May 12, 2015

I had a visit from Hakkaisan Sake Brewery today.  They came to promote their Junmai Ginjo sake and the new sparkling sake. 

 The characteristic of Hakkaisan is the Tanrei Karakuchi – Clean and Dry.  The ultimate food friendly sake.

They are showcasing some of their products at the Noosa Food  and Wine Show coming this weekend.

I had actually visited the Hakkaisan Sake Brewery in Niigata in August 2014 but not gotten around to publishing an article so here it is.

Perhaps a good destination for someone’s summer trip to Japan. The exeperience at Hakkaisan is eco-tourism at its best. There  are direct purchasing kiosks, a beautiful traditional hay roofed soba hut and most recently they have created a feature attraction by recreating a traditional agribusiness custom in a commercial scale in the form of a huge yukimuro (snow room).  This area is famous for its heavier than heavy snowfall and the farmers would collect snow and put insulation around it to create a ice box that would last all year until the next winter. They would stash their summer crop and sell their produce all season long.

Hakkaisan brewery has done this in an unheard of scale and erected an insulated warehouse with tons of snow and set up ageing tanks to store some sake which will be sold as vintage snow aged sake. The temperature is so stable and the beauty is that there is no vibration of motors/engines making the sake age with zero disturbance. You can also purchase shochu which they will store in the warmer part of the cellar for collection after a minimum 1 year period. The sleekly designed icebox architecture, cellar and shop is open for tours, tastings and the shop sells various aged vegetables, fish and meat. I tried the potato as the story was that the potato gets amazingly sweet due to it supposedly turns carbs into sugar during the hibernation to protect itself. It certainly was sweet! And I just can’t seem to resist the temptation of purchasing beautifully marbled snow aged wagyu.  I couldn’t tell the difference in this one so much but it was yummy none the less. IMG_5144.JPG IMG_5141.JPG IMG_5143.JPG IMG_5142.JPG 


Donation Results

April 27, 2015

Results: Donation Appeal 2015

Japan Earthquake March 2011 / Vanuatu March 2015 / Nepal April 2015

  • Thank you for your warm support during our donation appeal month of March 2015. I am pleased to report that we raised the below funds.
  • $804 from Sendai Karamiso Ramen sold
  • $147.65 cash donations
  • total $951.65
2015.04.27 2150427086980 三菱東京UFJ銀行


普通 7637273

44,361 円

(0 円)

コウエキザイダンホウジン ニツポンザイダン TAROS NOODLES 取引成立
  • With your kind permission, we have donated via UNICEF, 30% of the funds to the children affected by the recent Nepal Earthquake and 20% of the funds to the Vanuatu kids devastated by Cyclone Pam.

Donation details – Ref: AQ1RC00AF53F

Amount (AUD):
Appeal name:
Cyclone Pam Appeal
Appeal name:
Nepal Earthquake Appeal

It’s so saddening to see the never ending occurrence of world wide natural disasters taking the toll of so many innocent lives.  We initially requested customer’s support in raising funds for the Japanese children but there are so many disasters and all of them so cruel, I hope contributing customers can accept my decision in allocating some funds to the respective recent disasters.  I encourage readers to access Unicef and donate whatever you can.  It is so easy, with payments taken from credit cards or paypal.

Regards, Taro

Ascot Open Thru Easter! (CBD will be Closed)

March 28, 2015

Easter & ANZAC Day Trading Schedule


Date                                                CBD                                  Ascot


Apr 2 Thu                                       Open                                 Open

Apr 3 Good Friday                          Closed                               Open*

Apr 4 Easter Sat                             Closed                               Open*

Apr 5 Easter Sun                            Closed                               Open

Apr 6 Easter Mon                           Closed                               Open*

Apr 7 Tue                                        Open                                 Open


Apr 25 Sat Anzac Day                    Closed                               Closed


We’ll try opening Ascot over Easter! It is actually near impossible to trade with penalty wage rates which including super costs amount to around $50 per hour per casual employee so just to try to make it a bit more feasible for us to serve you, on the public holidays, 3rd, 4th and 6th, we ask your cooperation in bearing a small surcharge of $2.00 per adult. Our full time staff including myself will all be working hard and looking forward to seeing you at Ascot!


Thank you! Taro


Taro’s Ramen – Ascot

Izakaya Style with a more diverse Tapas (Otsumami) Menu and Drinks Menu!

1/145 Racecourse Rd

Ascot QLD 4007

Parking at Rear of Shop!


Taro’s Loyalty Program Coming Soon

March 24, 2015

Honestly the economic environment for us minnow restaurants is not getting any better but we have been truly fortunate with amazingly wonderful customers that we wanted to recognize the loyalty of them (you!).

The cards are being printed as we speak and I think we can launch the program sometime soon.

Collect a stamp for every $15 spent and get a reward after every 8 stamps. Your 4th reward is a $20 voucher or official team attire. Choose between apron or t-shirt. The apparel is brought to you by the team at the Print Bar.

I just want to tell the story of how I ended up using them. Finding them was probably fate! I wasn’t happy with the quality of t shirts made at a mega international printing company so I was googling for a local company that can do it at reasonable prices. So I found the Print Bar online and spoke on the phone to set up an appointment and I drove myself down and popped in.

When I walked into the shop, I was greeted with a scream in the face, “Oh my god it’s Taro!! I love your Ramen!!”

