There is always a crowd and a queue at Ichiban Boshi, a ramen and udon cafe on the same level as the Kinokinuya Bookshop at Galleries Victoria in Sydney's CBD. This Japanese noodle chain also operates on the Gold Coast in Queensland and at Bondi Junction in Sydney's eastern suburbs. On a recent drop by in Galleries Victoria, I had the Tantan cold noodles served with a rather spicy and salty stock soup garnished by a half hard boiled egg, garlic, minced pork and two cherry tomatoes. So packed the place was that we had to share a round table with a Japanese executive, a Hong Kong career lady, a student and a gay couple. Perhaps the proof of the pudding, so to say, in selecting the best of what a cafe provides is to note what the other lunchers are having. I noticed that popular orders were the ramen soup, either spicy or the Tokyo version, with either beef or pork cutlets.
An easy going and quick option for a snack or a no-fuss meal, either before going to enjoy a casual evening of drinks with mates at Darling Harbour, is to try one of the the varied food choices at the uppermost level of Market City in Chinatown. There are many choices for hotpots of seafood or vegetarian, hot plates of beef, chicken, lamb or chicken and stir fries or soups with different types of noodles. I loved my choice of curry laksa with seafood and wriggly egg noodles (picture above), topped by fried bean curd slices. For other options, there are Vietnamese, Japanese, Korean and Indian fare.
The above serving of Hainan chicken rice came with out the traditional practice of serving the skin. The accompanying chili and vinegar infused sauce is essential to this dish, otherwise it would have been too plain to contemplate. What was missing? The ginger and garlic based concoction, vital to enhancing the thin slices of white meat and to blend with the aromatic chicken stock flavoured rice. The small bowl of soup was well made. Image above taken at the Singapore food outlet inside Oxford Square, Darlinghurst.