Bangkok is probably one of the best cities in the world for Japanese food – outside of Japan that is. A large Japanese expat community, (relatively) close georgraphic proximity and plenty of available ingredients are probably the main reasons for this.
Bankara ramen is a great place to visit if you like, well, ramen. There’s no sushi here, just big bowls of filling ramen noodle soups that will challenge the capacity of your stomach walls.
The thing that you absolutely must try when you visit this restaurant is the slow-braised fatty pork-belly. This is a must-do must-do when visiting Bankara Bangkok! (And this comes out of the mouth of someone who stayed 3 months in New York without visiting the Empire State building, so believe me, it really is a MUST DO!).
It’s so soft that it literally melts in your mouth (and almost falls apart when you try to lift it up with your chopsticks into your mouth). And it’s such a rich and satisfying flavor.
But first things first – we started out with some fried chicken. Now fried chicken is something you get on every second street corner in Bangkok, but this is done differently – it’s crispy-crunchy-dry on the outside, yet soft, tender and juicy on the inside. Not something that we’d call amazing, but if you order it you won’t be disappointed for sure and it makes a good quick finger-food for all to share before the main dishes come.
A much nicer, but not as easily shared appetizer is the Buta kakuni don (buta kakuni is the slowly braised pork belly we’ve been raving about, and don means that it’s served on Japanese rice).
Now let’s take this opportunity do quickly learn a bit more about buta kakuni.
Thick chunks of pork belly are slowly simmered in dashi, soy sauce, mirin, sugar and sake. The two important ingredients are: patience and low heat. That’s why the meat is so soft – the collagen in the meat turns into gelatin, which is why the meat melts in your mouth.
And now let’s talk about the ramen soups…
Now this is the winner of the pack, at least when it comes to the contest of our taste buds. The thick, white, cloudy broth is just so satisfying on every level. The broth is made by vigorously boiling pork bones, fat and collagen for many hours. A very hearty soup that goes well with the fresh vegetables and pickled red ginger (beni shoga).
These strips of pickled ginger are colored red with perilla. Perilla is an herb – if you know the green edible and fragrant leaves that sometimes come with sushi or sashime (shiso) – this is the same plant, but the red-leafed kind. They’re pickled with a sour plum, and they actually taste more like a sour plum than like ginger, which comes in handy when considering the voluptous taste of the broth.
Our second favorite choice of ramen soup would be the kakuni bankara ramen:
The big, oval white thing you can see floating in the soup is a “hot spring egg” (onsen tamago), which is an egg that’s cooked at around 71°C (160°F). This yields an egg where the egg white is almost like a custard, but the egg yolk is firm, but still shiny and creamy. It’s not the same as a soft-boiled egg! Just try it 🙂
Comes with a nori leaf, which has a very nice flavor.
Now the one thing that we really thing improved the kakuni bankara was: freshly pressed garlic!
Fortunately every table has a net filled with fresh garlic cloves and a set of garlic presses, and press you should these white little …
Last and least in this case: the buta miso ramen. The miso is quite intense and very, very salty, to the point of being almost a bit too overwhelming.
But never visit a Japanese restaurant without trying the desserts. In this case we chose a green tea ice cream with red bean paste (and two rather unfitting marshmallows with chocolate sauce). The green tea ice-cream is fine, but not nearly as good as the incredibly expensive, but also amazingly good Häagen-Dazs green tea ice-cream you get in many places in Bangkok.
A better choice of dessert was the annin toufu:
This is a Japanese almond jelly, and it’s just the right thing to cleanse your palate after such a mighty meal.
The drinks are ok, but nothing special (soft drinks, juice, water, beers, green tea).
The only thing we didn’t like at Bankara Ramen is the annoying modern Japanese dance-pop music, but then the food more than makes up for that.
- Tori karaage: 100 Baht
- Buta kakuni don: 140 Baht
- Kakuni tonkotsu: 255 Baht
- Kakuni bankara: 250 Baht + onsen tamago: 25 Baht
- Buta miso: 260 Baht
- Green tea ice cream: 85 Baht
- Annin tofu: 55 Baht
How to get there
take the skytrain to Phrom Phong and walk out Exit 3. Then either take a taxi/tuktuk/motorcycle taxi or walk along Sukhumvit Road and then turn left into Sukhumvit Soi 39 and walk down there for about 10-15 minutes till you see
Daily from 11 a.m. – 11 p.m.
Address & Phone number
The Manor, 32/1 Sukhumvit Soi 39, Bangkok +66 (0) 2662 5162-3