Results: Ecuador and Kumamoto Charity Appeal

May 23, 2016


Results: Ecuador and Kumamoto Earthquake Charity Appeal

Thank you everyone for their support in contributing to this cause.  We are happy to report the following activity summary for the $1 for every bowl of ramen sold charity appeal held last month.

Period: April 20-26

Result: Ascot 690 bowls, CBD 1188 bowls
Total Donation from Taro’s $1878.00
Total Donations Collected from Customers $493.75
Total Funds Raised for Donation $2371.75

Donations Sent to the following Charities

  • $371.75 NPO Kyushu Ramen Party
    Headed by an ex ramen chef, Mr Hamada, they are a charity that does ramen pop ups at various disaster areas and are funded purely by donations, manned by volunteers. I was dearly hoping to be of some help to Kumamoto and Tohoku in my own way so am happy to be able to contribute to their activities as if we were there ourselves.
依頼人名 TAROS RAMEN オーストラリア ブリスベン
振込先金融機関 ゆうちょ銀行
店名 一九九
取引種類 当座
口座番号 59572
受取人名 ボランテイアバンク
お振込金額 27,677 円


  • $1000.00 Ecuador via UNHCR
    Have thought that UN refugee humanitarian organization UNHCR has a very responsible role in the aftermath of the Ecuador situation and have decided they are appropriate recipients.
Donation Receipt
Australia for UNHCR
ABN: 35 092 843 322
Donation Reference: 8d38352cf4e844f
Donation Receipt: 70647
Frequency of Donation: One-Off
Donation Amount: $1000.00
Donation Date: 23/05/2016


  • $1000.00 Kumamoto via Plan International Japan
    I always want to put the benefit of the children first in any disaster situation so Plan International should be able to put our funds to good use.

■ カード会社請求屋号:プラン・ジャパン
■ ご購入金額        :74,450円
■ お支払い回数      :一括
■ 商品購入日時      :2016-05-23 20:49:07
■ 加盟店連絡先
■ 加盟店コード      :37647
■ オーダNo          :27334246-420229-279484147-220887552


食育/Food Education 2

May 20, 2016


“Food Education 2”

There are actually quite a few “little” big fans of our ramen especially the dashi driven Shio, shoyu and tsukemen. These guys actually choose us as their birthday meals over McDonald’s. I am quite flattered and am slightly moved thinking that I am contributing a bit to a future of eating well.

I try to flood my normal adult customers with information about the technique, source and passion that goes into my bowl but that kind of intellectual overload aside,  the kids just simply love our flavour. Some of us adults including me, have been crammed with overwhelming flavours for a long time that we have just become so used to overloaded flavours and we just keep on wanting more stimulation or unconsciously leaning towards heavier flavours. The kids on the other hand have the most sensitive palates. They usually dislike spicy or too strong flavours. I think that is the way they should be. Their palate will naturally mature and start to want the spiciness or the stimulation as they grow older but while they are young their palate should be free to explore the various different foods within subtle natural flavours and that should hone their sense of taste and make them able to appreciate subtle differences. Once they are introduced to heavy or artificial flavours, it could be detrimental to their palate growth and building a sense of taste refined enough to enjoy the various flavours in the world, let alone growing up healthily, period. I find it intriguing and humbled that kids find the Shio or the shoyu to be a favourite in their field of subtle natural flavours.

Thanks kids and thanks parents for educating their palates right!


実はTaro’s Ramen、意外にもお子様のファンが多いんです。特に出汁の効いた塩や醤油、つけ麺などを好んで誕生日などの日に指定してくれる子が多いのです。後は、ご帰国された方とお話をする際に子供がTaro’sのラーメンが食べたいと言っているとも良く言われます。





Kyoto – Meimon/Gogyo/Ichibanboshi/Watanabe Seimen

July 2, 2013

19:00 June 30 やっぱ京都で最初の食事はここ以外ないかなー!学生のときはできなかったゴージャスサイドメニュー全種類をつまみに親友と楽しく飲りました!やっぱ名門うますぎ!


Aji no Meimon Head Quarters @ Shichijo Shichihonmatsu.  This was probably the best bowl rated by university student Taro Akimoto 20years old 17 years ago.  Sticky collagenous chicken soup with no added oils.  Enjoyed the same taste, had to be my first bowl to start my ramen memoir journey.

21:00 June 30 二件目もラーメン屋!一風堂系の焦がし味噌ラーメン五行。町家を改築したオサレなお店、接客もいいし参考になりました。美味しかった。温度が半端ない!あっつ!て感じ。


Gogyo @ Shijo Sakuranobanba.  Recommended by N san.  Not on my memory list, but after reading about it, a good choice for a few drinks and nibbles and a bowl to finish things off.  The atmosphere and service standards, high motivation of the staff creating a vivbrant feel, all very good stimulation.  They’ve refurbished a Machiya style house probably 300-400 years old to a ramen shop and bar.  The burnt miso ramen’s burn tongue temperature, a really interesting one making me want to experiment too!