And now, I don’t want to sound biased after such a whole hearted greeting from young lady Miss A but the entire team at the Print Bar were a pure delight to do work with till the end. They have such a cool creative vibe flowing in their Windsor Office and workshop. After I passed them the USB containing logos, Mr L edited it into a design on the spot and 1 week later, all finished! Being a local business, I was able to check the quality of the material of the cloth etc and speak to them about different options about longer lasting screen print method etc. and all the designing and printing is done in house right there. Also I don’t know for sure but i felt like I was in a boutique fashion outlet and the various designs (the shapes) of the t-shirts seemed hipster approved coo? Is that an appropriate expression? Anyway not outdated.

Owner of the Print Bar, Jarred and myself in the team colors!

Miss A holding our design screen which physically hold the logo in position which means the design is better quality and longer lasting than a computer printing option.




Tonkotsu Soup

March 17, 2015

Ok, with Ascot up and running and BrisAsia done and dusted, I am continuing my never ending task of bettering the quality of our ramen.

Have recently changed the tonkotsu extraction method to triple extraction. 1st go to get the gelatinous texture and the main source of umami and pork unless of the soup, second go to deepen the flavour, the third go to get the fats all broken down to get a creamy emulsified layer.

Any noticeable difference? Feed back welcome.


Suntory Premium Malts

March 16, 2015

This is going to be a long one because this Beer is something that needs to be given proper respect.

On Feb 25th, I was invited to Suntory Premium Malts demonstration event. There I met Mr Ohno and Mr Nakai from Suntory Head office who spoke about this amazing beer.

When I left Japan 10 years ago, Kirin and Asahi were battling it out, with the main focus being the creation of a cheaper beer. In terms of a quality beer, Asahi dominated with the Super Dry and Sapporo had Yebisu as the only premium beer at the time. One company was determined to change things not by making it cheap, but by making the best tasting beer Japan had ever had. Suntory.

They came up with Premium Malts and not only overtook Yebisu as the top premium beer status, it sold and sold and sold. The rest is history and suntory have finally decided to bring its own stuff to down under. Considering the majors capital relationships and partnerships, it was only natural that suntory was the one to do it aside from our other quality brewer, Orion.

The characteristic of PM is a deep flavour with elegant aroma. They use hops from Czech and Germany and they utilize a double decoction method for their malts and the hops are added twice before and after to provide the rich aroma and taste.

PM is only made in a few select breweries in Japan which sites have been chosen for access to superior spring water. After brewed, temperature controlled all the way to Australia. Reefer container and refrigerated trucks to our local supplier JFC.

We as restaurants have a big responsibility to serve this precious drop. Because if we serve it right, it becomes a completely different beast from the canned or bottled stuff.
At the same time, it’s so easy to mess it up and create a worse tasting beer than the bottles and cans.

In essence, we must keep the beer server and glasses hygienic, keep the gas pressure at ideal local levels, and utilize good pouring technique.

I was taught the balance of CO2 and internal keg pressure was actually more inportant than I thought. Internal temp and internal pressure must match each other. Keg’s internal gas pressure varies with the ambient temperature and is approximately as follows.

10deg 1.7kg/cm3
20deg 2.6
30deg 3.5

If the keg pressure is not matched with external CO2 gas, if too strong, gas seeps into the beer itself creating too sharp taste. If too weak, beer is flat.

Ohno San goes into detail about instructing us about the keg hooking up process. Set gas initially at 1. Means keg temp is equivalent of 2deg. Hold beer tube vertical. Once hooked up the internal pressure of the keg will force beer up the Tube. Also due to the added CO2 gas pressure of the system being weaker than the keg, gas will start to separate from the liquid inside the system and this is evident in the tube. you gently bring gas pressure up until bubbles stop coming up in the tube, which means the internal gas pressure is now balanced.

The purpose of the all so important Head has 5 purposes.
1. Texture
2. A cap to seal aroma and taste from escaping
3. A cap to seal gas from escaping
4. A cap to reduce oxidization
5. Acts as a Natural esky to keep icy cold temperature

Suntory have only released the 10ltr kegs. This is to make sure that the beer is consumed in a few days. In an industry that pursues efficiency and economics more than anything, this is very impressive. As you know, Aussie industry standard keg size is 50ltrs.

The beer must be poured gently in the beginning to 70% and then finished off with a creamy head for the remaining 30%.

The glassware must be hand washed to keep clean, the servers must be cleaned daily, the kegs must be stored at stable conditions most importantly not stir it up to create unnecessary internal pressure. In this sense, once arriving our shop, the kegs are left at room temperature next to the server ready to be hooked up without moving it.

Ohno San says that Suntory creates good beer but it is up to the restaurants and bars to make it absolutely awesome beer. And even in Japan, sadly he only sees 10% of the shops that serve PM serving it at levels he is happy with.

Angel rings. When you drink a well poured PM, you will see the bubbles stick to the internal of the glass in rings, one ring per sip.

Smoky bubbles. The less bubbles from the bottom the better but the tiny layer of bubbles directly underneath the creamy head is responsible for rejuvenating the creamy head. Just by tilting the glass and drinking it, the smokey bubbles recreates another layer of creamy head.

Glass or mug. We were given the choice of glass or mug. Both are 380ml capacity and honestly, from a business perspective, it looks bigger and more manly and appealing in a mug so I think you will see more shops opt for the mug. But I took Ohno san’s advice in the curved shape enhancing the aroma so I have employed the glass for Taro’s.

Suntory Premium Malts Nama will be available at our city shop from tomorrow March 17th. The Ascot shop is on the waiting list for the next server to arrive, shouldn’t be too long.




Bangalow Sweetpork Article on Bagguse

March 7, 2015

Bagguse Magazine, Japanese monthly magazine posted an article on Bangalow Sweetpork and introduced our pork belly shabu shabu hotpot a as the way to enjoy it.

The shabu shabu requires time to prepare so pls call and leave a message.




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