Ryo’s Noodles, Gouger Street

20150317_185607a rather massive bowl of spicy noodles

Disclaimer: I was a guest at a blogger dinner at Ryo’s Noodles

A couple of weeks ago I was invited to a dinner at Ryo’s Noodles on Gouger Street. Being a die-hard carb junkie I had no choice but to attend. However, I’ll let you in on a little secret. I’ve been to Japan but once. And that ‘once’ was a lay-over at Narita Airport. I was really lucky in that I was travelling with a friend with a strong command of Japanese and we spent an excellent night out in Narita eating eel and drinking beer. But that is where my experience of Japanese food as cooked in Japan starts and ends. I love soba noodles (on that journey I flew JAL and cold soba noodles were offered at every meal – I was in heaven), I’m less keen on udon and ramen tread a happy middle ground.

Now we have my non-existent Japanese food critiquing credentials out of the way …

Ryo’s is a small restaurant on Gouger Street and while you might miss it if you were on the look out for it, you’ll find it easily enough. It is set up with both normal tables and tall benches, which run down the centre. It’s quite smart inside, although it is very snug and I imagine that if there are large groups in (such as we were!) they end up rather dominating the vibe. But you don’t head here for a romantic date night or intimacy … this is much more somewhere where you grab a big hearty bowl of noodles on your way from A to B.

Judging by the enormous bowls of noodles that were heading out of the kitchen, I decided I didn’t need an entrée. As a bonus, plenty of other people thought they did and so I was able to try the takoyaki (battered balls of octopus which I found a little bland) and the kara-age (fried chicken – which was fine but again didn’t really pack a lot of flavour).

20150317_185354kara-age – deep fried chicken with mayonnaise … not too much wrong with that …

For my noodles, I chose the one spicy option on the menu. Having done a bit of online research before heading out I knew that a lot of people find the soups at Ryo’s too salty and so I asked for no salt (I’m usually reasonably sensitive to salt and I’d had a salty lunch!). The food all came out very quickly and I was impressed that my spicy noodles were actually spicy (enough to make my nose run!) and my request for no salt had been honoured.

It was a ridiculously large bowl of soup and I ate/drank more of it than I strictly needed to. Most of the noodle dishes hovered around the $13-14 mark which is not bad considering you will not need anything else (and, if we’re talking lunch time, you can easily pay $10 for a boring old sandwich). Given how huge it was, I think that if I were to return to Ryo’s, I would be opting for a combination of entrées (because they do have gyoza!) or perhaps trying out one of the cold noodle dishes.

Ryo’s is not licensed – I was more than happy to drink the bottomless matcha green tea on offer but I know plenty of people for whom the lack of a beer with their noodles could well be a deal breaker.

My overall impression is that Ryo’s is really much more of a lunch venue – service is quick and it’s not the type of venue where you linger over several courses. If you order noodles you won’t fit in dessert! With winter approaching, it will be the perfect spot to head for a bowl of Friday lunch ramen which will warm you up and keep you full all afternoon.

Ryo’s Noodles
80 Gouger Street
Adelaide SA 5000
phone: (08) 8410 0752
(no website or menu on line)

Ryo's Noodles on Urbanspoon

Sesame Crusted Pork with Stir Fried Noodles


With the new year and no car, we’re back in the swing of doing proper meal planning again. While this sounds totally boring it has plenty of advantages. Principally, fewer trips to the shops means you spend less money. However, added bonuses are that I no longer hit 3pm and start to panic about the toddler’s dinner, I don’t have to rely on being able to get to the shops at a particular time and I make better use of both my cookbooks and bookmarked recipes.

Pork recipes are always popular on Eating Adelaide (if you missed Colin’s roast pork in a fry pan you should check it out!) and we all love pork so we tend to eat it once a week. It’s no surprise then that I would eventually get around to cooking this sesame crusted pork, which first appeared in Good Taste magazine many moons ago. As usual, I departed from the recipe …

Begin by taking your favourite Singapore/Hokkien egg noodles and prepping them. We use the ‘fresh’ packet ones (that you find in the refrigerated section of the supermarket), so I put them in a bowl and covered them with hot water.

I used pork fillet (or tenderloin) which I cut into three pieces. I pressed each piece into some sesame seeds, so just the one side had them on and then fried them, sesame side down, in a hot, oven proof fry pan. I could have left them a little longer: my sesame seeds have just the hint of tan, when really a bit more golden would have both tasted and looked better.

