October 30, 2014

Bari Uma Ramen, Jaya Shopping Centre: Luscious Tonkotsu Shoyu Ramen with Thick Cut Flamed Chashu

A Ramen Feast with Sublime Grilled Pork!

It has always been my beacon of comfort, the Japanese ramen that is… A bowl of piping hot thick broth bursting with meaty essence, bouncy al dente ramen noodles, porcine slices of deliciousness, a soft molten Ajitama and maybe some spring onions. It’s thoroughly satiating and many have devoted to a lifetime of perfecting their own bowl of ramen.  I am told that in Japan, no bowl of Ramen taste alike. Every ramen vendor has their specialty recipe that is closely guarded and whipped up to a tee each day to produce luscious bowls of ramen.

Being the ardent fan or ramen, I am always scouting around for ramen joints. This round, I headed over to Bari-Uma Ramen at Jaya Shopping Centre in Section 14 Petaling Jaya. Now I have also heard about Bari-Uma Ramen way back when it opened early this year but never had a chance to visit since I hardly wonder to that area.

Bari-Uma Ramen is famous for their signature Tonkotsu Shoyu Ramen jazzed up with thick cuts of grilled pork chashu. If I am not mistaken, Bari-Uma is the first to serve flamed chashu with ramen here in Malaysia. So I was pretty excited about savoring this porcine sidekick to the ramen!

Located at the newly renovated Jaya Shopping Centre, Bari-Uma Ramen is set on level 3 together with other restaurants. The restaurant’s interior is a modern take on Japanese classic where lots of wood is used to create the ambience in the whole restaurant. Pale cream walls provide the backdrop for bold Japanese art works while red covered chairs added bright spots of colors. At one side is a huge bar counter with a view of the open kitchen for some kitchen actions.

At Bari-Uma, it’s about passion. Ramen is serious business and the people at Bari-Uma sure take each bowl of ramen to heart. The menu is tight and decent, focusing on their famous signature Tonkotsu Shoyu broth served with various toppings and two other broths of Shoyu and spicy Kara-Uma. There are additional condiments that one can order to add-on. I am a firm believer that one do not need quantity if something is good, just make sure to do something good well with quality and it is good enough for most foodies.

Besides ramen, Bari-Uma also serves Gyoza, Salad, Yakitori and Ishiyaki Chaofan. Our meal started off with Gyoza that comes in three flavours and is made with a filling of chicken. These pan fried chicken dumplings are perfected in every serving as they have a special Gyoza machine that makes these delectable dumplings consistently each time. Choose from Original, Negi-Mayo Gyoza or Teri-Yaki Gyoza. One can order these dumplings in a serving of 5 pieces or 10 pieces.

Our original Gyoza (RM11 for 5 pcs / RM20 for 10 pcs) is indeed pretty perfect. They are nicely pan seared to a nice crisp on one side and beautifully steamed on the other side. The fillings have a moist consistency and it well seasoned. Dip this Gyoza into a little soy sauce with some dashes of chili for extra flavours.

Ishiyaki Chaofan Chashu (RM14.90) also arrived before the ramen. Served in hot stone bowl, the aroma was heavenly. The light sizzling sound is utterly delightful as I can imagine the rice gently crisping up on the heated hot stone bowl. Served with loads of spring onions, the bowl is a beautiful sight of colors.

As we gently mix up all the rice and its condiments while removing those crisp bits, the aroma smells even better. The rice is moist and fluffy, well studded with bits of vegetables and chashu. The spring onions really added lots of tasty notes. I love the rice. Pure comfort food and definitely easy to enjoy!

As mentioned, Bari-Uma also serves up various varieties of grilled pork and chicken skewers. We had the Yakitori-Combo (RM13.90) that has all five types of meat skewers on one serving. One gets Sasami (Chicken Breast), Tori-Niku (Chicken Thigh), Negima (Chicken Thigh and Leeks), Butabara (Pork Belly) and Butanegima (Pork Thigh and Leeks). One can also order these separately and it comes in a pair in each order.

All the meat is grilled and glazed with Tare sauce, a yummy smoky and sweet sauce. The skewers of meat are juicy and tender. I was particularly fond of the Butabara and Butanegima. It was good so we had another round of these skewers.

The main reason we were here for arrived. First up was Noritama-Uma (RM29.00). One of the most popular combinations at the restaurant, a bowl comes with ramen noodles in the famous pork Tonkotsu Shoyu broth with thick-cut flamed Chashu, Ajitama, Menma and Seaweed.

