Price: 35-50 RMB per person
Before my visit to Invincible Ramen, my awareness of Japanese food in Beijing was limited to this:
Yes, this is a sushi street food cart. You may not have thought sushi could be street food…this just goes to show how Beijing is a city that questions your prejudices! Confronts your assumptions!
Except that assumptions sometimes turn out to be right. Street sushi is not delicious. Best go to Invincible Ramen instead.
In a nutshell: Invincible Ramen is great. Is it as good as the best in Tokyo? No, definitely not. Does it serve above-average, delicious bowls of noodles? Absolutely! Cheers for Invincible Ramen!
It helps if, like me, you like your ramen soup made with pork bones. Both bowls that we ordered (we chose the most popular items, too) were fatty and creamy from long-simmered pork marrow. The “gold-signboard noodles” (黄金招牌面) were less fatty, with extra bonito fishy flavour and more salt.
The “white-gold BBQ pork noodles” (白金叉烧面) were less salty but even richer, tasting like pure pork bone soup. To be done right, the soup has to be simmered for hours and Invincible’s certainly tasted like it was done properly. The broth was practically gravy, succulent marrow blended perfectly into the soup.
The noodles were solid – they had a pleasant chew – but they weren’t first class, with little flavour of their own. The pork, meanwhile, was very fatty and soft, falling apart with a tiny push of the chopsticks. The pickled bamboo had a special touch – it was dusted with a little black pepper, which really made its flavour shine.
Another little touch that I loved were the bowls, which had clearly been ordered specially for the restaurant:
The bottom of the bowl reads “the last drop”!
We tried the gyoza (煎饺), but they were a disappointment, unfortunately, packed with chives that made the whole dumpling taste way too sharp.
But it didn’t matter; our whole focus was on our bowls of delicious noodles. It’s especially fun to experiment with the various spices on the table – my favourite was the nanami togarashi, the Japanese chili powder mix.
All that, and the noodles are very affordable – 35 RMB is very decent for such a satisfying meal.
32 Xiaoyun Lu (just north of Sanyuanqiao bridge, opposite the KFC on Xiaoyun Lu)
Open until 11p.m. –> no late night ramen here unfortunately
Jianwai SOHO location:
Bldg 3, Jianwai Soho, 39 Dongsanhuan Zhonglu, Chaoyang District