Swirl and twirl, fire burn and cauldron bubble: Bone of pork, shell of prawn, ink of squid, splash of sardines, lick of yuzu, lash of sesame, lingering of broad beans - the witches of Macbeth might not have brewed a broth as potent and pronounced as Kanbe’s seven styles of soup, stirring up a steamy, sizzling storm of ramen in Mont Kiara’s 163 Retail Park.
Kanbe offers two popular preparations of ramen - Hakata ramen, with deliciously firm, thin noodles in a cloudy pork bone broth (RM31.20), and Tsukemen, with thicker, chewier noodles served beside a denser, more umami-intense soup for dipping (RM39).
The highlight for most customers will be the 48-hour-simmered tonkotsu broth, which comes in seven varieties - Shiro (the purest of them all), Aka (blended with doubanjiang fermented chilli bean paste with a slightly spicy tang), Koro (blackened with squid ink, made mildly aromatic with charred garlic), Kohaku (with a briny stock of dried sardines, bonito and mackerel), Goma (nutty-earthy with sesame), Yuzu (brightened with citrus) and our favourite, the Sakura (shrimp-sweet with whole ebi prawn stock).
You can order the broths on their own for RM18 each, a wonderful way to explore and compare them in one sitting. Each one is unmistakably distinctive, deriving their resonance from natural ingredients that balance well with the pork bone foundation.
Plenty of customisation is possible - pick a preferred noodle firmness (extra hard is the recommended equivalent of al dente), a soup sauce spiciness level (mild is fine) and how much garlic and flavoured oil you want (heavy adds allure). The punchiness of the broth is also up to you, with choices of light, normal or rich (the latter is comforting without being cloying).
Each bowl comes with chashu, but it's worth the RM5 surcharge to switch to kakuni, more luscious slabs of pork belly. Top-ups of flavoured eggs and Parmesan cheese are also available.
豚麺処 官兵衛 KANBE
GF-08, 163 Retail Park, Jalan Kiara, Mont Kiara, 50480 Kuala Lumpur. Daily, 11am-9pm.