The broth is cloudy and darker than other Tonkotsu I have tried. This is because Shoyu is added to the broth I suspect. According to the owner (we had the pleasure meeting him at this dinner), the Tonkotsu Shoyu broth is brought in directly from Bari-Uma headquarter in Japan. The recipe is closely guarded and to ensure authentic quality, the base of the broth is imported in from Japan and cooked up here on daily basis. So each bowl of ramen here at Bari-Uma Malaysia is as authentic as it is in Japan!

The flavours do emit the characteristic of a gorgeous Tonkotsu broth but with a richer depth with the addition of the soy sauce. It’s pretty much creamy and well pumped up with the essence of meaty goodness. The broth is also nicely balanced and is not heavy on the salt so one can enjoy it better. There is a light sticky essence of the broth which can only mean that the essence of the meat and bones has really emulsified into the broth. The standard bamboo shoots, spring onion and seaweed also contributed another level of flavours to the ramen. The molten Ajitama was cooked to my liking with just perfect molten egg yolk center.

Despite all the passing marks of the broth and condiments, I must say that the star was truly the thick-cut flamed grilled chashu! Now at Bari-Uma, even the pork is imported from Germany. After going through different pork local and international, it was settled that the quality of the pork from Germany is best suited to make the signature Bari-Uma Thick-Cut Flamed Chashu. The pork is braised for few hours till soften before it is braised again in their special marinade till the flavours are well infused into the pork. The pork is then left to cool in the marinade till an order is placed. Then it is sliced thickly and chargrilled to intensify the flavours of the pork belly, turning it into a damn good piece of Chashu!

If you love Chasu, order a side of this gorgeous Aburi-Chashu (RM18.80) which comes with four generous slices per order. There is also Aburi-Salmon (RM17.80) too for salmon lovers.

They make their own ramen noodles too. The ramen here is medium thick and has a lovely firm to the tooth texture which I really like a lot. Bari-Uma also practices Kae-dama which is where one can order these extra noodles for RM4 to add-on to your bowl of ramen. The ramen noodles comes in three textures of firm, original and soft so make sure to let the wait staff know what is your preference.

Now if you are a purist, then order the Bari-Uma (RM26.00) that has the same Tonkotsu Shoyu broth, ramen, Menma and spring onions. It is a favorite among the Japanese as they love simplicity in their bowl of ramen.

I love some heat and so I chose the Kara-Uma (RM26.00), a spicy version of the signature broth. Though it looks pretty spicy, I assured you that the heat level is very decent and fairly mild for me. It does give the ramen a great umami note with the chili heat. The Kara-Uma comes with a slice of Chashu, bamboo shoots and spring onions. Needless to say, I added an order of the Aburi-Chashu to this bowl and slurp happily.

My partner also went straight for a meatier touch and took on the Chashu-Uma (RM32.00). This bowl has the signature broth, four pieces of Chashu, bamboo shoots and spring onions. He was pretty happy with the bowl and polished it off with ease.

Dessert is basic with two choices of Macha and Kurogoma Ice Cream (RM7.90 each). I really didn’t mind as ice cream is perfect for ending a ramen experience. The cold and creamy factor is good for removing the heavier notes of the ramen. Both ice creams have a good wow factor. I really enjoyed the beautiful smooth intense Matcha green tea while the Kurogoma is simply awesome as it is silky smooth, nutty and aromatic with bits of whole black and white sesame seeds in it.

In total, Bari-Uma has eight varieties of ramen in their menu. Of course, one is welcome to make it his or her own and add on more toppings. The choices here are not as large as the other ramen houses but it’s sufficient to satisfy most ramen lovers.  With house made ramen noodles, Tonkotsu Shoyu broth from Japan, Chashu pork from Germany and beautiful molten Ajitama, it just can’t get any more serious than this. The dedication of Bari-Uma’s ramen is truly shown in the flavours and the quality of the ramen with its ingredients.

Looks like I have found another strong ramen contender in KL and I am pretty sure I will be heading back here for the Thick-Cut Flamed Chashu!

Jaya Shopping Centre
L3-11, Level 3,
Jalan Semangat,
46100 Petaling Jaya,

Website: www.bariuma.my

Store Hours:
Monday-Sunday 10am-10pm