With an increasing number of ramen places opening up comes more competition. Chatswood used to be a dead spot for ramen but there’s now several options to choose from, including a newly opened Ippudo in The District, and Manpuku.
I’ve heard good things about Manpuku in Kensington, so I was excited to see that it had opened up closer to home for me and I could finally taste for myself how it stacks up to other ramen places in Sydney. The location is a bit of a walk away from the main shopping precinct, but this hasn’t deterred people from coming. I’ve been a few times now and it’s very popular especially during weekend lunchtimes – so be prepared for a short wait.
Apart from ramen, there’s also some tasty side dishes like takoyaki ($5.50), karaage ($5.50) or mini rice bowls. We start with the Manpuku gyoza – a pork pan-fried dumpling topped with Spanish and spring onions. On my most recent visit, this didn’t seem like it was on the menu anymore, but I can attest the plain pork gyoza is just as good with a nice crispy base and a tangy dipping sauce.
There’s a few different types of soup bases to choose from, including chicken soup, pork bone tonkotsu soup, and miso. For most of the soup bases, you can also chose between salt (shio) or soy (shoyu).
The tonkotsu soup is creamy and rich but not too thick. The tonkotsu shoyu is a bit salty for my liking, but the shio version which I’ve had on subsequent visits, has a pleasant balance of saltiness and umami. Both come with two slices of cha shu, bean sprouts, cabbage, black fungus and a sheet of nori.
The chicken soup base is a light, clear soup which is perfect for those who don’t feel like anything too rich. This ramen also comes with cha shu, bean sprouts, bamboo shoots and a sheet of nori. We always add an egg as well ($2) because who doesn’t like a soft boiled seasoned egg?
These bowls of ramen are served with the thin and straight wheat noodles. Every time I’ve visited, the noodles have been cooked perfectly, never being too soft and retaining a nice bite.
The miso soup base is a nice blend of both pork and chicken soups, with added miso for extra depth of flavour. The miso ramen comes with cha shu, bean sprouts, nori sheet and half an egg. This is probably one of the better miso ramens I’ve tasted, with a great soup base that doesn’t taste watered down or flat.
I’m not going to even try and pronounce or write out the name of ‘Number 7’, because it is way too long! This is Manpuku’s specialty ramen, with a unique blend of pork and chicken soup with soy. It also comes with cha shu, bean sprous, bamboo shoots, and half an egg, but one of the main novelty factors for me was that the nori sheet comes printed with the Manpuku name on it! I have to say that while this is Manpuku’s signature ramen, it wasn’t my favourite and after trying most of their menu, I prefer their shio based ramens over the shoyu ones.
The miso and Number 7 ramens are served with the thick and wavy noodles, which seem to pick up more of the soup.
Manpuku also has special ramens from time to time, and one of the ones that we tried was the Shinku hado buta, which has a tonkotsu shio base and is topped with lots of shredded pork and bean sprouts. Now that summer is approaching, they also have some cold ramen dishes available, so it’s nice to see that the regular menu gets mixed up a bit according to the seasons!
It’s great that there are so many options for ramen now in Chatswood, so much so that I’m spoilt for choice when it comes to deciding where to go. Out of all the places around Sydney’s north shore, I think Manpuku is my favourite so far, and it seems that I’m not the only one with that opinion given the number of people waiting outside for a table on any given weekend.
226 Victoria Avenue
Chatswood NSW 2067
Open Tuesday to Sunday, 11.30am-2.30pm and 5pm-9pm