Japanese resto roundup: Marutama Ra-men and Kurumucho taco shop

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      Here are two new Japanese eateries that have opened their doors over the past little while.

      Much more Marutama

      Of the West End ramen shops that draw lineups, Marutama Ra-men is one of them.

      Located at 780 Bidwell Street, just off Robson Street, there are often diners loitering around the entrance, waiting to be seated.

      Marutama Ra-men

      The good news is that the company's second location has opened up at 270 Robson Street, near the Vancouver Public Library's central branch. It's in the former location of Jinya, which relocated to 541 Robson Street (at the Telus building). Hopefully that's not too confusing but at least you'll end up with a bowl of ramen if you end up going to either location.

      The Robson location is slightly larger than their Bidwell spot, and accommodates 38 people. 

      Marutama Ra-men

      It offers the same menu as the Bidwell location, with the addition of gyoza and Asahi draft beer.

      Mucho ado about tacos

      With various types of Asian fusion tacos like TaKo's Korean tacos and Masaladobo's Indian roti-tacones, it was about time for a Japanese version to get into the game.

      Kurumucho Japanese Taco Shop has opened at 985 Hornby Street. It takes over from its sister restaurant Shizen Ya, which has moved a few doors down to a larger space at 965 Hornby Street.

      Kurumucho Japanese Taco Shop

      The casual taco spot seats about 22 people in a rectangular, orange-coloured 571-square-foot space.

      It offers a range of Japanese-influenced tacos ($5.95 to $6.95), including vegetarian (yam tempura, tempeh tempura, age tofu, meat-free ground beef), seafood (seared wild sockeye salmon tataki, prawn tempura), and meat (pork brisket kakuni, chicken teri mayo).

      There are also burritos ($9.95 to $11.95), such as chicken breast karaage, deep-fried tempeh teriyaki, and deep-fried wild sockeye salmon. All are served with organic brown rice, organic quinoa, and tortilla chips.

      There are also salads (kale quinoa, organic tofu avocado, salmon tataki), soup, and a taco rice bowl (with meat-free ground beef, eight kinds of rice grains, and more).

      Kurumucho Japanese Taco Shop

      Like Shizen Ya, this place features organic ingredients, and there are vegetarian and gluten-free options (including a gluten-free rice tortilla for $1 more) available.

      You can follow Craig Takeuchi on Twitter at @cinecraig or on Facebook.