Now this one has been a long time coming.
For the past two and a half years, Muku has been my most-visited restaurant in Calgary. Either as a fuel-up on the way home to Edmonton from a ski or hiking trip, or for when I feel like some ramen that doesn’t taste of rotten fish.
A friend of mine introduced me to Muku (and probably the best ramen and topping combination on the menu) on a business trip a couple of years ago and I haven’t shut up about it since.
If you know me in person, we’ve probably been here together and you know exactly how I feel, but fuck that, let’s write a post anyways.
Upon first glance, Muku is nothing special. It’s nestled in a run-down corner of Kensington, sorta close to a Chicken on the Way. The parking lot is confusing, tiny, and old, and the building is nothing special either.
But then you walk in and something is a little bit different.
You probably won’t notice at first, but give it a few minutes.
Maybe when the staff come to bring you water or take your order.
Then suddenly it hits you.
Muku (a Japanese restaurant, if you’re slow on the uptake) is staffed by JAPANESE PEOPLE.
WHAT THE FUCK.
In Vancouver, all of the sushi places were inexplicably owned by Koreans, and in Alberta it’s generally a combination of other Asian races and weeaboos. Now I hate to bring race into this, but it needs to be mentioned. I’m not discriminating against other nationalities that own ramen shops, but if I wanted the cuisine of a particular country, I would most likely trust the restaurant owned by people of that nationality. They probably have more exposure to their own ethnic cuisine and they would know what constitutes a good dish.
Alright, enough rambling, onto the actual food.
My co-worker shared her favorite combination with me years ago and I still get the same thing to this day.
Here it is:
Tonkotsu Chashu Wonton Ramen, add extra pork belly, add se-abura.
It’s a pork bone based broth, with pork shoulder, belly, wontons, extra pork belly and pork fat.
Now four of the items above are either pork fat or mostly comprised of pork fat, so this isn’t for the faint of heart.
However, this IS for those who want to take a spiritual trip to umami nirvana.
The broth is intensely savoury and leaves your mouth watering after the first sip. The broth leaves the buttery oil on your palate long after you’ve swallowed, and you’re left with a lingering, lip-smacking, meaty after-taste.
Noodles are perfect, if a bit on the firmer side, and the toppings are generally top notch. My one complaint would be that the shoulder is slightly on the drier side as it’s a lean cut, but the extra fat and pork belly are more than enough to make up for it.
Portions are fairly gigantic, and service is friendly and very non-intrusive (possibly due to language barriers. Don’t hate, just saying it as it is), and to top it off, you can get these little bags of fruity milk/yogurt candies.
What else is there.
Oh, if I really want to gripe, the chairs/tables are kinda dingy looking and the washroom is the size of gnat, but the purpose of a ramen shop is not for you to ogle the furniture or take really luxurious shits.
If you couldn’t tell already, I really, really like this place.
The food is honest and delicious, with large portions and a very fair price. The staff are efficient and friendly, the service fast, and the quality has been consistent for the last three years.
Chances are, you’ve probably heard me raving about this place, but if not, go check them out, it’s worth it.