It was only 6pm on a Saturday and there was already a large crowd standing outside the frosted glass doors. I arrived about 20 minutes before the rest of my party just to make sure we had a spot inside. The crowd outside was beginning to look restless and I was getting antsy myself. We weren’t waiting to get into the newest nightclub, but Ramen-ya, the newest Ramen house in town.
Ramen is a Japanese dish that mainly consists of a meat-based broth and noodles. While this recipe may sound very simple, the different areas in Japan all have their own variations on the classic recipe. And now, thanks to Ramen-ya, Maui does too. Magically, when I could wait no longer, the rest of my family arrived and moments later our number was called.
Seated inside, there was no denying that the little venue was brimming to the limits of its 50-person capacity. However, when we received our food, we could see why people were lining up to get inside. The portions at Ramen-ya are huge! The bowl of Miso Ramen I ordered was definitely bigger than my head (and as a writer for Maui Time Weekly, it can be argued that I have a pretty big head). Their Wonton Ramen was just as impressive. In both dishes the broth was hot and the noodles were done just right, not stringy or over-boiled.
But the Miso Ramen and Wonton Ramen could not compare to the sheer immensity of the Big Bowl Ramen. This is a monster of a bowl of ramen. Not only is the bowl larger than most, but the ramen inside is heaped with garnishes. Of course there was the standard fare of sliced pork and green onions. But alongside classic ramen garnishes were chicken katsu, corn, boiled egg, cabbage and seaweed, among other ingredients. This is a dish that could easily be split between two or three people. Furthermore, Ramen-ya gives you more bang for your buck. While they serve you mountains of noodles, the check won’t make your wallet weep.
A word of warning though: Ramen-ya is not the place to start your low-carb diet. Their oodles of noodles are just full of carb-wonderfulness.
Sometimes eating the same texture continuously can be a little overwhelming. Or maybe you’re just not in the mood to be eating an enormous bowl of ramen. The good people at Ramen-ya have anticipated this predicament. The remedies they offer are the combo sets. These combos are pleasing to the palate, without overwhelming the stomach. For example, the combo set #2 has a bowl of mini ramen, the most perfect fried rice and four pieces of gyoza. The gyoza was fried to a golden brown and bursting with flavor. Also on the menu are jumbo gyozas, to match the rest of Ramen-ya’s jumbo portions.
Another good thing about Ramen-ya is the location. It’s conveniently situated at Queen Kaahumanu Shopping Center, so you can shop ‘til you drop, then eat ‘til you explode. Ramen-ya’s dishes, sumo-sized portions and affordability were definitely worth the wait. This restaurant is on its way to becoming a local family favorite. MTW