At Raku Rice &Noodle Bar slurping is encouraged. It is actually proper noodle eating etiquette.
The new downtown restaurant specializes in ramen, served in a rich broth made with natural ingredients.
Inspired by noodle bars in bigger centres like Vancouver, New York and San Francisco Raku owners Danny Yan and Masako Manton set up their restaurant in a similar fashion.
Four bar tables line crisp, clean white walls with more traditional dining tables making up the rest of the seating.
The bar seating encourages communal eating and is great for quick lunches during a work day.
“Ramen has always been big in Asian communities,” said Manton, who is originally from Japan.
Yan was born in Hong Kong, and Raku’s menu reflects the fusion of both Japanese and Chinese flavours.
“He (Yan) has been studying ramen soup for a long time, traveling to San Francisco and many places, and the Chinese people specialize in good soup,” said Manton. “Then I jumped in with the Japanese point of view.”
“The broth that we make is all natural from chicken and pork bones that we boil for three days,” said Yan. “That’s the difference, you can taste the meat and the vegetables.”
The business owners might be serious about their food but the friends constantly joke around and truly enjoy being at their restaurant, working on recipes and meeting customers.
The message board that greets their customers as they enter sums up the restaurant’s vibe, with its “Rules for eating noodles,” such as: Chopsticks only, forks are for amateurs; viciously attack the noodles as soon as we drop it off, no time to be polite and wait until your friend’s meal arrives, your noodles are starting to get limp and soggy, nobody likes limp noods; lastly, slurp like your life depends on it, it makes the soup taste better.
Manton and Yan opened Raku on 30th Avenue, next to Scattered Goods, March 12 with a lot of help from their families and friends.
Manton’s husband Rob did a lot of the painting and Yan’s wife Ada has been very supportive. They both are thankful for the help they’ve had with their children, including Manton’s four month-old, during this busy time.
Tan and Manton have experience in the restaurant industry, making their new venture a bit easier.
Yan’s family were the original owners of Sizzling Wok in Village Green Centre, which they owned for 20 years and Yan owned Wonton Express in Vernon.
Manton was a server at Mahoroba and brings her customer service experience with her.
The noodles are brought in from Vancouver along with lotus root to make their signature lotus chips that look like a piece of art with their natural intricate pattern.
A sample of some of Raku’s offerings are ramen with additions such as sliced pork belly, grilled chicken, soft boiled egg and spicy garlic oil; beef and tempura udon; vermicelli; salad bowls and protein bowls made with rice; spring rolls, edamame, gyoza, tempura and lots of gluten free and vegetarian options.
“We just want to bring something different to Vernon,” said Yan.