Shop 50, Sunnypark Shopping Centre, Sunnybank
Lucky for me, my mum's birthday always falls close to Mother's Day and my dad's falls near Father's Day. This year, Dad's birthday was exactly on Father's Day Sunday. I get so stressed out shopping for presents that any chance to mush celebrations together makes my life easier. Because we're Chinese, birthdays = noodles due to its representation of longevity. This was the prefect opportunity for us to try newly opened Ramen Champion in Sunnybank. Mum and dad had already been there and quite liked it so this time, they took me and my grandparents.
We got there before noon on a Saturday, fairly early in the lunch period. It wasn't too busy when we got there but before long, the tables were all taken up and there were even people queuing up outside. Mum mentioned that the last time they were there, tables were set up outside too but that wasn't the case when we went. It might have been because it was a pretty windy day.
The menu at Ramen Champion is simple with a couple of sides/starters, a selection of different soup based ramen and rice dishes for those not in the mood for noodles. Our group ordered some gyoza to share and a bowl of ramen each. My grandparents and myself all went for the spicy champion, whilst my mum had the original champion ramen and my dad selected the curry men ramen.
Our gyoza didn't take too long to arrive. They were lovely and hot, indicating freshness. My family liked that these had a flavour they were familiar with, in that the filling was similar to some Chinese-style dumplings. They detected garlic chives and cabbage in the mix.
The wait for the ramen itself seemed a lot longer. As a point of reference, my dad spied someone else with char shu pork and he thought about adding this to our order but the wait was already so long by this point that he decided against it. We didn't want to be stuck waiting even longer for our second lot of food to arrive.
Spicy champion - spicy pork bone soup ramen with vegetable and minced pork
When we finally got our food, we perked up because each bowl looked so good, exactly as pictured on the menu (which isn't always the case with food). I loaded more spicy oil and ramen sauce into my bowl of ramen. I did taste the soup without these additions and it was already very good but I always like an extra pop of chili in soup.
Close-up of mincy soupy mix
This ramen broth was very rich and creamy with a lovely gelatinous tackiness to the tongue. I liked the texture of the noodles. They were fairly thin, and I don't normally like thin noodles but they had a good elastic bite without being too firm. The protein component of the spicy champion ramen was a pork mince that was cooked to soft, melty and seasoned perfection. To finish the dish was half a slow cooked egg. Delicious!
Champion ramen - pork bone soup ramen with vegetables and flame grilled pork slices
I tried all of the other dishes too, as a duty to this blog of course :p. Mum's classic ramen was really delicious. My previous experience with Japanese ramen in tonkotsu (pork bone) broth comes mainly from Hakataya and Ajisen, which taste kind of similar. I had grown to expect all these ramen places to taste the same. Ramen Champion's broth tastes less oily than Hakataya's and also doesn't lean heavily on the use of fried onion for flavour. I tasted egg yolk in the broth and wonder if that is used to thicken it at all. It tasted so nourishing; ramen is definitely my pick of a recovery meal when I'm sick.
Curry men champion - fresh noodle with curry dipping sauce, vegetable and flame grilled pork slices
What was perhaps the biggest shock was the curry ramen. I was really skeptical when dad ordered this, not just because my parents hate curry-flavoured things but also because it seems like it would be way too strong and crass for thin noodles. The noodles that came with his dish were thicker than the soup ramen and the curry sauce came on the side so you could put as much or as little as you want. It wasn't at all like a regular Asian curry sauce though. It's surprisingly refined and straight away, I picked up a fishy element that added complexity to the flavour. I'm going to guess there's dashi in there.
Ramen Champion offers some really tasty soup noodle options. They are good value and very filling. I personally loved the broths I tasted but my mum still prefers Hakataya. I hope our long wait for food was just a odd occurrence because with this type of food, speedy service is part of the expectation.