Asian noodle-lovers rejoice! Samouaï Ramen is the newest addition to Brussels healthy ‘fast food’ restaurant scene and it’s slurp-tastic!
When we first moved to central Brussels, almost six years ago, the food offerings near Grand Place were limited. There was a choice of over-priced cafes, serving traditional Belgian dishes, trashy fast food joints, and way over-priced restaurants serving sub-par food to unsuspecting tourists.
I’m happy to say the food scene in the area is changing. With the addition of restaurants like Hop Dog and Bia Mara, diners can opt for affordable fast food, made from fresh, local ingredients, and served with a smile.
Fans of Asian food can now rejoice, as well, with the opening of Samouraï Ramen – fast food noodles will never be the same in Brussels again.
I first learned about Samouaï Ramen when a press release landed in my in-box a month ago. With dozens of such emails arriving daily, it takes something special to grab my attention. This one contained two of my favourite words – ‘noodles’ and ‘soup.’
I love Asian food – all Asian food. Curries, dumplings, sushi, stir-fries, all excite my taste buds. But, especially on a cold, dreary day (read: Brussels in winter), I love a hot bowl of steaming noodle soup, more than anything. Ramen may just be the antidote to winter in a bowl.
So when I read the grand dame of Japanese cuisine in Brussels, Samouraï, had just opened a Ramen noodle bar, it shot to the top of must ‘must try’ list.
Samouraï Ramen is located just behind the De Brouckere metro on Rue Fossé-aux-loups, right beside the original Samouraï restaurant.
As Andrew and I approached, we could see nothing more than a few stools clustered around an open kitchen. Stepping inside however, an extremely friendly young Japanese man whisked us upstairs.
The dining room is cosy, simple and bright, owing to the large wrap-around windows. The menu is extremely short – perfectly so. There is nothing but ramen, edamamé (steamed soya beans) and gyoza (Japanese dumplings), with a short selection of drinks and two Japanese desserts.
For the ramen, you can choose from a selection of three broths (priced at 12€): miso, shôyu (a soya sauce based broth), and tonkotsu (made from pork bones). In addition to the noodles and veggies that come in your broth, you can choose to add additional toppings, like breaded chicken (2.50€) or shrimp (3.50€), sliced pork (2.50€) or hard-boiled egg (1€).
We both opted for a set menu including an order of gyoza and a ramen and topping of our choice for 17.50€. Andrew chose the pork broth topped with pork (no surprise there) and I opted for the shôyu with katsu chicken. We both ordered a warming mug of green tea to drink.
Our order arrived quickly and steaming hot. I could hardly wait to dive into my plump gyoza, served with dipping sauce. The texture was perfect and the filling was juicy and delicious.
Andrew’s pork on pork ramen had an almost creamy looking broth, which we assume is from the bone marrow. The pork topping was meltingly tender with a slightly sweet flavour.
My shôyu was the perfect balance of salty and peppery. I could have honestly just drank the broth and been happy. But my broth was filled with thoroughly slurp-able ramen, crunchy bean sprouts, Asian mushrooms, spinach leaves, and a host of other tasty ingredients.
The only thing I wasn’t completely thrilled with was the chicken. Don’t get me wrong, it tasted excellent. But I found the crispy breading became soggy in the soup very quickly. I would have preferred a simple grilled, non-breaded bit of chicken. In fact though, the rest was so good, I didn’t even need the meat.
I will undoubtedly return to Samouraï Ramen and highly recommend it, if you are a noodle soup lover like me. The fast, friendly service and excellent quality food makes this a perfect entry on the Brussels healthy fast-food scene.
Rue Fossé-aux-loups 28