While the pork is cooking (after it’s browned up, pop it into an oven heated to 180°C to finish), heat some oil in a wok and add a finely sliced red onion, along with garlic, ginger and chilli to taste. Once the onion has softened, add one carrot, peeled and julienned, followed by the drained noodles and stir fry for a couple of minutes before adding 2 tbsp soy sauce and 2 tbsp of oyster sauce*. Make sure you cut your carrot finely – you want it to soften a little while still retaining some bite and texture. If you wish, mix the remainder of your sesame seeds through the stir fry (or, if you can be bothered/have time, lightly toast some!).

Roughly chop a generous handful of coriander and stir this through noodles, before serving in hot bowls. Slice the pork fillet on the diagonal and serve on top of the noodles, with a garnish of extra coriander.

The verdict?

Using chunks of pork fillet adds to the cooking time, so if you’re in a rush, use a different cut, such as loin steaks, or even finely slice the meat and stir fry it with the sesame seeds before doing the noodles. We really rated the use of the sesame seeds though – both on the meat and in the stir fry. Definitely something we’ll do again.

The noodles were OK. They needed beefing up with the chilli and garlic (neither of which was specified in the original recipe) but they were very quick and easy to do and would serve as a great base for a more flavour rich protein component.

So while we rated both pork and noodles individually, together they were both just a touch too bland. Bland feels like too harsh a word, because it almost makes the meal sound unenjoyable – which it definitely wasn’t. I guess that in this case I’d say the sum of the parts was actually greater than the whole.

* I always imagined oyster sauce to be ‘oyster flavoured’ but most oyster sauces contain either oyster or fish (or both) and hence are not suitable for vegetarians. If you are catering for vegetarians/vegans then make sure you source some which is vegetarian.

Jap Chae

Jap Chae

I spotted a recipe for this Korean noodle dish which was featured on the UK’s Market Kitchen. What I’ve had of Korean food I’ve loved (yes, I do really think that kim chi and rice makes a fantastic breakfast) so I was keen to try it out.

Since making it, I’ve done a little research and it appears that this is not a dish that has a particularly rigid list of ingredients. The important themes seem to be vegetables (the chae) and the use of sesame seed oil.

As usual, I departed from the recipe a little. In a couple of places the original calls for sesame seeds which we didn’t have, so they were omitted, but next time I’ll make the effort to include them. I omitted the mushrooms, as Andy doesn’t like them, and added some crushed chilli. Sliced fresh chilli would have been better but our chilli crop is not all it could be this year … I also messed around with quantities which has left me wondering how the original recipe can claim to feed 6.

I started with just over 300g of rump steak, which I sliced finely and then mixed with a heaped tsp of sugar (the demerara was first out of the cupboard), 2 tbsp of soy sauce, 3 tsp of mirin and 2 tsp of dark (toasted) sesame oil. This mix went in the fridge for a marinate.

Next I made a very simple omelette using 3 eggs, cooked in a little vegetable oil in a non stick pan. This was then finely sliced and set aside.

I soaked 125g of rice vermicelli in warm water until soft, then drained them and refreshed in cold water, before mixing well with 3 tbsp of soy sauce. The original recipe uses less meat than I did but DOUBLE the amount of noodles. Personally, I think that would make your dish pretty lopsided – we had a ton of noodles and certainly didn’t feel like we needed any more to balance out the beef or vegetables.

When you’re ready to eat heat some oil in a wok and add two sliced onions and garlic to taste. Fry over a low-ish heat so that you soften the onions and garlic but don’t colour them.

Increase the heat and add the beef (and any juices from the marinade) and cook quickly. Stir in 4 or 5 sliced spring onions, a finely sliced (think julienned) carrot and 100g of spinach. Stick the lid on the wok (if you have a lid) to allow the spinach to wilt, and cook until the vegetables are tender.

Finally, add the noodles and omelette and stir fry until the noodles are hot through and tender. Mix in 4 tbsp of sesame oil and 3 tbsp of soy sauce.

At this point I added my crushed chilli and plenty of black pepper. With the soy sauce you won’t need salt.

The original recipe says to serve immediately – which I wasn’t able to do and the dish did not suffer for it. In fact, I think that a bit of time sitting on the stove on a very low heat helped the flavours mature quite a bit.

If you want to make your dishes look pretty, sprinkle with some toasted sesame seeds.