Monday, March 9, 2020

Hakata Ichiran 博多一蘭 @ Juru Sentral, Bukit Mertajam, Penang.

When Hakata Ichiran 博多一蘭 first opened at Juru Sentral a few months back, the place managed to lure in a big curious crowd due to its name and facade... which oddly similar to the famous Japanese Ramen chain- Ichiran Ramen. But if you look closer, this brand is not exactly Ichiran... just a market follower attempting to gain market share (with less interest in differentiating its products). On its Facebook Page though, it says the the brand is managed by a company from Hang Zhou (China) with the same roots as the authentic Ichiran Ramen. Not sure what it means though but both the food menu and restaurant setting are quite similar to the authentic Ichiran Ramen. It has the one diner layout as well as the standard tables; while the restaurant only offers one type of menu- Japanese Ramen (though available in various flavors) and some add ons. Reasonable price but definitely not on par with the authentic Ichiran Ramen.

Classic Tonkotsu Ramen (Rm 23.80)

Gyoza (Rm 6)

While Hakata Ichiran does allow you to customize the saltiness, spiciness of the broth, it does not allow you to choose the texture of the Ramen. Garlic and Vinegar were also missing- which was quite disappointing for a restaurant specializing in offering Japanese Ramen. Anyway, the Pork broth was okay but not as rich and thick as I would have hoped, I would also prefer to have more Spring Onions on my bowl of Ramen. The authentic Ichiran has a bolder, multi-dimensional flavor while Hakata's seemed to be on the monotonous side. The serving portion was unexpectedly small as well (as far as I could recall, the authentic Ichiran serves a bigger portion) but I am not complaining for the price. The Ramen was nothing to shout over and was disappointingly average (probably my expectation came in higher due to the restaurant is under the shadow of Ichiran Ramen). Gyoza was decent though.

Taste: 7/10 (1-3 bad, 4-7 average, 8-10 good)
Service: 7/10 (1-3 bad, 4-7 average, 8-10 good)
Price: 7/10 (1-3 expensive, 4-7 average, 8-10 cheap)
Parking: 7/10 (1-3 bad, 4-7 average, 8-10 good)
Ambiance: 7.5/10 (1-3 bad, 4-7 average, 8-10 good)
Service Charge: Yes 10%
Government Tax: No

Additional Information:
Business Hours: 11 am to 11 pm. Opens Daily.
Contact Number: 6013- 488 8210

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