Ah, Sunshine. A bustling suburb that is overwhelmingly filled with 101 Vietnamese restaurants that all remain competitive despite the lack of diversity in cuisine. I’m not surprised though, the high density of Vietnamese locals within the area is living proof that there is no such as thing as having ‘too many’ Vietnamese restaurants.
Sōko is one of the few establishments in Sunshine that is seemingly out on a mission to break the status quo. Their weapon of choice? Ramen. Hampshire road aside, I believe Sōko is the first Japanese restaurant in Sunshine to serve Ramen to the locals, maybe the only Japanese restaurant.
Sōko is primarily, takeaway driven and heavily rely on traffic through their online ordering systems or through their telephone. This would explain why space is limited at Sōko and we were lucky to nab the only two seats available. I did see the owner bring out some chairs as the night progressed for other diners who chose to dine in.
A staple order that I can’t seemingly shake when I enter any Japanese eateries. It was fresh, hot out the fryer and as juicy as you can imagine a piece of Karaage can be. Ticked all the boxes.
The Gyozas were oddly shaped attributing to them being homemade, not store bought. The flavors were simple, pork and cabbage and fried well.
We had a hard time choosing our choices and enlisted the help of the very friendly waitress that was more than happy to assist.
Hunter was informed of a choice that was not on the menu. He ordered the Spicy Tonkotsu Shoyu Ramen and reported that the broth was very similar to a Shoyu-based Ramen he had in Japan. The broth was not overly salty but was it was evident the Shoyu was there. The pork belly was tender and he mentioned the egg was a few seconds away from being perfect because he likes his egg whites a bit more well done.
I am a fan of Tan Tan Men and was stoked when the waitress told me it was their specialty and was popular with the locals. One quick slurp and I loved everything about it. The broth was rich and creamy from the sesame and the preserved veggies and mince did their best to cut out the richness. The egg was soft and delicate but the star of the dish would have to be noodles. Springy, chewy and for lack of a better word to describe, the noodles were perfectly al dente. It was a pleasure to eat, slurping mouthfuls until the inevitable.
I would imagine the experience to be vastly different if these dishes were to be eaten through delivery or takeaway. Any time added, while the noodles become increasingly gluggy and ingredients being over cooked from the steam would reduce the experience in my opinion.
In the mean time, I’m just glad I don’t have to drive all the way to the city for Ramen when I need my fix.
3.5 moustaches out of 5