going to trek for the toilets which were deceivingly far away and getting the smell of BBQ smoke from your hair and clothes.

Venue: Yummy Chinese BBQ

Address1 Childers St Canberra, ACT

Phone: 02 6248 9154

Opening hours:

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