I hope everybody had a nice Thanksgiving long weekend, hopefully, bellies filled. For the start of the weekend, Joe and I decided to take a quick trip to our neighbor down south, the beautiful city of Calgary. Now I know the rivalry between us gets heated at times, but with an NHL lockout, I still think we can get along over a plate or two of food.
To reward ourselves on the 3-hour drive, we headed straight to Shikiji, a Japanese noodle and sushi restaurant. We came just before opening and had to wait a bit before their doors officially opened for business. We weren’t the only ones! As soon as the place opened, half a dozen tables were seated immediately and I noticed larger tables had already been reserved. The service was speedy and our orders were placed.
First came our tako yaki balls: baked wheat filled with octopus and topped with katsuo flakes (dried, smoked fish), mayo, and takoyaki sauce. I’ve had the pleasure of eating these little Japanese snacks in Richmond’s night market in Vancouver so the standards are high. The dough itself was nice and fluffy and the diced octopus was actually quite large. Served piping hot, the balls were a great way to start our meal.
Our ramen came with toasted sesame seeds which we could grind ourselves to add into the broth. The smell of toasted sesame seeds was lovely and this was a very unique way to prepare us for the meal.
Joe ordered the shio ramen, a salted soup base with ramen noodles, green onions, bok choy, seaweed and BBQ pork. The broth was nice and clear and had a great depth of flavor.
In contrast to his ramen, I ordered a miso ramen, a soybean soup base with ramen noodles, green onions, corn, cabbage, BBQ pork, carrots, ginger and bean sprouts with a side of spicy karashi. One of my favorite parts of a ramen dish is the addition of a pickled egg. Sad to say that this restaurant did not have the option of adding an egg, pickled or not, to the soup. I was very disappointed although I understand that it’s not traditional for all ramen to have an egg. Nevertheless, my broth was very well done and the noodles were a good texture. The corn and the beansprouts added much needed substance to the dish but the BBQ pork was a little bland and not at all as flavorful as what I’m use to.
Although Calgary’s selection of ramen wins over Edmonton’s lack thereof any day, I still craved for the rich broths of Vancouver’s ramen houses. Until I get that quality of ramen, I will continue to search high and low for a winner. Calgary has a few more noodle shops contending with Shikiji and I will no doubt try the others before I return.Shikiji
1608 Centre St NE
Facebook: Shikiji Japanese Noodles & Sushi