Menya Sandaime was an important moment for Melbourne's ramen scene. It boldly went where no eatery had gone before: serving ramen 24 hours a day. Then it closed, rebranding as Shujinko in 2016.
The good news: the important stuff hasn't changed. Shujinko still serves true Tokyo-style tsukemen with thick bonito stock, and the melt-in-your-mouth char-grilled charsiu is possibly the best in town.
This is a place that doesn't treat Melburnians like ramen beginners. There are three main soup ramen (normal, black and spicy), but there's also a stir-fried version and a cold version with jumbo prawns made for summer.
Unlike other ramen-joint owners, Kevin Pak wants to cater for the night crawlers. While Shujinko’s trading hours are a little more conservative these days, the place is still emulating dark Tokyo, where salarymen and university students stumble across a lantern beacon after a big night out, pre-emptively curing their hangover with umami-laden ramen before the last train leaves.
Some may prolong their party with izakaya bar snacks such as gyoza, fried chicken, fried croquette and of course, more beer and sake. Is Pak's plan working?
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