Well, that is the impression I get when I look at all the sparkling new eateries opening their doors all over town. In the past, people would close shop and move to Kota Kinabalu in Sabah or Kuching or elsewhere, anywhere where they would be able to make a whole lot of money. These days, it seems that they are all moving here…and I wonder why.
According to their website, this place originated in Taipei, Taiwan, founded by six Taiwanese and Malaysian partners engaged in the catering industry. To date, they have 3 outlets in Kuching and 1 here in Sibu. Towards the end of last month, they started serving what they called the Kiyokawa Ramen at their restaurant.
I gathered from their Facebook page that this tonkotsu ramen was the specialty of a certain Chef Lai who would take more than 30 hours just to cook the soup which, of course, would be very rich. This Chef Lai from Taiwan, it seems, is a Chief Ramen Master KYOKAWA. He has had many years of experience in ramen research. Before his debut, he studied at a three-year ramen champion store in Kyushu, Hakata City, Fukuoka Prefecture, Japan. His credentials sure looked mighty impressive so of course, we wasted no time at all in dropping by the place to give it a try.
I asked for the Signature Tonkotsu Ramen (RM27.80)…
…with two thin slices of the charsu pork belly…
If I remember correctly, if you want four pieces, you will have to pay some RM32.00 a bowl. Gosh!!! That works out to around RM2.00 a slice. Ouch!!!
My! My! The spoon provided certainly was HUGE, I must say!! LOL!!!
I tried the soup – I am more into clear, refreshing soups, not so into such thick, rich ones and this one turned out to be somewhat bland, quite tasteless except that it was rather strong on the sesame oil added and I am not a fan of the oil…in anything!
I mixed everything together thoroughly including the seaweed and also the chopped raw shallots! Gee! I never saw the latter in any dish before except when we open a can of sardines and serve without any cooking. There was a bit of taste after that, very very mild and not anything I would get excited about. I suppose that is what it is supposed to be…like the time when I had a bowl at this Miri branch of a very famous Japanese restaurant in Brunei – that did not get me jumping with delight either.
My girl had the roasted garlic tonkotsu ramen (RM28.80)…
…which turned out to be more or less the same except that hers had the fragrance of the roasted garlic. I had the instant noodles version once and I was not really that impressed either – the Tokyo Shoyu one that I had around that time was nicer but we never bought anymore after that. I guess that speaks volumes as to how much we actually loved the noodles…but yes, to give credit where credit is due, we would like to extend our compliments to the chef for a job well done where the onsen eggs were concerned.
The mum did not want any ramen and ordered their braised pork belly dry noodles (RM14.80)…
The pork belly slices…
…sure looked very good but no, she did not think they were anything to get excited about and she said she certainly would think twice about spending that kind of money on that bowl of noodles when she could derive a lot more pleasure from our own “homegrown” kampua or Kuching kolo mee. I certainly would say the same about the ramen that we had.
The prices, I must say, were shocking and when I mentioned that on Facebook, a West Malaysian friend said that was cheap compared to what they would have to pay over there. Goodness gracious me! Kus semangat!!! I can go for the very much nicer seafood aglio olio spaghetti here or the absolutely awesome fish & chips here or the kacangma chicken with rice here, not once but twice, and a whole lot of nicer things here, there and everywhere with that kind of money and derive a whole lot of pleasure and enjoyment.
To be fair, however, it sure looked like they had a whole lot of followers of their own. No, there were just a sprinkling of customers around the whole time we were there but we saw an endless stream of food delivery people going in and out to collect the orders and deliver them promptly. Obviously, there ARE a lot of people who enjoy what they serve here. Perhaps we should drop by again sometime to check out what else they have on their menu…but no, I don’t think we’d have another go at the ramen, thank you very much.
RICE KING SIBU (2.300910, 111.843590) is located at No.34, Ground Floor, Lorong Dr. Wong Soon Kai 4D.