Ramen at Nao Japanese on Hay Street

We went for lunch on a pretty cruisy day. I ordered spinach ramen with roast pork and spare ribs, for $16.50.

The dish tasted better than it looked.

The bowl of noodles was served hot. The spinach noodles had great texture – supple, al dente, and I’d have been happy to just have the noodles.

The meat elements weren’t great.

They’d stinged on the portion of roast pork. It was a thin slice of pork, and resoundingly vanilla. Favourless. Boring. Did I say boring? And Christ have mercy they’d done a roast pork without the crackling.

Meat on the spare ribs was a shocker. Rather than falling off the bone, it was an exercise in ripping meat from the bone caveman-style. Then, when the spare rib fell back into the hot spring – aka my hot ramen soup – I had to extract the spare rib and try not to burn my fingers in the process. All the  while hoping no one I knew happened across me and the very uncouth manner with which I was attacking this bowl of ramen.

I have two major problems with having to consume the food caveman-style. 

One, no one goes to a ramen place to do calorie burning exercises on their jaw muscles. If I wanted to burn calories, I can think of a million better ways than struggling with a spare rib. I could, for instance, simply forget to switch off the oven when I’m baking. Massive amount of calories burnt? Passed with flying colours. Jaw muscles used? Negative.

Two, it’s plain wrong to expect patrons to eat cavemen-style which went out of fashion, like, hundreds of thousands of years ago (or like, millions of years ago, depending on who you ask). It’s, like, a crime against fashion. Like, to put things into perspective, eating caveman-style is so uncool even the most dedicated hipsters wouldn’t try to make it cool.

Now, on another note, I’m a naturally smiley person. Make that unnaturally smiley person. My smiling tends to go hand in hand with the nervous laughter I tend to do all the time. I blame my primate ancestors for coming up with this trait and bloody evolution for selecting it. Cursing my ancestors hasn’t ridded me of my neuroses. Yet.

Anyway, when I do flash a smile, I’m not shy with showing off the fact that I never got braces as a child. An hour or two after this lunch, I discovered to my horror, a stringy piece of pork caught in the crook of my front teeth. The sneaky bastard had been visible to all of my wonderful colleagues who’d cared enough not to mention it. Lovely folks, all of ’em.

Lesson learnt: check your pearly whites after any meal, particularly those where you’ve had to play charades during the consumption of said meal.

Taste verdict Great noodles. Not-so-great addons.


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