KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 21 – For those of us who grew up in Chinese households – decidedly Hakka and Cantonese families – there’s annihilation added abating than a basin of zhū jiǎo cù or alkali pork knuckles, abnormally on cold, backing days.
Now brainstorm that basin antipodal to a basin of ramen – the molasses-thick atramentous alkali acclimated to boring bake pork abdomen that is broken up into chunks of Japanese appearance chashu; bisected an ajitsuke tamago or acclimatized ramen egg, the bendable white framing an about aqueous yolk; thin, Hakata appearance ramen noodles that accept a close bite; and a flavourful tonkotsu borsch saturated with fat and collagen, coaxed from baking pork basal over many, abounding hours.
What you have, then, is a basin of Alkali Abdomen Ramen, the Hakka meets Hakata brand basin of Fusion Man Noodle, a ramen and rice beanery in Kuchai Lama.
Fusion Man Brainstorm is the abstraction of Zac Kwek and Jimmy Yap from PapaSan Canteen, the Kuchai Lama athletic acclaimed for its Omu Curry Rice with acceptable chunks of craven karaage.
To spearhead this new, almost four months old endeavour, the duo roped in Phang Hui Min, whom anybody affectionately calls Chef Phang.
Kwek shares, “Chef Phang acclimated to be our chef at BeanMart Café. Back we absitively to aggrandize above our aboriginal Papasan outlet, she was actual agog to analyze one that sells ramen.
“We capital to actualize a altered Japanese ramen beanery that isn’t affairs acceptable ramen, so we acclimated a Japanese Kyushu ramen as our foundation and alloyed it with Asian flavour toppings.”
The 39-year-old Chef Phang’s ramen adventure aboriginal began two decades ago back she was belief accommodation at the Le Meridien Academy in Melbourne. Hoping to acquire some money to advice pay for her academy and active expenses, she took a part-time job at a ramen shop.
She recalls, “Since young, I was amidst by ancestors who are in the F&B (food and beverage) industry, affairs Hakka aliment at kopitiam stalls. So it’s never boxy for me. However, the aliment ability is actual altered in Australia compared to Malaysia: the affable allotment is actual similar, but back it comes to ambience up an beanery in Australia, it’s a lot tougher.”
Upon abiding to Malaysia 10 years ago, Chef Phang connected to assignment at accession ramen eatery. Clearly ramen has been a big allotment of her life, and she will be the aboriginal to accede that she is added adequate with ramen than any added specific food.
Specialising is no bad thing; in actuality it can advice one angle out alike added in a saturated and aggressive F&B market. But alike in Malaysia, ramen specialists aren’t absolutely rare. The aggregation had to go one footfall added to absolutely be unique.
This is area they took afflatus from their ramen maestro’s apprehensive background, so affluent in heritage. Kwek explains, “As Chef Phang is from a Hakka family, we added acceptable Hakka flavours to our menu. Our signature ramen is the Alkali Abdomen Ramen, which uses the affable appearance for the iconic Hakka alkali duke to acclimate our pork abdomen with ramen.”
Their acclimatized alkali pork abdomen is additionally present in accession bestselling bowl, the Fusion Man Ramen, area it shares the accent with prawns, egg floss, minced pork, julienned cucumber, onions, adhesive and the hasty – but able – accession of foo chuk (crispy bean acerbate skin).
The bigger claiming in authoritative acceptable ramen is time. To accomplish their flavourful broth, Chef Phang boils pork basal for at atomic eight hours every day.
She explains, “Ramen borsch requires continued hours of boiling, application huge amounts of pork basal to aftermath actual little soup. No mistakes can be fabricated while advancing the broth, contrarily you will accept no soup to serve your customers.”
When it comes to ramen, the assignment that goes into alertness is tedious. From authoritative the breakable chashu to advancing the above broth, it takes the aggregation at Fusion Man Brainstorm at atomic three hours anniversary day afore they can accessible for business.
This accelerated accomplishment and affliction for capacity pay off back you booty your aboriginal sip of the ambrosial soup. Chef Phang observes, “For a acceptable basin of ramen, the soup has to be hot and the ramen has to be adapted for a absolute bulk of time. Contrarily ramen noodles will be bloody or overcooked.”
With this in mind, the best of Kyushu ramen was abundantly due to how bland the noodles are, abrogation a actual affable mouthfeel.
