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The pride of Japanese culinary philosophy, in a seemingly simple bowl of Ramen @ Tabushi!

The pride of Japanese culinary philosophy, in a seemingly simple bowl of Ramen @ Tabushi!

[编辑 Editor 吕大人   英译/日译 Translator 刘大人/土屋芳子   摄影 Photographer 刘大人]

 

“When we go to Japan, the first thing we want to eat is ramen”! In Japan, ramen is seen as a sort of fast food that can be eaten whenever we’re feeling a bit peckish, but there is also a large contingent of noodle connoisseur out there who take their ramen very seriously.

Originally from China, ramen noodles are actually a Chinese invention that grew roots in Japan and gained popularity as Chinese immigrants began cooking in soba shops. The blending of Chinese noodles with Japanese broth making and eating rituals gave birth to many modern styles, creating no shortage of distinctive tastes and toppings for us to obsess over.

「日本に行ったら、最初に食べたいものはラーメンです!」
日本では、ラーメンは小腹がすいたときにいつでも食べることができる、ある種のファーストフードだと思われていますが、ラーメンについて熱狂的な大勢の愛好家もいます。
もともとラーメンの麺は、中国発祥のもので、中国の移民がそば屋で提供を始めてから日本で人気になり、根付きました。中華麺を日本式のスープや日本式の食べ方と合わせることで、多くの新しいスタイルが生まれ、独特の味やトッピングのアイデアは尽きることがありません。

Image credit: Yoshiko Tsuchiya

Everything started in Suginami City. Born on July 7, 2003, and conveniently located near Koenji station, Mendokoro Tabushi is a humble ramen restaurant with only 11 seats at the counter, before opening multiple outlets in Shizuoka Prefecture, Yokohama City, Kanagawa Prefecture and Yamanashi Prefecture, all within a short span of three years!

2003年の7月、田ぶしは杉並区の高円寺駅近くで誕生しました。オープンした年には、情報誌「東京一週間」で、「新人優秀賞」および「最優秀メンマ大賞」を受賞。また、情報誌「Tokyo Walker」ではラーメンマニアが選んだ、「キング・オブ・ヌードル」を受賞しています。その後も数々の賞を受賞しましたが、カウンターに11席だけの小さな店からはじまりまった田ぶしの味は人気を博し、3年という短い間に、静岡県、神奈川県、山梨県に複数の店舗をオープンしています。

In September 2012, the award-winning Tabushi opened its first overseas restaurant in Jakarta, with a total of three outlets in Indonesia before finally landing in the southernmost tip of mainland Asian continent, at Taman Mount Austin in Johor Bahru to be exact in November 2015. Even with many factors that can change a cuisine when brought to another country, one thing we admired about our Japanese counterparts is the matter of keeping the taste of the food made here as authentic as those prepared in Japan.

2012年9月、最初の海外店として、田ぶしはインドネシアのジャカルタにオープンしました。インドネシアで合計3つの店舗をオープンさせた後、2015年11月、アジア大陸の最南端 ・ マレーシア、ジョホールバルのマウントオースティン地区についに上陸しました。
他国に持ち込まれると、味を変えざるを得ないたくさんの要因があります。ですがここでは、日本で作られたのと変わりない本格的な味を提供し続けていて、それは本当に素晴らしいことです。

Not all ramen are created equal. While the national food of Japan is deceptive in its simplicity in its most basic form, many different elements, from the type of noodles used, to the broth they are then immersed in and the myriad toppings, all come together to reflect different styles of ramen and create that perfect bowlful of steaming, slurpy goodness. Ramen is broadly classified by the type of soup, ranging from Shoyu (soy sauce), Tonkotsu (pork bone), Shio (salt) and Miso. At Tabushi, the soup is the soul of the bowl, which bestows the literal and figurative heartwarming quality to a good bowl of ramen. To make its signature broth, Tabushi doesn’t compromise when it comes to ingredients or preparation time, the chef-owner from Japan was on hand to impart his skills to perfect the original ramen recipe, everything from the ratio of the sauce, fat, soup stock and other ingredients are carefully calculated and executed to spread the authentic flavour. Despite the absence of “soft water” and wheat flour from home, many ramen enthusiasts still vouch for the taste of local Tabushi to be on par and certainly reminiscent of those found in Japan!

