Ramen Bankara


I have to admit. I am quite a ramen lover. A bowl of hot soup that is bursting with flavour and springy noodles, who wouldn’t like that? But a good bowl of ramen is hard to find and because I haven’t had a bowl of ramen from Japan, I have nothing really to compare to. But I know a good broth and a yummy bowl of noodles when I have one!

When Thanh (I Eat Therefore I Am) asked me if I wanted to stuff my face with ramen at Ramen Bankara and other deliciousness on a cold night, there was no way I would turn that down! Thankfully, the Mr took Lochlan into the gym with him that night, and I could head to the tasting event without a worry!

Ramen Bankara

Shop G047, 619 Doncaster Road

Doncaster Westfield Shopping Centre

Menu for the night

It’s been more than a year since the last blogger event I attended, so I was really quite excited. I also got to catch up with some friends which I haven’t met for quite some time! I also got a chance to meet some new ones, which is always a plus!

Agedashi toufu

We started off the evening with some entrees! The Agedashi tofu has always been a dish I love to have when dining at a Japanese restaurant. These deep fried tofu were crispy on the outside and silky smooth on the inside, sitting in a bowl of hot dashi broth and topped with bonito flakes! I love how the bonito flakes always look like they come alive when they are on a dish. Definitely mad some people squirm! hehe Ok back to the tofu, these were definitely a great start to the night!


We also had some gyoza (panfried dumplings) and tori karaage (crispy fried chicken)!

tori karaage

Oh boy were these fried chicken good! Really well seasoned, crispy on the outside and it was really juicy & tender too! Couldn’t stop at one but had to save tummy for the bowls of ramen to come!

Tonkotsu ramen

First up – my favourite for the night – Tonkotsu ramen! This rich and creamy pork bone broth that was slow cooked for 12 hours! This is the premium bowl which comes with the works  – kanuni (braised pork belly), black fungus, pork cha shu, ajitsuki tamago (seasoned boiled egg, which was served on a side for this bowl), bamboo shoots & seaweed! I seriously wanted another bowl of this broth, not to mention the springy Hakata style noodles!

Ramen Bankara

This was the signature Ramen Bankara – The pork broth is infused with the shoyu (soy sauce) and has a hint of sweetness. A great balance of salty and sweet.

Chuka soba

This was something new to me – Chuka soba. The broth is a unique blend of seafood and pork which made it really rich in flavour. There is also a spicy version of this dish for those who enjoy an extra kick! Also, aren’t those tamagos just gorgeous?


They were perfectly cooked, with a molten yolk centre and seasoned really well! We were lucky to have one whole egg to ourselves that night!


The Tsukemen definitely left a good impression on my tongue and belly that night! It was really different from the usual bowl of ramen I’ve had. Instead the springy noodles were served cold in this dish with a bowl of piping hot broth that is rich and peppery!Tsukemen noodles

So the idea is like having a bowl of cha soba! You dip the cold noodles into the hot broth and slurp away! This would be a perfect dish for the hotter months to come. Definitely heading back for these soon!

Lemon sorbet

After all the savouries I had for the night, and not to mention how full I was, we were served with a couple of desserts. First up was this tangy lemon sorbet that was seriously addictive! I found myself digging my spoon in for more and it kinda cleansed my palette a little!

Trio of ice-cream

Last but not the least, ice cream! A trio of ice-cream – green tea, black sesame and vanilla. The black sesame was a crowd pleaser and the green tea was a perfect balance of the bitterness of the matcha and the sweetness of the ice-cream. A perfect way to end the night!

Thank you to Thanh again and Ramen Bankara for having us and serving us all the delicious dishes for the night! It was an absolute ball and I haven’t laughed so much for a long time! So if you’re looking for a good bowl of ramen, do head to Ramen Bankara and definitely give that bowl of Tonkatsu a go! You won’t regret it!

I was invited to Ramen Bankara by Thanh of I Eat Therefore I Am. All thoughts and opinions are based on my experience at the time of the visit. Thank you so much for this wonderful experience and opportunity!

