A few weeks ago, we read about the rows of stalls in the newly opened Hawker’s Lane in Chatswood Westfield mall and got really interested. Saucer and I decided to pay it a visit since we had not been to Chatswood in ages. I have to say, we were really impressed with the new look of this food court! It was rather spacious with plenty of tables and chairs, and the decoration made us feel like we’re in a part of Asia. Since it was still new, some of the stalls were not in full operation yet but more than 90% of them were already bustling with business. We took a walk around to figure out what to eat, while sipping on a large cup of Gong Cha pearl milk tea (yum!). We finally decided to have ramen on that day because it was quite cool and we felt like having some warm comfort food.
Makanai Ramen has finally reopened after closing for a year due to the renovation and upgrading works. We were there at around 12pm when there was no line, so we thought our food would arrive quite quickly. However, we ended up waiting for at least 20 minutes for our order still, which was quite surprising seeing how there were not many dining there yet. Anyway, we were not that fussed because we were busy taking in the new environment and observing what other restaurants were available. We spotted a place selling ramen burger just nearby, a sushi joint, a Sze Chuan stall, a dumpling stall, an Indian stall and even a Malaysian stall! Looks like we would have to make a few visits here in the future!
Back to our ramen, we had the Ajitama Ramen with the choice of tonkotsu soup. Anyone who loves ramen would tell you that tonkotsu is the broth to go – it’s essentially pork bone broth that has been with fat and collagen for hours and hours, resulting in a thick, creamy and sometimes gelatinous soup that is oh-so-flavourful. Due to the lengthy preparation time required for this broth, most ramen places would only have a limited amount of tonkotsu available for the day, so we were really looking forward to trying Makanai’s version of it.
When I first had a sip of the broth, I thought it was filled with pork flavour with a buttery and smooth aftertaste. It wasn’t as thick or gelatinous as some of the other tonkotsu I had before, but the flavours worked. However, as I went along, the taste of the bamboo shoots started to overpower the broth and since I don’t quite enjoy bamboo shoots, I wished I had taken them out in the first place. Otherwise, the noodles were cooked just right – springy and al dente with a nice bite to them. The added egg on the side was also cooked to perfection, with the yolk oozing out in its golden glory.
Overall, I enjoyed the food and the experience in the newly opened Makanai Ramen, and would love to return and try out the other types they have, especially the hot ones.