すべてのラーメンが同じように作られているわけではありません。使用される麺の種類から、それらがひたるスープ、そしていくつもの種類のトッピングまで、複数の要素が集まってさまざまなスタイルのラーメンに反映され、そして、なんともいえない調和がその完璧な一杯を作り出します。ラーメンのスープは魂であり、その特製スープを作るために、田ぶしは材料や準備時間に関して妥協しません。日本のオーナーシェフは、マレーシアで日本と同じラーメンを完成させるために、彼の技術のすべてータレ、あぶら、ダシや他の材料までーをレシピにしました。ダシや他の材料などは慎重に計算され、本物の味が受け継がれています。日本と同じ軟水や小麦粉がないにもかかわらず、マレーシアの多くのラーメン愛好家は、地元にいながら、確かに日本とほぼ同じおいしさのラーメンが食べられると言っています!
ジョホールバルで最もおいしいラーメン屋さんであると評判の田ぶしには、週末になると、遠方からもたくさんの客が訪れています。

While the broth provides the soul to a ramen bowl, the noodles differentiate ramen from any other noodle dish. Ramen noodles at its core is composed of egg, water, wheat flour and yeast. After mixing the different ingredients and letting the noodle dough age, the dough of 10mm thin is pressed into a long flat sheet about one-fifth its original thickness after three iterations after which it gets folded and rest. As Tabushi provides both the thin and thick noodles for different dishes, the width can be varied according to demand, with most Tokyoites preferring the former that goes well with their signature Shoyu Ramen!

After the dough sheet has rested for a certain amount of time, the thinning process begins by adjusting the press units’ roller gap to a smaller value and stretching the dough, until the sheet reaches the desired thickness. This process is repeated 3 to 4 times until the final thickness is reached and the sheet is ready for cutting. The last step involves inserting the blade set of the desired width to cut the noodles, so all in all, the noodles can remain the same thickness, width and length with every batch and thus having total control over the exact amount (weight) to serve per bowl. The freshly cut noodles are then refrigerated and rest once more for a maximum effect on the taste. For such a compact but comprehensive production facility housed within the restaurant, we are more than impressed with the speed and precision that goes into the making of these high-quality housemade noodles!

ラーメンの中核をなす麺は、卵、水、小麦粉、酵母で構成されています。田ぶしでは、店内に製麺所があり、自家製麺を作っています。ラーメンとつけ麺に合わせて、細い麺と太い麺の両方を提供しています。これらの高品質の自家製麺が、スピーディーで正確に作られていることに、感銘を受けました!

A good piece of chashu will enhance a good bowl of ramen and make it great but is often one of the hardest things to get right. When done well, the sweet, savoury skin will melt in our mouth, the fat will give our broth even more richness, and the succulent meat will fall apart with the slightest bite.

After picking out the desired cut of around 10mm in thickness from 16kg of pork belly, the chashu is salted, rolled up and tied up with butcher’s twine at about half-inch intervals to give the roasts a tighter, more uniform cylindrical shape to encourages more even cooking. The chashu needs to be turned and seared all sides over medium-high heat until it’s golden brown before it’s slowly braised at a low temperature in a sweet and salty marinade for another two to three hours. Once the pork is cooled down, transfer the meat and sealed with a zip-top bag before putting it in the refrigerator overnight or until it’s completely cool. This way the pork is easier to slice thinly after allowing for a natural thaw of 30%, giving the pork even more flavour.

美しくおいしいチャーシューは、ラーメンをさらにすばらしいものにしますが、毎日同じ安定した状態で作ることが最も難しいものの1つです。うまくやれば、甘い、おいしいあぶらが私たちの口の中で溶け、脂が私たちのスープをさらに豊かにし、肉がほんの少し噛んだだけでほどけるでしょう。16kgの豚バラ肉を塩で味付けし、約2センチの間隔でひもで巻き上げ、茶褐色になるまで中・強火で全周を回転させて焼いていきます。その後、秘伝のタレでさらに2〜3時間、低温で煮込みます。豚肉が完全に冷えたら、10㎜の厚さにスライスしていきます。

Tabushi serves their noodles in regular (normal) doneness, but we could always request to have it “super hard” or “super soft”, depending on our preferences. On the other hand, the broth, and the tare that goes into it are often major points of delineation that separates saltiness, savoury and umami-rich. Tabushi‘s homemade broth is a special recipe that comes from a labour of love, 16 years in the making and over 9 hours to simmer with NO MSG so if you ever find the broth too intense for your palate, the chefs at Tabushi are more than happy to finetune the taste to your liking. For us, we prefer sticking to the original taste and savour the authentic flavours of Tokyo!

田ぶしは最も適した状態の茹で具合で麺を提供しますが、私達は好みによって、麺の硬さをオーダーできます。麺の硬さや、そこにからむスープのバランスは塩味、風味、うまみをかもしだす重要な要素です。 田ぶしの自家製スープは、16年間の歴史の中で愛情をもって作り上げられ、毎日9時間以上かけて煮込まれて完成しています。私たちは、この東京と同じ本格的な味を楽しめることがうれしいです!

