I’ve been ignoring Sumo Ramen for ages. You know, the ramen shop in Chinatown on Saint-Laurent near Viger Ouest marked with orange posters starring the sumo wrestler and ramen cartoons? Yeah that one. Yoooo, my bad. If I didn’t have a reason to go before, I do now. All the action (and lots of it during the rush) is on the second floor in a small space maximized with as many tables as possible. The staff is warm and efficient, prices are wallet-friendly and the little bit I’ve had tells me I’ll be at Sumo Ramen when I want a quick in-and-out lunch or late-night eat on a budget.
Yaki-Gyozas, Japanese pan-fried dumplings, go hand in hand with Ramen but I would rather save $3.99 then spend it on their version. Served brown bottoms up, 5 pieces are framed in paper-thin lattice that cracks at the light jabbing of chopsticks. They’re coated with so much oil and filled with a boring pork and cabbage mixture that can’t be salvaged by a dip in soy-rice-vinegar sauce. They should be stripped of their house specialty title. They’re not good, not bad, just meh.
With a name like Sumo Ramen, getting everything but a hot, heaping bowl is mad. They’ve got close to 20 different kinds but they’re essentially all the same. The only real difference is the meat or seafood. First, choose whatever appeals to you. Next, select broth: pepper, soy (shoyu) or miso (highly recommend it). Stay on the ramen track and go with “hand-made” ramen noodles, not udon. At no extra charge, dress your meal with some or all given toppings. Special ones will cost you.
The Volcano Ramen is a real steal at $7.99, particularly when paired with miso broth and all add-ins. Steaming in a massive bowl, a web of thin, bouncy noodles bathes in a cloudy, lip-smacking miso soup base, nutty sesame seeds ever-present. Toppings include everything that comes free; that’s half a boiled egg, yolk soft and wiggly, snappy-go-limp bean sprouts, sweet corn kernels (miso only), earthy ear wood mushrooms, slippery wakame (seaweed) and mild green onions. The start ingredient is the minced pork. The fact that it’s heavily marinated in spicy oil gives it a defining edge over the other meat options. It tangles with and enhances the already flavorful broth. The heat is far from Volcano-like, it’ll get your lips tingling at most. Like always, sample a spoonful (mini-ladleful really) of soup above all else. Then, work on the noodles because their elastic integrity diminishes the longer they soak. Light slurping is inevitable. Don’t feel weird, it’s proper Japanese table manners – says you’re enjoying your meal. And for me, the Volcano Ramen is plenty to slurp, savor and smile about!
You bet I’ll be back. I’ve got my eye on the Kimchi Ramen and BBQ Pork Ramen. I also wonder if the pepper and soy broths are on par with the miso. Speaking from one experience and my gut instinct, I’m not the least bit interested in the appetizers and non-ramen mains. I want to be here for the ramen, and the ramen only. At this point, I can’t say I like anything else, that’s for future me to know. But I do know one thing – I’m already hooked on the Volcano Ramen with miso broth. Even if all else fails, it’s the one thing that’ll keep me coming back to Sumo Ramen for a cheap, filling and delicious fix.
1007 rue Saint-Laurent | map