11:30 July 1本日一発目は渡辺製麺@西院。日本離れたのが8年前なんで魚介豚骨つけ麺を始めて食べた。魚介濃厚豚骨って話だけどデンプンぽいドロドロさは天一系に魚粉いれた感じ?麺はなかなかだけど僕だったらもう少し加水高めてもっともちもちさせるかな。

WatanabeWatanabe 2

Watanage Seimen @ Saiin.  Have not actually had the chance to try out the Tonkotsu Fish Stock Tsukemen which became main stream several years ago after I left Japan.  So this one also not on my memory list but good breakfast to start the day.  The soup felt not so thick from Tonkotsu protein and fatness but more from starch driven thickness.  Which is not unpleasant but left me still wondering if the real famous shops are also like this.  The noodles also could have been a bit more resilient chewiness which I think can be bettered with more moisture during the noodle knedding process.  Anyway a decent bowl.

13:00 July 1思い出の一番星。マスターは屋台3年、岡崎で34年。味も素敵な笑顔も全く変わっていませんでした。僕はまだ3年、頑張るぞ!

IchibanboshiIchiban 2Ichiban 3

Ichibanboshi @ Okazaki.  From the outside, you can never tell that this coffee shop looking place is a ramen shop if it werent for the tonkotsu aroma reeking the perimeter.  I rode my bycicle around the corner and smiled to myself as I knew straigth away from the smell that they were open from down the block.  This is the place that i frequented dueing my student days. Probably twice a week.  I was able to speak to the master in depth for the first time in 18 years and introduce myself as a fan and that I have followed his path in Brisbane Australia.  He was very happy to hear of my story and we shook hands.  His stock is tonkotsu predominant and charsiu seasoning as the predominant tare.  Topping is 3-4 decent slices of belly and or shoulder charsiu (very very good!), sprouts, shallots, bamboo shoots.  I always add some raw egg.  He has been keeping his style for 3 years as mobile yatai and 34 years at the current location.  He mentioned there are so many restaurants in Kyoto but still there was a need for a different taste and went for a distinct tonkotsu predominant ramen compared with the other shops that used chicken mainly.  Compare to his 37 years, I am still not even born.  Gambaro!

14:00 July 1 Tenkaippin Head Quarters @ Kitashirakawa. (just as a spiritual pilgrimage, no eating).


Other shots.  Lost track of time exploring and testing my memory and wasn’t able to score my fifth bowl of ramen.

Nishiki Markets and me sampling some ayu and hamo.

NishikiNishiki hamoNishiki eating

Doshisha Uni, Otani Uni.


Nanzenji Temple and Biwako Sosui.

Biwako 2Biwako SosuiNanzenji

A shot of my super fast ride of the day ($5 for the day and quicker than car or train!).


Farewell Japan till next time!

2012 March Continued Support for Japan Earthquake / Final Report

May 15, 2012


Apologies for not being able to follow through with the Japan Earthquake 1 year memorial charity promotion event.  We have finally delivered the funds to the Hatachi Fund as detailed below.  Thank you everyone once again for your warm support! 

1)Donation amount from proceeds for week starting Mar 12th — $743.00
($1.00 per bowl, 743 bowls sold)
2) Donation amount from proceeds of the Ultimate Truffle Ramen — $75.00
($3.00 per bowl, 25 bowls sold)
3)Customer donations including truffle noodle upgrade — $189.25
Grand Total: $1007.25
Exchanged at 83.63 TTM rate as at April 24th
= 84236yen

The Hatachi Fund (
Supporting kids affected by the earthquake and tsunami until they turn 20. 
日付 受付番号 お振込先口座 取引金額(振込手数料) お受取人名 ご依頼人名 受付状況
2012.05.14 2120514024776  三菱東京UFJ銀行 本店 普通 7637273  84,236 円  (0 円)  コウエキザイダンホウジン ニツポンザイダン  アキモト タロウ 取引成立

Kura kotteri tonkotsu ramen (packaged)

March 8, 2012

My readers would probably know how religious ramen is in Japan. My mother got excited that our local ramen shop in Shichigahama “Kura” did a collaboration stint with mid size convenience store chain “Circle K” and came out with an instant cup ramen.

In 2009 May, I went and visited the owner of Kura, Mitsutsuka san and he was kind enough to spare time for me, listened patiently to my passionate plan to open up a ramen shop in Australia and gave me some valuable words of advise. Amongst pessimists and realists, Mitsuka san was one of the few people who said, “it took me 3 -4 years before customers steadily started coming. I can tell you it’s definitely hard but with your passion, I am sure you will make it!”.

My mother drove around Sendai because they were sold out everywhere and in the end was able to secure one for me.

The noodles are not the fried type but actual noodles freeze dried. The soup is not powder but concentrated liquid. And in the aluminum pouch there is a pork belly charsiu and minced backfat.
Of course some freeze dried shallots and a piece of real nori.

