by SeeFoon Chan-Koppen
Who hasn’t heard of Ramen? Ever since this Japanese staple became a hit outside of its home country, its been the darling go-to for jaded palates tired of our iconic Kai Si Hor Fun (KSHF) or Curry Mee. Still hankering for the taste of noodles without resorting to the ubiquitous spaghetti, try ONY, a relative newcomer to the Ramen Scene.
Calling Dante Cheah’s ONY a Japanese Ramen restaurant may be a misnomer. Yes the name and the noodle pay lip service to its Japanese origins but the menu offerings are straight out of this brilliant young proprietor’s prolific culinary mind.
Trained as a lawyer in the UK, Dante ( name which he gave himself and which prompted the question of how much hell fire he plans to create) it’s a gastronomic journey, a testament to passion, creativity, and an unwavering commitment to perfecting the art of Ramen. With its roots firmly grounded in Dante’s love for Italian cuisine, ONY Japanese Ramen emerges as a unique and captivating addition to the local culinary scene, an establishment that fuses the best of both worlds.
The Ramen Revolution: A Quest for Perfection.
In the midst of the challenging times brought forth by the Movement Control Order (MCO), Dante Cheah’s craving for an exceptional bowl of Ramen led him on a transformative journey of culinary exploration. Frustrated by the lack of recipes that met his exacting standards on YouTube, he embarked on a personal mission to craft his own, delving headfirst into the intricate world of Ramen. What sets ONY apart from the myriad of Ramen establishments is the unyielding devotion to detail that underpins every dish.
Each bowl of Ramen at ONY Japanese Ramen is an orchestra of flavours, composed of five distinct components: the noodles, the soup, the toppings, the sauce, and the oil. The Tare (the broth) takes a minimum of 10 hours of slow simmering to be perfected. Added to a perpetual broth which is kept alive since his opening of ONY last year, Dante ensures that he keeps evey drop of Umami in his kitchen.
A Symphony of Flavors: Unveiling ONY’s Culinary Repertoire
The menu at ONY Japanese Ramen reads like a culinary odyssey through the diverse and complex flavours of Ramen. The O.G. Paitan Chicken Ramen with Imperial Soup (RM25) is a classic rendition that offers a delightful twist with the inclusion of Japanese radish. The Imperial Soup, characterised by its depth of flavour, is a testament to the meticulous craftsmanship that goes into every pot.
Dante Cheah’s spirit of innovation shines through in his La Jiu Chicken Ramen with Smoked Imperial Soup (RM25 + RM7 for Smoked) and is a revelation. Dante’s experimentation with wood smoking elevates this dish to an entirely new level. The secret wood used, imparts a seductive smokiness that sets it apart from its peers. Dante’s technique of using the precise lid for the smoking further enriches the sensory experience. Immediately mixed with his Dan Fu Fa , a quivering soft egg cooked to a precise temperature, (served together) the dish is exquisitely smooth with a sultry earthiness pthat gives the noodles its divine texture. This Dan Fu Fa ( borrowing its name from the velvety Dow Fu Fa, our popular smooth bean curd dessert) was perfected after many hours of experimentation and hundreds of discarded eggs.
Clear Soup (Ching Tong) Ramen beckons to umami aficionados with its rich, savoury flavours that dance on the taste buds. Meanwhile, the Spicy Umami Ramen (RM16) strikes a delightful balance between spice and umami. Though the scallops may not be entirely authentic, the dish more than compensates with its robust flavour profile.
Elevating the Experience
To complement the Ramen offerings, ONY Japanese Ramen presents a selection of accompaniments that shine in their own right. The Dan Fu Fa (RM3.5) eggs as mentioned earlier are a rare gem, laid by chickens nourished with sesame seeds, imparting a unique flavour profile that pirouettes on the taste buds. A dash of soy sauce further enhances their exquisite taste.
For those seeking an extra kick of flavour, the Spicy Fried Bamboo Shoots (RM4.8) offer a crunchy and spicy delight that pairs seamlessly with the Ramen. The Pau (2 Pieces) (RM12), handmade and filled with love, are a testament to Dante’s unwavering commitment to quality. Likewise, the (Gyoza) Dumplings (4 Pieces) (RM10) offer a satisfying bite, though a tad more juiciness could elevate them further.
Don’t miss the opportunity to savour ONY’s Perfect Yogurt (RM13), a homemade delight that is an absolute must-try. The strawberry flavour is thick and creamy, while the pineapple flavour offers a sweet revelation that rounds off the meal on a high note.
And then there is the Truffle Ramen. The noodles are made with a special blend of tare sauce, that perfectly compliments the earthy aroma of truffle oil, Each bite of the chewy noodles bursting with Umami and the addition of fresh spring onions and crispy seaweed add a delightful crunch.
A Commitment to Excellence: Craftsmanship Beyond Compare
In a world where shortcuts often prevail, ONY Japanese Ramen stands out as an oasis of culinary dedication and craftsmanship. Here, every element of every dish is not just considered but meticulously crafted to perfection. It’s not merely a meal; it’s an immersive culinary experience that transports diners to the vibrant streets of Japan. Moreover, with prices ranging from RM16 to RM35, ONY offers a taste of Japan’s finest flavours without breaking the bank, all the while maintaining its commitment to being pork-free and avoiding artificial MSG, mirin, or sake.
Dante Cheah’s ONY Japanese Ramen is a culinary gem that deserves to be celebrated for its innovation, quality, and dedication to the art of Ramen. Each visit to ONY is a journey into the heart of Dante’s passion and creativity, a testament to the extraordinary heights that culinary craftsmanship can achieve. In Ipoh, this is where the soul of Ramen finds its reincarnation, and where diners embark on a culinary pilgrimage that leaves a lasting impression. As Dante himself might say, ONY Japanese Ramen is not just a restaurant; it’s a symphony of flavours, a masterpiece in every bowl, and a culinary experience that transcends ordinary dining.
ONY Japanese Ramen is Muslim friendly. Every month a different special is on offer. Do ask for it and check that out.
For a RM5 off EVERY bowl of Ramen (one per person) go to the ONY Facebook page and like it.
ONY Japanese Ramen
Address: 45, Jalan Medan Ipoh 6, Taman Ipoh Timur, 31400 Ipoh, Perak
Operating Hours: 11:30 am to 9 pm (Closed Tuesdays)