Vancouver noodle news: Marutama Gaiden opens on Main Street, Horin Ramen on Robson to come

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      We just previously mentioned some big bowl challenges for both ramen and pho, but here are some other brief noodle news bites about what's happening in Vancouver's ramen scene.

      Also, if hadn't already heard, Benkei Ramen reopened at Broadway (at Cambie) in November after recovering from a fire.

      Even more Marutama

      Fans of Marutama Ra-men (which originally launched in Kawaguchi, Japan, in 2001) now have an alternative to traveling downtown to enjoy a bowl of their noodles.

      The international chain's first Vancouver location at 780 Bidwell Street (just off Robson Street) regularly draws lineups of devotees, and a second location launched at 270 Robson Street (at Hamilton Street), in the former premises of Jinya Ramen Bar (which has since moved a few blocks over to 541 Robson Street at Richards Street—talk about musical chairs).

      Meanwhile, Marutama has launched an offshoot called Marutama Gaiden at 2858 Main Street (at East 13th Avenue). Gaiden means spin-off or side story in Japanese.

      The handsome exterior and interior design features traditional Japanese wood-based décor.

      Marutama Gaiden
      Craig Takeuchi

      Their soft opening was in late October. They're currently offering a limited menu with only 150 bowls available per day (first come, first served) with seating for 16 diners.   

      This location's menu differs from the menus of their other two locations. 

      On the menu are three types of ramen ($10.75 to $12.50): shoyu, miso, and vegetarian (with vegetable stock), as well as Japanese curry and chicken karaage. Although they still use their creamy chicken-based paitan broth, it doesn’t come with the aosa (seaweed) or spiciness that is standard at their other two locations.

      Shoyu ramen at Marutama Gaiden
      Craig Takeuchi

      A forthcoming item will be an offering of nabemono (Japanese hot pot), which will include chicken and various vegetables, that requires a minimum of two people at $30 each.

      The location is preparing to have its grand opening in January so stay tuned for more details to be finalized.

      Even more ramen on Robson

      As if there aren't already enough ramen places on Robson Street, Horin Ramen and Sake is slated to open at 1226 Robson Street. (Then again, isn't it better than having yet another coffee shop opening up?) 

      The location will extend the West End's ramen district even further up Robson from its nexus at Robson and Denman streets.

      The Georgia Straight is awaiting a reply to an inquiry for more information so stay tuned.

      It will take over the location of the short-lived okonomiyaki joint Fatty Papa (maybe the name wasn't exactly the most appealing?), which opened in 2016 and closed earlier this year.