I've been to Sanpachi three or four times. When they first opened last December I was super excited about them. I tried the ramen there and loved it. It was very close to the ramen in Tokyo and had the richness of the boiled broth and the right taste. Having living in Japan for 3 years I would like to think I know a bit about ramen since I ate a lot of it. However, over the year, I think the ownership has changed from Japanese owners to Chinese-run and now the taste reeks of msg. My tongue was numb mid-way through the meal.
Over time they've added more and more to their menu. The tskumen is a dipping noodle. The noodles are hot and served in a separate bowl than the soup. You dip your bite into the soup before devouring it.
I love their half-sized menu with the option of adding gyoza or my favourite, the tuna onigiris! I love tuna onigiris. I would order them on their own if the restaurant was closer to my office.
I think this was miso? It was super salty. Tasted like the broth mix from instant noodles. My tongue was numb. Noodles are nice and chewy though. When I first came, the pork was the perfect fat-skinny ratio. Now they are just too lean. :-( Sad. Everything about this bowl of ramen is bad now. I am so disappointed since I thought I'd finally found a good ramen shop in Vancouver.
The kitchen staff are Chinese. There might be one Japanese worker in there. The manager is a Chinese lady who speaks Japanese. Sorry but I'd prefer something authentically Japanese.
So far I've tried: G-men, Santouka, Kintaro, Benkei and Sanpachi. I liked Sanpachi the best before, but now I don't know if I like any of them! Ramen explorations shall continue! Please recommend some if you know of a great one.