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10 Gold Coast spots to get your pho + ramen fix

i like ramen (Image: © 2020 Inside Gold Coast)
i like ramen (Image: © 2020 Inside Gold Coast)

Oh Vietnam and Japan. Besides being two of our favourite Asian vacay destinations, they’re also responsible for two of THE most drool-inducing soupy faves eternally on our to-eat list. Pho and ramen, we salute you, never tire of your slurpy flavoursome goodness and we are getting one helluva craving right now #getinourbellies.

Thankfully, there are several Asian gems right here in our GC ‘hood who can help us get our ‘phomen’ (pho and ramen) fix, so let’s do this – from north to south.

Pho Vietnamese Kitchen (image supplied)
Pho Vietnamese Kitchen (image supplied)

Pho Vietnamese Kitchen
With a name like this, there really is no mistaking what you’re going to find here. With authentic flavours from the Saigon region, it’s the place to stop in when you’re mid-shop and in need of a healthy, yummy energy hit to recharge the batteries. There’s pho-a-plenty, plus other Viet wonders like their scrumptious grilled pork vermicelli noodles salad. Yummo.
Where: Westfield Coomera, 103 Foxwell Road, Coomera or Pacific Fair Shopping Centre, Hooker Boulevard, Broadbeach Waters

Can Tho Kitchen
A northern GC institution, Can Tho Kitchen has it all. Ridiculously delish meals, share platters, awesome service, and a super cool fit out and ambience which one may not expect from a northern GC suburban restaurant. Booking out regularly, people travel from far and wide to experience this husband-and-wife team’s traditional home kitchen recipes. Oh and the cocktails – legendary (and yes, we speak from experience).
Where: 5/465 Oxley Drive, Runaway Bay

Can Tho Kitchen (image supplied)
Can Tho Kitchen (image supplied)

Phở Việt (8 Street Harbour Town)
The Harbour Town Eats precinct offers its fair share of high-quality multi-cultural eats, and this is one of their bangers. Fresh, delicious and always consistent, it’s a sure-fire winner every day of the week (literally). The Tofu Pho Noodle Soup is a fave, as is the Combination Pho with rare beef brisket, chicken and beef balls.
Where: 147-189 Brisbane Road, Biggera Waters

Ramen Danbo
If you’re a ramen fan in Southport or Surfers, let us give you some advice; get yourself a hit of Ramen Danbo stat. Their Tonkotsu broth is all time and is the secret base making the ramen so next level lush. But don’t just take our word for it!
Where: Kiosk 8.01, Chop Chop Cavill Lane, 6 Orchid Avenue, Surfers Paradise or Shop 24, Mercato on Ferry, 59-73 Meron Street, Southport

Ramen Danbo (image supplied)
Ramen Danbo (image supplied)

Muso Ramen + Gyoza
Muso is oh-so famous for its ramen and gyoza goodness and is conveniently located in not one, but three suburbs. In other words, there’s really no excuse whatsoever not to chow down and fuel your ramen addiction. Cooked to perfection and nailing all the authentic flavours, it’s the best you’ll try outside of Tokyo.
Where: Shop1/58 Brooke Avenue, Southport or 2b/2484 Gold Coast Highway, Mermaid Beach or Shop 4248c “The Kitchens” Robina Town Centre

O-Me-Ly Vietnamese Restaurant
Pho doesn’t get any better than this! A humble fave that has stood the test of time, O-Me-Ly is a long time local hit for darn good reason. The Chicken Rice Noodle Pho is amazing, as are the Rice Paper Rolls which are the pinnacle of fresh, clean eating. Next time in you’re in Broady and channelling an unpretentious feed with flavour-o-plenty, this is the place.
Where: 15-24 Queensland Avenue, Broadbeach

Muso Ramen + Gyoza (image supplied)
Muso Ramen + Gyoza (image supplied)

I like ramen
This is legit Australia’s very first plant-based ramen shop, and that in itself deserves a hearty round of applause. The perfect spot for a bowl and brew, founders Bobby and Dom have hatched a vegan beauty here with the tastiest ramen you ever did eat. Also serving up some special Japanese whiskeys, signature cocktails and a range of our natty wines, what’s not to love?
Where: 2251 Gold Coast Highway, Mermaid Beach

Goukai Ramen
If you’re fanging for ramen, a rice bowl, karaage, gyoza or a famous Goukai roll, make your way to this Burleigh hot pot spot. Known for their sensational food – and cool staff sporting equally cool baseball caps which BTW, you can buy one too – this hidden gem never disappoints. If you like a bit of spice, here’s the hot (pardon the pun) tip: order the Red Hot Spicy Ramen.
Where: 3/1837 Gold Coast Highway, Burleigh Heads

Goukai Ramen (Image: © 2019 Inside Gold Coast)
Goukai Ramen (Image: © 2019 Inside Gold Coast)