Ramen Bankara Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Seafood Mentaiko Pasta

Seafood Mentai Pasta

Happy Monday everyone! I hope you had a good start to the short week and no one had the Monday blues! (: Even if you did, hopefully this post would brighten up your day a little bit! hehe Recently, I chanced upon a small packet of flying fish roe (toboki) and just had to buy it! There was one dish I’ve been wanting to get, but couldn’t get hold of any fish roe to make it! So you can imagine when I saw it, I knew what I was going to make for dinner that day – seafood mentaiko pasta! Mmmmm (:

Flying fish roe

Mentaiko is just a cream-based fish roe sauce that is so delicious and not overly heavy. I know many a times, when you have cream-based pasta, it tends to be a little too thick and you end up not being able to finish the plate. But trust me, this is one creamy pasta which you would want to slurp every single drop and be tempted to lick the plate! hehe I first had this pasta many years back in Singapore at a Japanese cafe. It was the first time I had pasta at a Japanese cafe and I totally loved it! Just couldn’t have enough! Till this day, I could still remember the taste of it, and that to me means it was one super-awesome-yummilicious dish!

Seafood in mentaiko cream sauce

So I headed to my favourite Japanese blog, Just One Cookbook, that always had amazing recipes ( do head to her blog and look at her beautiful bento boxes for her children, so so detailed and I can just imagine how excited they are when they see it! ).  I changed it up a little bit but the sauce was delicious! In fact, the sauce wasn’t thick or heavy at all, which was great! hehe To add a little more richness to the dish I added a soft boiled egg so the runny yolk would flavour the sauce too. The mr and sister-in-law loved it! So I urge you to give this a try, especially if you like cream-based pastas! hehe

seafood mentaiko pasta

Seafood Mentaiko Pasta (adapted from Just One Cookbook, serves 6)

1kg seafood marinara

1 packet (about 50-100g) of tobiko (flying fish roe)

3 tbs japanese mayonnaise (kewpie)

3/4 cup of thickened cream

30g unsalted butter

2 small onions, finely chopped

4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

1 cup fish stock

salt & pepper, to taste

shredded nori (seaweed), to garnish

6 soft boiled eggs, to serve

250g pasta (I used linguini but you can use any you fancy)

Steps :

1) In a large bowl, mix the tobiko, mayonnaise and cream gently until well combined. Set aside.

Tobiko, cream and mayonnaise

2) Boil a pot of water and cook the pasta according to the instructions on the packet. Drain and run it under cold water to make sure they don’t stick together. Set is aside.

3) In a heavy based pan or pot, add the butter and allow it to melt completely before adding the chopped onions and garlic. Fry till fragrant, with caution not to burn it or it will taste bitter.

Frying the onion and garlic

4) Add the seafood marinara and mix it well to make sure it is coated with the buttery onion and garlic mixture. Add the fish stock and allow it simmer for 15 minutes or until the seafood is completely cooked through.

Adding in the seafood

5) Use a strainer to take the seafood out and place them in the creamy tobiko mixture, reserving the liquid in the pot. Give it a good stir and make sure the seafood is well coated with the creamy sauce. Bring the liquid in the pot to a boil and reduce it till about around 1/4 cup and add that to the seafood mixture. Then add the pasta and slowly stir to combine everything together. Season with salt and pepper, careful not to over salt it as the tobiko can be quite salty (depending on how much you put)!

6) To serve, place some pasta and seafood on a plate, and add some mentaiko sauce. Top the pasta with a soft boil egg and sprinkle with some shredded nori. Cut through the egg and allow the egg yolk to flavour and thicken the sauce. ENJOY!

PS : Just found out mentaiko is different from tobiko! But you can use either and it will still be delish I’m sure! Sorry about that! (:

Have a great short week ahead dearest readers and remember to always cook and bake with love! (:

Staycation : Little Japan

Happy Friday everyone! (: Sorry for the lack of post as I was away for the long weekend on a staycation with the Mr at Daylesford! I decided to give myself a break from doing anything and just concentrated on spending quality time with the hubs. I have to say, it was awesome! We were so excited as it was our first time going on a staycation and also exploring Daylesford, doing touristy things and trying the different cuisines they had to offer. I really couldn’t ask for more.

