DinnerJinya Ramen Bar Robson


Jinya Ramen is a California Japanese ramen franchise opening its first Canadian outlet in downtown Vancouver. They serve primarily Tonkotsu (pork broth) ramen, but also have a few other tricks up their sleeve. Although located on Robson, Jinya is on the outskirts (Southeast Downtown) of Vancouver’s Ramen central in the West End.

Shio Tonkotsu Ramen ($8.95) Pork belly char-siu, spinach, bamboo shoots, green onion, fried onions.

Shio Tonkotsu Ramen ($8.95) Pork belly char-siu, spinach, bamboo shoots, green onion, fried onions.

They offer the standard broth flavours found at many Ramem shops: Shio (salt), Shoyu (soy) and Miso.

The old standby, Shio Tonkotsu is a hearty, slow cooked pork broth laced with extra umami from the Shio and dense dashi broth. It’s accompanied by a nest of thin, al dente noodles and garnished with spinach, bamboo shoots, green onions and fried onions, and a pair of lushly fat slices of pork char-siu.

The previously less widely available (at least in Vancouver) Chicken Ramen is a surprisingly full-bodied broth of chicken stock that easily rivals the density of its more popular pork broth cousins. The chicken ramen was no slouch. The mind bending chicken char-siu had both the texture and taste of what I imagined chicken could taste like were it a roast pork loin — meaty, fatty and tender.

Soft Boiled Ramen Egg ($1) -- Do it!

Soft Boiled Ramen Egg ($1) — Do it!

These two particular ramen do not come with the requisite soft boiled egg, but we recommend that for a mere dollar extra to do just that — and please do order it soft boiled, not hard. Trust us.

Pork Gyoza ($6)

Pork Gyoza ($6)

Our side of pork gyoza was quite tasty, thinly wrapped, well seasoned, and pan-fried to crispy goodness. If you’re interested in something a little bit off the beaten path, then Jinya has other flavour profiles like Jinya Black (featuring their fragrant garlic oil), or the spicy Jinya Red ranging from level 1 (mild sting) to level 10 (think 3 alarm blaze) — we’ve only managed to hit level 8, which left us in a sweating pile of pain and pleasure.

Two bowls of ramen, a side of gyoza and soft boiled egg including tax and tip came to around $30. The portions at Jinya sit somewhere between the largesse of Kintaro and closer to Santouka’s — which is to say, it’ll fill you up without putting you into a coma. The service is generally swift and polite. But if you plan on hitting Jinya during peak hours (i.e lunch on the weekdays, dinner on the weekends) be prepared to put your name down on the list and waiting for at least 15 minutes.

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