The first time Kevin and I learned that there would be a new ramen joint opening up near us, we were ecstatic. Aside from the fact that we love ramen, the last time we had it was at our favorite place in Vancouver B.C. and uh…yeah we can’t just grab that every time we want it. Kukai Ramen has been receiving quite a bit of buzz lately because of its national chain status. When we arrived, the place was packed, but we were able to be seated immediately since there was just the two of us. We ordered the Chicken Karaaje and Potstickers for appetizers and two Shoyu Ramens.
The Chicken Karaaje (pictured above) was excellent. It reminded me of the kind of chicken my friend’s mom used to make in high school that everyone would love. It was so popular, it was just widely known among my school’s student body – as you can imagine, it was a little bit strange. And the ramen was a lot like the ramen I have always loved in Vancouver. The only downside? A whole lot of salt and no corn. I can’t really knock them for salt though because that’s kind of like the standard for ramen. However, since the restaurant had sold out of many of their items the night before they were missing the usual egg that comes in the ramen so we were able to substitute one of the other additions for the egg.
Kukai has a lot of potential. Are the chances of me returning back to the restaurant high? Yes, they are. But with every review, I think I owe it to you all to be entirely honest with my experience. While the restaurant is only a week or two old, I know that there are things that could be improved on. The kitchen is chaotic and I think the restaurant could benefit more having their staff on the floor as well as the kitchen instead of 15 bodies in the kitchen all at once. We never received our potstickers during our meal so at the end of it, we just had to tell them to take it off our order so that we would not be charged for it. Based on the chatter around us, I could tell that everyone was thinking the same thing. They, too, had their orders forgotten or delivered incorrectly. Working in a restaurant is not an easy job, that’s why I want to give Kukai the opportunity to make the necessary changes and return even stronger than before which I know they can. I would definitely recommend this restaurant for a great bowl of ramen and an alternative to pho, but be ready to cut them some slack a bit. They are aware that they are still working out the kinks, but that just takes time.