Because we had such a great time, I am going to use the next few posts to share with all of you what we did during the 3 days in the beautiful spa heaven, Daylesford. Hope you will enjoy and let the journey begin! (:

For those who don’t know, Dayeslford is just slightly more than an hour drive away from Melbourne. We were so blessed cause the day we drove up, the weather was just beautfiul – cloudless blue skies and the sun was shinning brightly! The long weekend couldn’t come at a better time.

The mr found and booked the most beautiful place for our stay : Shizuka Ryokan. It was like Japan hidden within Hepburn Springs! The moment we arrived, you could tell everything was going to be authentic! The architecture, the stone walkways and the best thing is, many of their staff are people from Japan doing holiday work! They were all really polite and warm, making us feel welcomed the moment we walked through the main door.

To get to our rooms that are behind glass doors for privacy, we had to walk through the lobby and dining area where breakfast would be served every morning. I absolutely adored the round hanging lights that covered the whole ceiling! If our lights weren’t fitted in when we bought it, I would have gotten similar ones. hehe

The rooms surrounds this beautiful zen garden that looked like it’s been worked o everyday just to make sure it stays perfect! Just looking at it makes me feel happy. Don’t really know why but I like it! hehe

Shizuka Ryokan is a spa retreat that customers go to relax, rejuvenate, indulge (in the spa treatments and food) and just be sucked into the tranquility of the environment. Because of that, the rooms are not equipped with television or any other form of distraction. It was great cause the mr and I were allowed to have heart to heart talks. Definitely something every couple should do!

I have to admit, when I first entered the room, I was a little shocked at the size of it. It is definitely smaller than your usual hotel room, but I really loved how cosy it feels! The whole room was covered with soft tatami mats and behind the delicate shoji screens was a small balcony that opens to a really pretty private garden. I couldn’t stop smiling and just kept snapping away on my phone! No doubt my favourite part of the room! (:

Our room came with a spa bath that we could use anytime before 10pm to not disrupt other guests’ rest. It overlooks the garden as well so while you enjoy the jacuzzi, you also get to enjoy the greens. The ultimate tranquility. We were also given lavender salts to use while having a bath. It definitely smelled amazing! Love how calm lavender makes you feel. The hotel also provides sandalwood bar soaps. Definitely super pampered this trip!

Once we settled in, we were served with some hot green tea and some matcha short bread. The short bread was delicious, I wish I had more! haha But that’s because I am a sucker for short bread. I think it’s the butter. Just love how it melts in your mouth, and these leave a delicate matcha flavour on my tongue after! YUM! Did you see a small white box at the corner with ribbons? Our package came with a box of famous truffles from the Chocolate Mill! WHEEEE! (: Will talk more about that in my next post! hehe

So back to the hotel. hehe We were booked in for a massage later that afternoon before dinner, so we had an hour to burn before our 60 minutes of bliss! hehe The mr started reading his book and I continued snapping photos. haha This is the shot I love of the mr #likeaboss! (:

Of course I couldn’t take any shots of when I’m getting my massage, but let me tell you. It was one of the best massages I’ve ever had. As I wrote on my form that I felt tightness on my shoulders and upper back, she really tried her best to help me feel less tension! Plus although we were booked in for just a normal relaxation massage, they used hot stones to help release the tension too! Amazing! Hot stone massages are my absolute favourite! I also learned an interesting fact, the area just abvoe your first ear piercing is connected to your shoulder and upper back. So when feeling sore, give it a soft squeeze and it would release that tension. Interesting aye? hehe  So I was super happy and felt totally relaxed after and definitely was ready for our 4 course banquet dinner (:

When we returned to our room, our room was transformed and shifted our tables to the side, to set up the traditional japanese futon beds! How comfy does it look? If not for the banquet, I would have just slept through the night hehe

So just in case you’re wondering, how come there is no food picutres, here they come! The package the mr got for us included a japanese feast, not to mention a bottle of champagne and red wine! haha We were given a choice to either have it in our room or in the dining area. But we chose to have it in the privacy of our sleeping quarters. hehe Course by course, the staff would politely knock on our doors, before serving us and explaining each course to us in detail.