The main instruction on the lid calls for hot water to be poured in and to let stand for 5 minutes. Meanwhile keep the charsiu pouch and soup pouch warm by keeping it flat on the lid. However on the pouch it says to enjoy better, heat pouch in hot water for 2 min. So I opted for the enjoy further route and cooked the soup and charsiu pouches piping hot.

Result. Pretty impressive for an instant ramen. Can tell Kura’s distinctive notes of chicken and pork flavors and the minced backfat topping really intensifies the bowl. Noodles don’t come close to theirs but are some fine noodles for a packaged product. Only problem is the small serving size and I ended up adding my own thin curly noodles to finish it off. Can you see that Kura uses the same bowl as us!?

Kura had been hit badly by the tsunami being in the lower part of Shichigahama/Tagajo area. But I was happy to hear that Mitsutsuka san was alright and was able to reopen in several months. It is especially nice to see this cup ramen as it tells me that he is doing really well now.





Taro’s Girls

February 15, 2012

Like Charlie has his Angels, I have my Taro’s Girls. And those of you who have visited my shop would know, mighty beautiful girls they are too!  They perform backflips and beat up my enemies and greet me every morning “Good morning, Taro–!”. 

Let us take one step back. In Japan, it is customary for girls to give chocolates to the boys of their choice on Valentine’s Day.

There are the so called Honmei Choco (true blue) which are home made or expensive and fancy and then there are the Giri Choco (social necessities) which are a couple dollars for a dozen so the girls can hand them out to the losers that they feel sorry for.

This is the special opportunity for girls to work up the courage to give a chocolate to their admired boys.

Provided my popularity with girls, it may be easy for you to imagine that this was one of the most dreaded days of the year. I can probably count the number of chocolates I received in my life. Some from my wife and past girlfriend(s?). Some Giri Choco from K san at my old job, a couple giri from the girls in the same hanggliding club during uni, some from the girl managers at the American football club in highschool. And that’s basically it. Most average Japanese boys would have a few fond memories of an unexpected Honmei after school at the locker hall, none for me.

Anyway, yesterday I was hit with a surprise attack. It is in the Giri category for sure but the thought moved me a lot. Because contrary to my joked imagination scene, we have a very professional relationship and these girls are my aces, my lean mean ramen machines. So when they came out with that box of chocolate written as from “Taro’s Girls”, it made my day! Thank you so much girls! You guys are the best!!!!

Oh and I forgot to mention that March 14th is white day and boys get to give back a white chocolate or a candy or
something expensive back to the girls.



Phuc Deli Viet @ Indooroopilly

January 24, 2012

This is a Vietnamese noodle shop in the Indooroopilly shopping centre food court situated adjacent to Pig and Whistle.

The owners are a friend of a friend and thanks to the kind hook up arranged by my friend, I was given the chance to interview them while Taro’s Ramen was still in its feasibility stage.

When i met them, they strongly urged me to stay in the resources industry and that hospitality was not an industry for a person like me (with young family no experience) to venture into. When they heard my plan of noodle shop they raised this shop as a relatively successful outlet but that it requires a perfectly efficient management to make it successful and it was impossible for them to suggest an inexperienced middle aged man could replicate from scratch. If I was so adamant, they told me to first of all get into the actual battlefield and see for myself and that I should get sick of it and give up on my stupid idea of opening up a noodle shop. I guess it is my nature not to listen once I’ve decided… Being a totally over confident arrogant bum, i completely ignored their advice and it was just last Sunday after 2.5 years of receiving their advice I went to see this shop.

Massively popular when I visited there was a cue of about ten people in front of me. Price is 15.90 for a pho or 16.90 for a laksa or curry.

I ordered and watched in fascination as the two cooks assembled the incoming orders. I had gone through enough hardship to realize how sensible their advice was but I appreciated first hand the operation that was described as “perfectly efficient”. Not a second of idling. Efficient to the max. Everything is prepped beforehand and the cook pops the noodles and veggies into the big cooking pot using the noodle baskets. No timers or scales are used just the cooks experience. He does one order in about 30 seconds as fast as the girl at the counter serves a new customer. I just watched in awe as he processed the orders one after another and didn’t even notice my own order being finished when i heard a number about 5 orders after mine was being called.

My wife pointed out that this was normal service and Taro’s is still too slow. I pondered on this point. Our focus at taro’s is consistent quality. noodles are weighed, cooking times are timed by the second and we keep the soup and seasoning sauce separate till the last moment so the taste doesn’t deteriorate. As a result our processing time is slower so there are physical limitations on getting our speed up on par with Phuc Deli Viet but I did get inspired by how efficient they run their operation and customers appreciating the quick turnaround. And this leading to a positive effect of customers returning knowin that they won have to wait long if they come here. I will see if we can apply any of their efficiencies to our procedures to better my turnaround time.

And in relation to the advice given to me 2 years ago, was it a sensible advice? Most definitely. I would do the same if I was in their shoes. Do I regret ignoring it? Course not!!!