Ramen is delicious. The Japanese noodle soup is possibly the most versatile street food in the world, with countless permutations on the basic ingredients of noodles, soup base, fillings and garnishes.
While Adelaide has a score of Japanese eateries in Chinatown, down Gouger and in the Market Arcades, few replicate what Japanese Contemporary Deli’s Sid Owa believes to be the most authentic thing about Japanese street food: the price.
“Ramen goes for maybe 800 yen (roughly $9) in Tokyo,” Owa said. Yet the exotic appeal of Japanese street food often sees ramen prices in Adelaide as high as $15 or more. Owa’s belief is that it is nigh impossible to separate a cuisine from its cultural context, and that overcharging for meals that would be ubiquitous and affordable in Tokyo, Osaka or Sapporo misunderstands the appeal of ramen, soba noodles, donburi, bento and other Japanese street foods. “Japanese food is about quality and simplicity,” he urged.
Sid runs the deli with his father Aki, who is a chef alumni of some 25 years in Sydney and local Japanese faves like Ginza. The attention to the quality of the ingredients employed at JCD is undeniably impressive; they even fly in the noodles from one of Aki’s chef friends in Sydney for the best possible ‘slurp’ factor. Great care is paid to the soup base as well, which is practically a religion unto itself in Japan. The soups are often simmered for days ahead of serving, to best elevate the ‘umami’ – the Japanese term for the savoury flavours we often associate with Eastern cuisine.
Even though it’s tucked away in a little shop space in Dacosta Arcade, JCD is not only already an extremely popular lunch destination, it even adds to the feeling of being in one of those hole-in-the-wall street food vendors that are common in Japanese food arcades and alleys.
Japanese Contemporary Deli offers the most authentic Japanese street food experiences outside of Nippon itself. Get yourself down there for some delicious Takoyaki, Katsudon or Tokyo Shouyo Ramen as soon as you can.
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It looks so good I just want to bury my face in it.
Check their Facebook page for more info or head down to DaCosta Arcade on Grenfell Street and give Contemporary Japanese Deli a visit!