Our first course was a selection of sushi and sashimi with a side of soba salad with sesame dressing. It was too pretty to eat if you ask me! And it felt like ages since we had sushi in this form, cause those you get from sushi sushi is a whole roll. These are much more delicate. It was actually my first time having inarizushi (sweet beancurd skin) and I really liked it! It wasn’t just stuffed with plain rice, but seasoned with seaweed and bonito flakes I think! Delish!

The second course is a medley of vegetable and prawn tempura. The batter was thin, light and really crispy. It was accompanied by a side of dipping sauce with grated ginger and daikon. As a kid, I used to only order tempura when I dined at Japanese restaurants. So when there was a course of tempura, I couldn’t be happier. In fact, I couldn’t stop chomming down everything. hehe

The third course was the hotpot course of beef sukiyaki, so I was expecting burners, raw food and cooking it on our own. haha But it was served all cooked and ready to be eaten! All that was needed to be done was to crack the egg in the bowl, beat it and dip the tender beef pieces into the egg before enjoying them. The beef pieces were so good, but I did think the broth was a tad bit too sweet for my liking. But it’s not just the one from here, I think that of all sukiyakis I’ve had. hehe

Our final course is no doubt something sweet to end the night on a high note : a trio dessert plate ! My favourite was the lemon lime cheesecake as it had a kick to it, the citrus flavour really stood out! The red azuki meringue had red azuki paste folded through the meringue so when you cut through it, it was actually pink on the inside! Really pretty. hehe The mr loved the chocolate and ginger ice cream! hehe I think he just loves anything ice cream to be honest, our freezer would be a judge of that. hehe

We were definitely super happy by the end of the first day. (: You could just tell from our smiles! hehe So if you’re deciding on where to go for a short trip, do consider staying here if you want to have a feel of staying in Japan! You won’t be disappointed!

PS : Just wanna thank the mr for planning this staycation. We both really needed it and it was really awesome being able to spend time with you with no distractions! 

Stay tuned for more eating and exploring adventures! Have a great weekend everyone! x

Remember to always cook and bake with love.

{Quick & Easy} Salmon, Shiitake and Edamame Soba Noodles

Part two of our jap themed dinner features a bowl of salmon, shiitake & edamame soba noodles! Remember my post on okonomiyaki? This goes really well with it! I don’t know about you, but I’ve always been a soba person, not so much udon. Maybe cause it makes me feel like I’m eating something healthier. hehe I do usually like the cold version, especially cause I get to dip it in the cold soba sauce and slurp it!

But I decided to try a hot version of it. And I was really glad with how it turned out! I could seriously have a bowl of it every night! hehe The addition of the edamame not only added freshness, but also added a vibrant colour to the dish!

And what’s more? I topped the soba noodles with supper yummy korean rice seasoning! If you haven’t had this before, I urge you to head to an asian supermarket to get one ASAP!! You could even top the okonomiyaki with it! So so good (: So here’s the recipe which I used for this delicious and healthy (in my opinion) soba noodles! And you can definitely get it cooked in less than 30 minutes! That’s a win-win in my books!

Salmon, Shiitake & Edamame Soba Noodles (adapted from Flying Fourchette)

300g skinless salmon fillet, cut into cubes

1 clove of garlic, finely chopped

6 fresh shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced

1/2 cup edamame, shelled

180g soba (buckwheat noodles)

2 tbs vegetable oil

 For sauce :

1 /3 cup water

1/3 cup light soy sauce

3 tsp korean hot pepper paste (gochujang)

1 tbs brown sugar

Steps :

1) For the sauce : Stir all the ingredients together until the sugar has completely dissolved. Set aside.

2) In a non-stick frying pan, add 1 tbs of vegetable oil and fry the cubes of salmon until all sides of the salmon is slightly brown. Set it aside. Add the rest of the vegetable oil, and fry the garlic till fragrant then add the shiitake. Fry for about 5 minutes, or until the shiitake is tender.

3) Add the salmon cubes back into the pan, and add half of the sauce and allow it to simmer for 10 minutes on low heat. Meanwhile, heat a pot of water and cook the soba noodles till just tender (about 7 minutes, depending on the instructions on the packet). Drain the noodles and run under cold water, to stop it from cooking further. Drain well and place in a large bowl.

