Although some shops found they weren't able to keep up with the stiff competition in the West End's ramen district, that hasn't stopped newcomers from planning to break into the market.
Recent departures have included Yuzu Shokutei and the Ramenman. The latter closed its West End location at 841 Bidwell Street on February 11. But it has since expanded the operating hours of its Yaletown location (572 Davie Street) to seven days a week.
However, in the Ramenman's former premises at 841 Bidwell Street (off Robson Street), a new ramen venture is preparing to open its doors.
Ramen Taka, which has four locations in Hokkaido and one in Tokyo's Shinjuku district, will open its first location outside of Japan here at the 25-seat venue in April.
Founder Hideki Sasaki hails from the town of Takasu, Hokkaido, located near the city of Asahikawa. The recipes draw upon Asahikawa-style ramen for both broth (which uses pork, seafood, and vegetables) and noodles.
Ramen Taka marketing representative Heidi Hamano told the Georgia Straight that they will be making their own noodles, using local flour that has yielded the same results as in Japan, and she pointed out that their pork-based broth is clear, rather than cloudy.
She said that the Vancouver menu will offer shoyu, shio, miso, and kara miso (spicy) versions. When their master chef visits here, she added, he may introduce some seasonal specials. Some variations at their locations in Japan include dainamaiton (dynamite pork), which incorporates gochujang, a Korean sauce with over 10 spices, as well as kurohune (black ship), or seafood ramen with yuzu.