 

Shoyu Ramen
しょうゆラーメン

Also known as Tokyo Ramen due to its popularity in Japan, especially in Tokyo, this old-school Shoyu Ramen comes with a clear brown broth due to the addition of soy sauce, which results in the soup being tangy and salty yet significantly lighter on the palate. Taking the cue from our friend Yoshiko, we wasted no time in lifting our noodles (after our customary “itadakimasu”) and dip back into the bowl to mop up some of the broth and fat and slurp quickly and loudly! Fret not, slurping is expected and respected. The chashu is so tender to the point of almost breaking apart when we try to pick it up with our chopsticks. Mmmm, simply “oishii ne”!

定番で一番人気のしょうゆラーメンは、醤油とんこつの旨味にあふれた一品です。
熱いうちにずずっとすすりましょう。麺を「すする」ことはラーメンを食べる上ではマナー違反でもなんでもなく、ふつうのことです。チャーシューは箸でつかむとくずれるほどにやわらかく、口の中で溶けていきます。

If our child loves ramen, we could really have a go at Doraemon’s “small light” to beam at our bowl and shrink it to miniature size, or go for the Okosama Ramen for a good dose of Tabushi’s signature dish, complete with their favourite French fries, fried chicken and yoghurt drink! Even we couldn’t resist a bite at the miniature chashu and ramen egg!

もし子どもがラーメン好きなら、ミニサイズラーメンがついたこの「お子様ラーメンセット」をおすすめします。子どもが大好きなフライドポテト、からあげ、ヤクルトがついてきます!

 

Akafuji Ramen
赤富士ラーメン(スパイシー)

As if Malaysia’s weather is not hot enough, those who want your ramen to have a little more kick can go for this spicy Akafuji Ramen to satisfy your craving! Liken to sunset of Mt Fuji, the chilli oil and chopped chilli is precisely what made the entire bowl fiery and shiok, though we find it leaning towards the spicy rather than tongue-numbing side. Despite its Japanese name, the dish was actually made popular by their outlets in Jakarta but fret not again, the tamago and moyashi (bean sprouts) have a way to add sweetness and crunch while helping to bring down the heat.

辛い物好きの方にはこの赤富士ラーメンをおすすめします。
夕焼けに照らされた富士山をイメージしたこのラーメンは、唐辛子オイルと刻んだ唐辛子が入っていて、全体的にほどよくスパイシーに仕上がっています。味噌のコクによく合う辛みの連続を、たまごともやしで抑えながらいただきましょう。このメニュ-はジャカルタ店で生まれ、人気となったメニューです。

 

Katsuo Tsukemen
鰹つけ麺

We could be forgiven for the close resemblance to our local dried wanton mee, but this wildly popular variety of ramen known as “tsukemen” was invented in Tokyo in 1961 by the late, legendary master Kazuo Yamagishi. With tsukemen, our noodles and soup are served separately, and the Katsuo Tsukemen come across as truly special with its unique bonito broth. Following the lead of Yoshiko, we tried our first tsukemen by dipping the noodles into the concentrated broth to soak up the goodness before slurping them down. True to our expectation, we could detect the distinct taste of the dried, fermented fish, and we love it! Trust us, our new-found favourite is intense and can be divisive due to its fishiness if you’re not into tuna or fish, but this deep, smoky richness of tsukemen should be tasted at least once. In fact, a regular patron from Kuala Lumpur would order two bowls in one go whenever he’s in town!

As the tsukemen broth by itself is too salty and thick to be sipped when we finish our noodles, feel free to request and stir in a small amount of dashi stock to dilute and sip the soup directly from the bowl. Consider it double bliss with this additional enjoyment!

かつおの風味豊かなつけ麺。マレーシアではドライワンタン麺を彷彿とさせますが、これは、1961年に東京で生まれた、まったく新しい食べ物です。濃厚なタレにコシのある太麺をひたしてからすぐにすすります。
鰹節の香ばしく豊な香りが広がり、一度はぜひ体験していただきたいおいしさ。
遠方から来るリピーターはいつも、2人前を注文するほど。
つけ麺のタレはそれ自体はしょっぱくて飲めないので、食べ終わったらスープをオーダーしてください。それでタレをうすめて飲むと、2回おいしさを楽しめるのです!