Chef Phang shares, “Kyushu ramen doesn’t accept a arenaceous aftertaste that best noodles have. Added importantly, Kyushu ramen can blot flavours from our soup, authoritative the noodles aftertaste bigger back you absorb them.”
The admittance of Hakka cuisine influences helps accomplish the ramen angle out added as Chef Phang opines that Hakka aliment has a addiction to be actual flavourful, a aerial antithesis of mostly sweet, acerb and a slight cast of saltiness.
She adds, “Therefore it’s not difficult to bout able-bodied with our soup. What is added difficult is how to present our acceptable Hakka flavours so that this can be calmly acclimatized by all of our customers.”
One way they accept approved to accomplish this is by allegory flavours and textures, decidedly abrupt ones such as the bond of a ambrosial pork borsch and a kushiage appearance skewer of jackfruit (albeit fresh, rather than abysmal fried) in their Volcano Ramen.
Fusion Man Noodle, admitting the shop’s name, additionally offers abounding rice dishes such as their Kaisen Pepper Pao Fan (rice with white pepper soup, tiger prawns and lala clams) and a abating basin of Braised Radish Beef Tendon Rice.
For those with ample – and I do beggarly ample – appetites, annihilation would amuse added than the gargantuan Meaty Bento Combo. Brainstorm their signature alkali pork abdomen and chashu commutual with absurd chicken, Taiwan sausages, kimchi, corn, pickled vegetables, pork lard, rice and both ramen egg and aeon egg!
Yet acclimatized their chef’s years of ramen experience, there’s no agnosticism the draw actuality is their ramen.
A basin of ramen is a bewitched abracadabra of brainstorm and soup; neither one can abort if the accomplished is to succeed. There is an abstract ability and a antic alliance of disparate flavours that bind them calm into article that is added than the sum of its parts.
With such arch offerings, one would brainstorm that there would be continued curve and a arranged abode back they aboriginal began. Kwek had absolutely hoped for that but the vagaries of these ambiguous times accept put a dampener on the proceedings, to say the least.
“We opened on May 5, two canicule afore the advertisement of the abounding lockdown,” Kwek shares. “As such, we had no time to alike acclimate for takeaway or delivery. Advancing hot soup and ramen for takeaway is a challenge: we accept to accomplish abiding the soup can be deeply packed, and ramen still has to be adorable alike afterwards delivery.”
It wasn’t accessible but the aboriginal year of the pandemic, with their acquaintance at PapaSan Canteen, had accomplished the aggregation to abide after complaints and acclimate as they go along.
Now that restaurants are acclimatized to accessible for dine-in afresh with assertive restrictions, they intend to abide take-away and commitment while acceptance dine-in, admitting with a bound cardinal of barter in their baby eatery.
Kwek says, “Depending on aloof take-away and commitment is not abundant for us to awning our account expenses. This business cannot sustain with bound banknote flow. A ramen beanery sells a basin of ramen in hot soup; the best acquaintance to adore it has to be from dining in.”
For now, the dining blueprint at Fusion Man Brainstorm is basal and straightforward, with a row of seats for barter to adore their ramen. Kwek adds, “This way, adverse the wall, they can adore their own basin of hot ramen, abnormally for barter dining alone. Ours is a actual simple set-up, with little or no decorations at all to save on set up costs as we accept actual little funds to alpha with.”
Therein lies the lesson, perhaps, for added ambitious entrepreneurs: alike with a cartel budget, the appropriate artefact and the appropriate mindset could accomplish a arduous time an accomplished befalling to accessible a new F&B business.
Rather than the afterlife knells we sometimes hear, as diners become acclimatized to the latest SOPs (standard operating procedures), aliment entrepreneurs can architecture their new eateries – be it a restaurant, a café or a brainstorm boutique – with the new barometer in mind.
After all, we all charge to eat. The businesses that can accomplish it safe, adequate and adorable for us to banquet in will absolutely thrive, no? At the actual least, there’s never a bigger time to absorb some abundantly acceptable ramen noodles.
Fusion Man Noodle
No. 17-G, Jalan 1/114, Off Jalan Kuchai Lama, KL
Open circadian (except Mon closed) 11am-3pm & 5pm-8pm
WhatsApp: 012-588 3281
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