Chatswood is always a trek for us, so D, N, T and I headed to Manpuku with my birthday as the excuse.
T is keen for the Agetama (2p, $4.50). The description of ‘deep-fried eggs with sweet and sour soy sauce’ is accurate, with the eggs just a touch before being hard-boiled. While lightly battered and deep-fried, the resulting texture is not crispy but soft as it basks in the soy sauce. D and I are fans of the deliciously tangy and moreish umami flavour of the sauce that paired well with the eggs.
N picks the Manpuku Rice ($3.90), which is ‘pork belly, mushed egg, bean sprouts, shallots, sesame, mayonnaise and teriyaki sauce’. She was curious about ‘mushed egg’, which turns out to be just ‘mashed egg’. The flavour of the bowl is very heavy on the mayonnaise, with the flavour dominating each bite unnecessarily.
As for the ramen, D tries the Gyokai Black ($15.90), a ‘soy-based pork soup with a hint of fish and garlic flavour’ consisting of ‘pork belly, bean sprouts, shallots, kukurage sliced mushroom, sesame, seaweed sheet, nitamago eggs’. It comes with ‘premium dry noodle’, but D’s sensitivity to bitter flavours means he’s not a fan of the bitter taste from the garlic, which comes through much more prominently than as a ‘hint’.
I’m still on a miso-ramen expedition so this is the Miso ($15.30), a miso-based pork and chicken soup with ‘pork belly, baby pak choi, bamboo shoot, shallots, seaweed sheet, nitamago egg’. The noodles are medium straight and the soup is described as having ‘a delicious miso flavour you’re unlikely to encounter elsewhere in the Southern Hemisphere’.
The miso flavour here was much more balanced in its savoury flavour than the one at Yasaka Ramen, but still lacks the moreish quality that I enjoy from the one at Ramen Goku. That said, the noodles have a delicious bite and take on just enough of the soup to make them the perfect vehicle. I’ve not had noodles I enjoy more elsewhere.
We finish with Taiyaki ($3.00), a ‘fried pancake with red bean paste’.
Unlike ordinary taiyaki, these are deep-fried. Perhaps the oil they use isn’t hot enough, but these have a very oily mouthfeel with a doughy texture, although the sweetness of the red bean is enjoyable.
I’m still not a ramen convert, but Manpuku is definitely at the top of the game when it comes to ramen in Sydney.
Manpuku is located at 226 Victoria Ave, Chatswood NSW 2067.