 

Taiwan Mazesoba
台湾まぜそば(スパイシー)

Don’t be misled by its name, mazesoba, even though there is “soba” in its name, the dish is still technically “ramen”. Literally translated as “mixed noodles”, we liken it as the Japanese bak chor mee which gradually gained in popularity across Japan over the past few years. Like our local rendition, the appeal in this spicy Taiwan Mazesoba is about mixing all the toppings and sauces to create a sophisticated but blended flavour with a satisfying mouthfeel. Using thicker noodles and cooked quite al dente as our previous tsukemen, the mazesoba comes with sliced chives, spring onions, spicy minced pork, nori seaweed and topped with tamago. Be sure to break the runny egg yolk to make the noodles creamier and toss the ingredients together before digging in. According to Yoshiko, raw eggs are common in Japan, but the half-boiled version is used here for apparent reason 😂!

The mazesoba reminded us of the Taiwanese style of dan dan mian, with a decent level of spiciness that doesn’t overpower the other ingredients. However, go slow or risk some sweat to break out.

台湾まぜそばは、ここ近年で徐々に日本で人気が高まってきたメニューです。
このメニューの魅力は、コシのある麺に、タレとさまざまなトッピングの風味が混ぜ合わされたときに発揮されます。
ネギ、ニラ、玉ねぎ、豚のピリ辛ひき肉、のり、卵がトッピングされています。スパイシーでパンチのある味は、元気になりたいとき、スタミナをつけたいときにピッタリです。

 

Buta Kakuni Set
豚角煮定食

The Buta Kakuni Set is also highly recommended. After all, who could say no to heavenly pork belly? The chunky braised pork belly was simply luscious, with two hours of slow simmering rendering the fats in the meat so that the flesh breaks up effortlessly while the fats simply melt away. We also love the simmered daikon and garlic that fully absorb the rich, savoury flavours broth, while casting an eye on the refreshing heart-shaped sliced watermelon to balance things out.

豚角煮定食も、とてもおすすめのメニューです。
やわらかくやわらかく煮込まれた豚バラは口の中ですぐほどけ、とろける食感は天国としか言いようがないでしょう。旨味あふれるスープで煮込まれた大根もとてもおいしいです。デザートにハート形のスイカもどうぞ。

 

Gyoza + Chicken Nanban
餃子 ・ チキン南蛮

Almost all ramen places offer gyozas as a side, and we couldn’t resist the goodness of pan-fried dumplings. The minced pork was soft, had the right balance of sweet and salty flavours and the vegetables provided that much needed crispy crunch. Our only gripe? Six is not enough!

The Chicken Nanban is a fried chicken dish, but with a different take. Topped with Japanese tartar dressing that has a coleslaw-esque taste, creamy yet light, we are sure these crowd favourite will be a hit with young and old alike, with our nephew and niece guaranteed to polish the plate before we could count the pieces.

たいていのラーメン屋さんにはサイドメニューとして餃子がありますが、やはり餃子といえば焼き餃子がベストでしょう。餃子の餡の豚ひき肉は柔らかく、甘みと塩気のバランスがよく、野菜がほどよい食感です。私たちが感じる唯一の不満は、おいしすぎて1皿6個入りでは足りないこと!
チキン南蛮は、フライドチキン風の料理ですが、クリーミーで軽い日本のタルタルソースがトッピングされています。これは、若者からお年寄りまで、誰もが大好きな味だと確信しています。

 

Raindrop Cake
水信玄餅

The Raindrop Cake, or better known as Mizu Shingen Mochi in Japan, is crafted out of agar and the purest spring water to give this considerable droplet of water its completely transparent sphere. When we bite into this unusual dessert, it instantly disintegrated in our mouth like jelly. Eaten with the soybean powder and honey syrup, the whole dessert didn’t amount to much, but for the very subtle sweetness and fragrance of osmanthus, Tabushi‘s rendition is nevertheless, somewhat refreshing.

水信玄餅は、雨しずくのように完全に透明な球状にするために寒天と純水で作られています。ゼリーのようで寒天のようでもっちりとした食感。そこにきな粉と黒蜜がかかり、甘くさっぱりと爽やかなデザートです。

 

What can we say? Tabushi prides themselves on their Japanese craftsmanship, where they are continually committed to improving the taste and the quality of their ramen while staying true to their roots and original taste of Tokyo!

If you are a ramen fanatic or first-timer, either way, you’re in for a treat!

なんという表現をしたらいいのでしょうか。田ぶしは、彼らのルーツと本来の味に忠実でありながら、ラーメンの味と質の向上に絶えず取り組んでいます。その日本の職人技を誇りに思います。
もしあなたがラーメン愛好家であっても、初心者であっても、どちらにしろ、ぜひ田ぶしを体験してみてください!

 

田ぶし Tabushi

📍 GF, No. 51, Jalan Austin Heights 8/3, Taman Mount Austin, 81100 Johor Bahru, Johor
📞 +6017-738 7776
🕙 Daily from 11:00am to 10:00pm
💻 Tabushi Ramen

🍽️ NON-HALAL

 

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