Ramen roundup: Ramen Raijin opens in Burnaby, Yoshida Shoten's J Crepe serves ramen in a crepe

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      Ramen shops have been cropping up all across Metro Vancouver, and Burnaby is no exception. For instance, Jinya opened up at Metrotown last year, and a new addition has joined the growing selection.

      Vancouver's Zakkushi Group, which operates the Zakkushi yakitori restaurants in Vancouver and Toronto, opened Ramen Raijin in Toronto in 2012. Now, they've opened up a spot in Metro Vancouver. A Burnaby location of Ramen Raijin had its soft opening on December 1 and a grand opening on January 5 at 5278 Kingsway near Metrotown. The 1,300-square-foot space seats up to 40 people.

      The menu offers regional ramen, including chicken-based Tokyo shoyu ramen ($11.50) and Hokkaido miso ramen ($13); pork-based spicy tonkotsu ramen ($12.50); soy sauce– and seafood–based gyokai tonkotsu shoyu ramen ($11.50); and shio tonkotsu ramen ($11.50).

      Ramen Raijin
      Ramen Raijin

      There's also tsukemen ($13.75) and a brothless vegetarian version with a side seaweed soup ($12.20).

      Add-ons and side dishes cover all the requisite bases, such as kaarage, takoyaki, and there's even their own version of poutine (with teriyaki mayo sauce and nori).

      Meanwhile, there's another spot where you can get Ramen Raijin within Vancouver—and in an unexpected form to boot.

      Yoshida Shoten
      Yoshida Shoten 

      Yoshida Shoten opened in Marpole at 8265 Oak Street (at West 67th Avenue) in December. As petite as the store might be (there are seat for about 14 customers), they know how to maximize use of the space by offering three vendors in one handy-dandy spot.

      While the konbini-style (convenience) store sells food items and snacks, it also houses J Crepe, which specializes in Japanese crepes, and Ramen Raijin Express (which operates from Thursday to Saturday).

      J Crepe's matcha crepe
      Yoshida Shoten 

      J Crepe makes their crepes from bamboo charcoal batter, with charcoal being a health trend that has influenced everything from skincare products to cold-pressed juice.

      Their crepes (ranging from $6.50 to $11) run the gamut from sweet to savory, with some intriguing selections.

      Sweet offerings include mango, strawberry, and banana (with additions such as whipped cream, caramel sauce, or chocolate sauce).

      There are also matcha crepes (made with matcha batter) with additions such as red bean, whipped cream, brown sugar syrup, mochi, and ice cream.

      Savory selections include chicken teriyaki mayo, bacon and egg, or ham and cheese.

      One of their signature offerings is crème brûlée, with passion-fruit jelly and whipped cream, and complete with a caramelized top.

      J Crepe's Ramen Raijin crepe
      Yoshida Shoten 

      The pièce-de-résistance is their novel Ramen Raijin crepe. Yup, it's ramen in a crepe. It consists of a bamboo charcoal crepe with noodles, corn, seaweed, naruto (fishcake), soup gelée, and chashu (pork).

      For those who would prefer to have the real thing, Ramen Raijin Express offers three types of their ramen: spicy gyokai tonkotsu, spicy tonkotsu, chicken shio. Prices range from $10 to $15.50.

      Ramen Raijin Express
      Yoshida Shoten 

      Yoshida Shoten offers a variety of food items, including three types of pasta salad, with chicken, mentai (cod roe), or parsley; soup as well as oden (Japanese hot pot); and gyoza.

      Their packaged food products range from frozen desserts to beverages and—the essential snacking staple—Pocky.

      Yoshida Shoten's pasta salads
      Yoshida Shoten 

      Needless to say, this is pretty much a one-stop shop for your Japanese snacking needs. And if you're overwhelmed by all the options and can't decide what to choose, something to remember is that you can combine the best of both worlds with the ramen crepe.

      Or, you could just choose the easiest option: eat it all.

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