4) Transfer the cooked salmon with the sauce into the large bowl and toss it lightly until the noodles are well coated. Add the edamame and give it another toss, careful not to mash the salmon. Put a few more teaspoons of sauce if desired.

5) Sprinkle with rice seasoning before serving. ENJOY!

Definitely something quick and satisfying after you’ve had a long day at work or school. So hopefully this would be something you’d like to give a try! (: Happy midweek!


I love Fridays! It’s not just a short day at work, but I also get to try something new for dinner which ushers in the weekend! So I decided that we shall have a Japanese-themed dinner! (: After searching Tastespotting for some inspiration, I decided on two dishes for the night : Okonomiyaki & salmon, shiitake and edamame  soba noodles!

So what is okonomiyaki? It is actually a savoury pancake that is mainly made up with cabbage and anything you wanna put in it! I’ve had it a couple of times, and really love it with the combination of mayonnaise and bbq sauce. Since it was Friday, we had ours with prawns! (:  I realised that I have been having heaps of Korean, and was really craving for some Japanese. I have to say though, I’m really lucky that the mr eats everything, so I am able to cook what I wanted. And he would happily eat it! hehe PHEW!

I think it turned out really well for a first-timer! (: But a pity I didn’t shred my cabbage thin enough so it was a little chunkier than I wished, and a little difficult to shape it into nice circles when pan-frying it. But besides that, it was really simple and yummy! And one thing I really enjoyed was alternating the sauces and using the toothpick to make the marbling effect on top of the pancake! hehe

Okonomiyaki (adapted from Las Vegas Food Adventures)

2 cups green cabbage, finely shredded

6 fresh shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

330g prawn, deveined and cut into half

1 cup plain flour

1 tbs corn flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

2/3 cup stock (I used fish stock, but you can always use chicken or dashi)

1 egg

salt, to season

Steps :

1) Combine the flour, corn flour and baking powder and mix it well. Mix the fish stock and egg together, and combine with the flour mixture. Mix until you get a thick pancake batter.

2) Add the cabbage, shiitake mushrooms, prawns and garlic to the batter. Season with salt. Heat a non-stick frying pan on medium fire, and add some vegetable oil. Add half of the pancake mix and flatten it to the depth of the prawns with a spatula.

3) Cook the pancake for about 10-15 minutes, flipping several times, until both sides are golden brown.

4) Serve it hot, drizzle the top with japanese mayonnaise and homemade bbq suace (recipe below).


Bbq Sauce

1/2 cup ketchup

1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce

1/4 cup Soju/ Sake

1/2 tsp brown sugar

1) Mix everything together and whisk until the sugar is completely dissolved. Place in a squeeze bottle, so you could easily drizzle on the pancake.



PS : Stay tuned for the recipe of the salmon soba noodles ! 

Unagi Fried Rice

it’s now a new favourite in the house.
ever since I got hooked onto Unagi
and fell in love with the unagi fried rice at En Dining when I went back recently.
Baby and I have been trying to cook it
and hoping it will be close to what we had.
we came close.
but still not as good. haha (:
well practice makes perfect! so practice we shall!

but for now..
this is how it turned out!

so I know it may look like nothing fantastic.
but trust me. You will love it. haha
for real! (:
it’s awesome and very addictive.
thank God today is carbs day haha

here is the recipe for the rice!

Ingredients :

1 1/2 cups of cooked rice (allow it to cool for about 2 hrs)
1 yellow onion, chopped
4 pieces of garlic, chopped finely
1 egg
10g butter
2 tbs olive oil
1 tbs Mirin
1 tbs fish sauce
1 tbs soy sauce
2 tbs dark sauce
1 packet of Unagi (baked according to instructions behind the packet)

Steps :

1. Heat the oil and butter in the pan and fry the onion and garlic till the garlic just turns light brown.

2. Pour in the rice and fry till they are coated with the oil and add the 4 different sauces.
Please note that you can vary the amount of sauces to your liking. (:

3. Cut up the unagi after taking it out of the oven, and gently put it into the pan.
Fold the rice and unagi together, careful not to mash the fish up.

4. Crack and egg and fry till it coats the rice.

5. Unagi fried rice. DONE! (:

Simple pleasures in life.