RaRa Ramen
If it’s authentic hand-crafted ramen you want, it’s precisely what you’ll find at RaRa Ramen. With a few RaRa’s getting around NSW, it was high time we northerners were also privy to the jaw-droppingly delicious authentic Japanese flavours. With handmade noodles, broths and some serious know-how on the art of ramen, this one is a must.
Where: 21a/50 James Street, Burleigh Heads

My Saigon Tuckshop
If only our school had a tuckshop like this! Looking for a cheap and REALLY cheerful Vietnamese hit? Call off the search – you’ve found it! My Saigon Tuckshop serves up the best-tasting pho with change left over to sample the other delectable offerings, like their infamous Banh Mi or the food of the moment, Rice Paper Rolls.
Where: 1/45 Taree Street, Burleigh Heads

Words by Bianca Trathen.

RaRa Ramen dish (Image: © 2021 Inside Gold Coast)
RaRa Ramen dish (Image: © 2021 Inside Gold Coast)

Try to Ramen calm at Burleigh’s newbie

RaRa Ramen dish (Image: © 2021 Inside Gold Coast)
RaRa Ramen dish (Image: © 2021 Inside Gold Coast)

For all of those out there partial to a slurp-provoking bowl of ramen, you’ll know that when it’s good, it’s good — and when it’s really good, it’s really good. But where does the difference lie?

Scott Gault and Katie Shortland were much like any other Australian couple who visited Japan over a decade ago; they fell for the enigmatic and beguiling culture in a heartbeat. And most integral to this allure is, of course, the food.

After a chance encounter with a Japanese businessman at a bar in Tokyo’s Golden Gai suburb, the couple returned to Sydney with an invaluable connection and an open door into one of Japan’s greatest Ramen dynasties.

What followed were countless trips to Japan for Scott to hone his understanding and knowledge of this cuisine, training under masters of the ramen art.

RaRa Ramen exterior (Image: © 2021 Inside Gold Coast)
RaRa Ramen exterior (Image: © 2021 Inside Gold Coast)

Nonetheless, fast forward a few years. The pair have now opened four of Sydney’s best-known Ramen establishments with locations including Randwick and Redfern and plant-based Lonely Mouth in Eveleigh and Tsukemen Bar, RaRa Chan in Newtown.

A chance visit to Burleigh Heads last year meant Scott — a Brisbane-born ex-pat with sentimental connection to the suburb — laid eyes on the perfect space. And the rest — as they say — is history.

As of now, we have our own RaRa Ramen, having just opened in Burleigh’s vibrant backstreet scene!

The space is reminiscent of an emerald bamboo forest; with moody dimness drawing you in with curves and lines that will have you captivated from entering to the moment you leave. You have options of modest bench/chair table seating, high table vantage points and a bar where you can bow your head and gulp back deliciousness to your heart’s content.

RaRa Ramen interior (Image: © 2021 Inside Gold Coast)
RaRa Ramen interior (Image: © 2021 Inside Gold Coast)

The five pillars of ramen are broth, noodles, oil, seasoning, and toppings. And much like a house of cards, if you skimp in one of these, expect the whole thing to suffer!

Fortunately, these guys have all five rightly squared away as they hand-make their noodles, and only the highest quality free-range components make the grade.

So, what is there to devour?

A staple menu of ramen with their house Tonkotsu being the main attraction, not forgetting to mention the addition of vegan dishes such as the Vegan Soy Shio: complex flavours of grilled tomato and seasoned bamboo all served on a bed of Hakata handmade vegan noodles.

You’ll also find yourself armed with a reasonable number of options to tailor and modify your bowl to your liking: extra toppings and spicing things up, after all, are your prerogative!

RaRa Ramen dish (Image: © 2021 Inside Gold Coast)
RaRa Ramen dish (Image: © 2021 Inside Gold Coast)

A handful of snack items means you can sit at the bar and graze on simpler things like beautifully crafted Pork Gyoza and Chicken Karaage that you just simply must try — the crunch level is out of this world.

For drinks, the bar is looking to please those with a cocktail leaning with some cool and creative sours and highball-esque drinks to bolster an already sexy-looking selection of natural wine and fine-looking beers. Watch this space.

RaRa Ramen side dishes (Image: © 2021 Inside Gold Coast)
RaRa Ramen side dishes (Image: © 2021 Inside Gold Coast)

Presently the venue is open Friday — Sunday and wrapping things up early at 9pm. But fear not, this isn’t set to last. In the next couple of weeks, RaRa Ramen will fully develop its position as a cocktail bar after hours with adequate nibbles: textbook behaviour for those who like a post-dinner bite from time to time. Guilty as charged!

Are you feeling withdrawals from being unable to visit Japan? We say don your cold-weather gear and head to this tucked away haven of Japanese tastiness — and slurp like nobody is watching!

Where: 21a/50 James St, Burleigh Heads
Hours: Fri — Sun, 12pm-9pm (will increase soon)

Words by Alex Mitcheson.

