I’ve complained before about the lack of ramen shops in Richmond. I thought Gyoza King group had the market cornered. Well, I was wrong, technically — there are alternatives, if you’re willing to look for them. Shibuyatei is a tiny ramen shop located on the edge of central Richmond, operated by a single Japanese man. There’s ample parking, either in a cramped lot in front of the building, or a spacious, somewhat sketchy lot in back. The menu is mostly composed of home style Japanese food, such as ramen (Larmen?) and katsu curry, as well as sushi and gyoza.
I had a mixed order of the prawn and pork gyoza. The shell was nicely seared and a bit chewy, just how I like it, instead of soggy like some of the sub-par gyoza I’ve had before. The prawn filling had a good, firm prawn texture, but on the whole was nothing special. The pork filling was even more unremarkable, but maybe I’m just not good at judging gyoza. Janice said that the gyoza had a baking soda flavour — I detected a bit of an odd note, but couldn’t place it. I haven’t tasted baking soda, but if you have, apparently these taste like baking soda.
I had my regular shoyu ramen, which at this restaurant was served with green onion, bean sprouts, and nori. No soft-boiled egg, which is a major point against the ramen here, as I think that a good shiotama is the best part of a bowl of ramen. The broth was also a little less flavourful than I’m used to at the Robson noodle shops, and from what I heard from Janice, the shio broth wasn’t much better. One plus here was the abundance of pork — I find that some ramen shops give only one slice (?!). Never fear, Shibuyatei is generous with the meat.
Shibuyatei is an alternative to Nan Chuu ramen, yes. Is it a viable alternative? I don’t think so. The lack of shiotama makes it unlikely I’ll return (it’s really that important to me!), although I definitely respect the dedication that it takes to run a one-man restaurant. If you’re not a huge fan of egg in your ramen and would rather have a generous portion of pork, then this might be the place for you!