Ramen in a naturally coloured broth of soothing steel blue, alongside another rendition that's fiery red: Shin Haru Tei has introduced two new ramen recipes with strikingly eye-catching hues, perfect for adventurous Japanese food explorers seeking a vibrant change from conventional bowls of noodles.
The blue ramen is definitely the most distinctive one - inspired by the creation of a Tokyo ramen shop, Shin Haru Tei puts a special Malaysian spin on this hue, not quite the colour of the sky or the ocean. There are two secret ingredients to this broth - one is Japanese in origin, the other is Malaysian; one is secured from the sea, the other is harvested from the earth. The noodles too take on the tinge of blue, making this the most intriguing ramen you might have in the Klang Valley this month.
The base for the clear broth is a mix of the classic and the creative, built initially with chicken bones slow-boiled over fire for three hours, mixed with a French-style aromatic mirepoix vegetable stock. It's a lovely, light flavour with enjoyable nuances, even without the blue.
This is topped with chicken thigh char siu, exclusively crafted for this limited-edition ramen (a reasonably priced RM23.90, with about 20 bowls served each day) that should satisfy fans of chicken-based ramen as well as folks seeking fun inspiration for their Instagram feeds. Currently only available at Shin Haru Tei in Jaya One, as well as its sister outlet, Haru Tei, in Setapak's PV128.
The red should be relatively easy for most customers to figure out, a Japanese-Chinese concoction that weds the ramen with a paste of Szechuan peppercorns (RM23.90). This is unmistakably fragrant, a must for mala fans, but its spice level remains at a comfortable level that shouldn't upset most stomachs; we were sweating while eating this, but the pain was tolerably pleasurable. A terrific choice for customers who love spicy noodles, rounded out here with tender pork cha-shu and a whole egg.
Shin Haru Tei has become even more inviting since our last visit, with beautifully photographed images of Japanese scenes now lining the walls. The restaurant also has increased its health and safety precautions, including with a German-built dishwasher that cleanses all bowls, plates and cutlery with steaming-hot water for reassuring sanitation.
Many thanks to Shin Haru Tei for having us back.
Shin Haru Tei
69-P1, Block D, Jaya One, The Suite, No 72A, Jalan Universiti, 46200 Petaling Jaya, Selangor. Daily, 11am-930pm. Tel: 03-7931-9733
The blue and red ramen are also available at Haru Tei in PV128, Setapak.