RaRa Ramen bar (Image: © 2021 Inside Gold Coast)
RaRa Ramen bar (Image: © 2021 Inside Gold Coast)

i like ramen bring their epic vegan eats back to Nobby’s

Nobby’s is one of the Gold Coast’s most loved good-time spots but over the last few weeks (months, years etc.), there has been A LOT going on. Exceptional new venues are popping up left, right and centre with more to come and originals we absolutely love, closing their doors for good (sad face). A lot see.

The latest news coming out of the little beachside beauty is very exciting indeed friends and it is that of i like ramen’s return to our shores. As you’re no doubt aware, the vegan ramen slinging lads made the move to Brissy a little while ago, after setting up shop at Miami’s The LC (now closed) and a weekly stint at Bine, also in Nobby’s.

But now THEY’RE BACK and they’re never leaving again (or else).

The crew, led by Bobby and Dom, have moved into the downstairs space on the corner of the Gold Coast Highway and Wave Street and underneath sweet, new surf store Surfboard Empire. Which is the perfect pairing honestly!

Now as you’d expect, the space is quite a treat with windows opening out onto the street down one side, an-industrial-style interior complete with low hanging lights made from planks of wood and a chalkboard on which you may write messages of love and noodle appreciation.

A bar at the back boasts a stunning black rendered bench by RENDER X but the pièce de résistance is (without a doubt) the bright yellow trike at the front door and if you ask nicely, the team might just let you take it for a spin (don’t tell them we said that though).

Let’s talk food and if you haven’t had the pleasure of sampling i like ramen’s goodies, get onto that right now. The menu is made up of plates and bowls, it’s all vegan and it’s all VERY GOOD.

Plates along the lines Panko Mushrooms (love you), Kimchi Potatoes (love you too), Sticky Eggplant, Garlic Soy Asian Greens and Holy Duck Baos are absolute flavour sensations and look, we’ll be spending a lot of time there from now on.

The Kimchi Ramen is a firm favourite with ramen noodles served in a spicy kimchi broth, loaded with kimchi perfection and fried tofu and topped with chopped spring onions, fresh sprouts, fried shallots, roasted seaweed, chilli threads and sesame. Too good.

There are also Mean Green, Mushroom Ramen, Chick’n White Miso Ramen and Loaded Bowls and we recommend eating one every single day forever.

Come summer time (next week), the team will be serving up salads and cold noodle bowls because it’s quite clearly going to be the hottest one we’ve ever experienced.

Drinks wise there are several Japanese whiskies on offer and we really love Japanese whisky. There are also mouthwatering cocktails – we were big fans of the Umeshu Spritz with Choya plum liqueur, Prosecco and soda – and an impressive beer and wine list too.

So all your (our) favourite things.

Not only all of that, there are some exciting events in the works, so even more reason to go spend time there. How good.

Welcome home I like ramen, we missed you.

LOCATION: 2251 Gold Coast Hwy, Nobby Beach
HOURS: Wednesday to Sunday 11.30am until late

Words and photos by Kirra Smith

i like ramen

Authentic ramen bar brings tasty new bites to Burleigh

Lots of ramen-related news across the Gold Coast right now isn’t there? The latest of which comes fresh out of Burleigh Heads and is that of Goukai Ramen.

The newbie opened just last week in the space Bondi Grill’e once occupied and they’re bringing authentic ramen dishes and tasty Japanese tipples to the people.

Found underneath Ambience on Burleigh Beach, just down the way from Oh My, Waffle, Goukai Ramen is the work of Hiroshi Takeyama and Noriyuki Sato who wanted to bring their dream of owning a restaurant to life.

It’s a spacious venue, decked out in dark wood and a few interesting little arty accents with the smell of spicy goodness wafting through the air.

The menu is simple and filled with tasty bites including ramen in a variety of flavours. From the Goukai Original to Red Hot Spicy, Tasty Miso, Black Garlic, Meat Lovers, Vegetarian and Goukai Prawn and they’re all absolutely bursting with flavour.

You may also indulge in rice bowls along the lines of a Karaage Bowl, a Sweet Chilli Karaage Bowl and a Chopped Pork Bowl and there’s Karaage Chicken bites, edamame and Gyoza for sides too.

The kiddies aren’t forgotten either, there are little people options to keep them happy too.

Drinks-wise you can wash all that down with Japanese beers like Asahi, Sapporo and Kirin and two types of sake are on offer. There’s a plum liquor and of course, Japanese whiskey and soft drinks.

If you’re in the market for a tasty, authentic ramen feast (and we know you are), look no further than Burleigh’s latest Goukai Ramen.

They’ll cure what ails ya.

LOCATION: 3/1837 Gold Coast Hwy, Burleigh Heads
HOURS: 11am until 3pm and 5pm until 9pm Wednesday to Monday

Words and photos by Kirra Smith

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