Tasty Ramens @ Kukai Ramen & Izakaya (For Nat’s Birthday!)

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Yes, this is another blog about food. As you may have heard, there is an abundant lack of authentic Asian food here here in Seattle.*

And while sushi is common (and pretty good), it’s not that easy to get a traditional Japanese ramen that is on par with the ones you would get in Japan.

Lo and Behold – Kukai! Esh decided to take me here for my birthday and man, we were excited.

This awesome “Izakaya” in Capitol Hill brought back many a memory of eating in Japan and (thankfully) the menu was pretty traditional.

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First Up – Takoyaki!!!

Otherwise known as Octopus Balls – little soft, savoury balls of batter with a sprig of octopus inside. Takoyaki is my fave Osaka street food and I will pretty much go to any length to get it.

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The dish here was a little too crispy on the outside and the octopus was a bit chewy (which, we noticed, was probably because they were deep frying them, rather than making them with chopsticks on a griddle, like they do in Japan – e.g. see this video) – but they were still pretty delish!

Esh also chose this tasty Japanese Pork Bun, which came with pork belly, shallots and cucumber! Yum.

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My other entree choice was Onigiri, which is simply a sushi rice triangle, wrapped in seaweed, with stuff inside. It’s nothing elaborate, but you can buy these everywhere in Japan, from street food shops to 7-11s. When we were there, I ate a lot of Onigiri for breakfast or as a snack. So I kind of wanted one to bring back the memories…

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And then came … the Ramens!

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Eshy’s (Shio Rich):

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Mine (Garlic Tonkotsu Shoyu):

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They were pretty damn good – and one of the best foods I’ve eaten in Seattle so far.

The hero of the dish (other than the broth, of course) was this amazing Japanese half-boiled egg… So good that we each ordered an extra one!

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And of course, we topped it all off with some Kirin and sake. Which actually tasted like real sake and was nice and smooth (not that burning shit you get back home).

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The only thing that was missing here was the ability to order and pay at a vending machine! Hahahaha. I really miss Japan (along with the best Tonkotsu ramen place ever – Ichiran!)

Anyway, we felt incredibly full by the end of it, and so we made our way home… and enjoyed some surprise bday cupcakes!!! From Cupcake Royale.

Below you can see (L to R) Blackberry Brown Butter, Tiramisu, Strawberry 66, Raspberry Pavlova (hello, Australia!), Blueberry Lavender Honeycomb and Red Velvet.

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Overall, I had a fantastic birthday in Seattle, mostly thanks to Esh. And most importantly, I got to spend it with my two favourite boys! 🙂

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Next up, I’m hoping to track down a decent laksa and hopefully a Japanese seafood pancake (though I have my supreme doubts about both).

The only thing left to say now is – Arigatou Gozaimasu!

* Surprisingly, we did manage to find some sticky rice with pork in a traditional banana leaf at Bite of Seattle last weekend – imagine my excitement! Mmmm… 

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