The nice thing about dining at North Jakarta’s Baywalk Mall is that you get the priceless seaside view for free. In this case, I was watching the sunset while having this delicious supper.
Yes, this is the ramen joint that was previously located on the basement floor of UOB Plaza in Thamrin, before it was closed due to the disastrous flooding back in January last year. But here it is back up again just recently, this time perched closer to where I live so I won’t have to suffer from the traffic :p
Ramen lovers were flocking to Baywalk’s Yamagoya on June the 24th to taste the genuine Kyushu-style ramen that they serve, but most of us didn’t know about the franchise’s humble beginnings.
It all began when Mr. Masatoshi Ogata built a modest joint up from scratch against the backdrop of the prefecture’s beautiful mountains back in 1970. Pretty soon, people were talking about it and how good it was, then dubbed it the “Yamagoya” ramen, which means “mountain lodge” in Japanese. Why? Because it kind of looked like a mountain lodge in the middle of nowhere back then. But from then onwards, his son, Mr. Masanori Ogata (now founder of YS Food Co. Ltd), has been spreading the love beyond home, and now Yamagoya Ramen has expanded to over 150 stores worldwide.
Yamagoya first arrived in Indonesia at Surabaya’s Tunjungan Plaza back in 2012. It was well-received and quickly demanded by the epicures here in the nation’s capital. I guess the popularity of its tonkotsu broth has got the pork lovers around here mesmerizing for more.
If you’re not exactly a fan of the swine, you can always request to substitute for chicken. I found this convenient because practically 90% of the 15 items on Yamagoya’s ramen menu is smothered with pork, and you know I don’t eat my baby. So I had a bowl of Black Garlic Oil Ramen (IDR 43,000), with extra eggs on the side (IDR 9,000), and let me tell you: It was goooood. It was drenched in the delicious mayu, which makes everything look black. I still had the signature tonkotsu broth as my base, although I’ve requested to change the original pork proteins with chicken. Everything was super rich, super oily, super garlicky and just plain awesome. I really love that the herby and slightly bitter quality of garlic go so well with the tangy fragrance from the mix of the tonkotsu base, some hints of seaweed, a little bit of soy, sesame, miso, and the fresh green onions. There’s plenty to smell just from taking a whiff of this bowl.
My company, on the other hand, pigged out on the overlooked Wantan Chasu Ramen. It was already stinking with plenty of one unbearable porky stench (for me), but he added extra sprinkles of hot pepper to bring more of it out of this bowl. The broth wasn’t as oily and garlicky as mine, obviously, but it has just as rich a fragrant and flavor as my garlic ramen. There’s no extra oil to overwhelm the original taste of these limber little noodles, which was lithe, quite stretchy, and delicious in and by itself. But pork-drenched as they are, I’m sure you’ll be gulping the whole thing down within seconds if you’re one big fan of pork.
Finally, I want to note here that the signature on the menu is the classic Yamagoya Ramen (IDR 38,000). It’s a tasty, more well-balanced, more full-bodied option if you’re a normal human being and is neither a garlic obsessive nor a pork digger. The dish is based with tonkotsu broth just as well, and has eggs, bamboo shoots, fresh sea kelp, dried nori sheets, beni shoga, and chasu to complement the noodles – basically everything sugoi in one bowl.
So if you haven’t got a taste of Yamagoya Ramen before and you happen to live around the ‘hood, then you must try it out today. There are far too many inauthentic ramen joints sprouting around the city these days, so let me assure you right now: This one is the real deal.
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2nd Floor, Unit 21
Jl. Pluit Karang Ayu B1 Utara
Jakarta Utara 14450
(021) 2983 9064
Visit Facebook page at Yamagoya Ramen
M – S 10:00am – 10:00pm
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