Japanese culture is quite prominent in Melbourne, and we’re super lucky to have many incredible Japanese locals bringing their family recipes to our streets.
There are so many amazing ramen joints scattered throughout Melbourne, but with most of them being in true hole-in-the-wall style, they can be hard to stumble across.
With that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of the best ramen joints in Melbourne.
Shujinko is a Russell Street staple, operating 24 hours/7 days a week, just like the ramen joints in Tokyo. A bowl of steaming hot ramen broth with perfectly slow-cooked pork belly and bottomless noodles is pretty much the dream. Shujinko has a few ramen to choose from; with their classic Shujinko Ramen, which is the most authentic and simple style, Black Ramen has shellfish, spicy seasoning, and an extra spicy Karakuchi Ramen, as well as vegan and vegetarian options. Other staples on the menu, such as gyoza and karaage, are world-class. You can’t go to Shujinko without getting a side of karaage; take our word for it.
Carlton, CBD & Hawthorn
We can’t speak for everyone, but Hakata Gensuke is the ramen joint that we keep coming back to for its authenticity. There’s nothing specific that makes it the best; it just is. Every ramen comes as a base of noodles and soup, with you adding all the extras you want. The service is snappy, the restaurants are always loud and busy, and there are no formalities but to be a decisive ramen-lover. The broth is just the right amount of salty, the pork belly is cooked to perfection, and the spice hits you in just the right spot. There’s nothing that Hakata Gensuke ramen can’t cure; a broken heart, cold hands or a craving for our favourite Japanese flavours.
Collingwood & Preston
Shop Ramen is the perfect combination of Melbourne’s trendy and Japanese authenticity, with neon signs and minimalistic interiors, a small offering with everything homemade. Their Tokyo-style ramen leans more towards a simpler style, giving real comfort-food energy rather than an excessive flavour explosion. The ramens are simple, delicious and really well-executed, without being as rich as other ramen joints. They have four ramen on the menu – pork belly, beef brisket, barbeque chicken and vegan tofu, each unique in flavour but equally loved.
A bastion of exemplary Hakata-style ramen in the city centre. Their noodles are made fresh every day, with free top-ups on offer. They specialise in Tonkotsu ramen, which produces a thick and creamy broth made from pork bones. They offer 10 different styles of ramen, and each of them is super rich in flavour, the kind of flavour that brings you back wanting more. It’s a small hole-in-the-wall style restaurant with huge pop-up vibes, which makes it feel like you’ve escaped to Japan. They serve a creation called “cocktail draft beer”, which we won’t describe; you’ll have to try it. And while you do, stay true to their motto: ‘Keep calm, eat ramen’.