Yah Yah Ya Ramen had just recently opened up in the corner of Union Square where Richmond Sushi is. It’s nice to know that ramen shops aren’t all saturated around Downtown area, but I’m still somewhat skeptical due to the fact that it’s NOT in Downtown. Contradicting, I know. With grand opening flower arrangements still decorating the front door, Big Fly and I were prepared that they were still working out some kinks, but we still decided to show them some love.
Inside was nice and cozy, with a nicely drawn mural on one wall of their ramen, and listing ways to order their noodles and soup in Japanese. There were already a couple tables seated when we arrived, which showed good promise. Staff was a bit slow, but we were seated promptly with a nice smile.
A simple one-sided print out menu was given, listing the ramens they had to offer, additional toppings and sides, and how you can order your chashu, firmness of noodles, and flavour of broth. All these customization is still new to the Vancouver ramen scene, so it was interesting to see that Yah Yah Ya was taking the initiative and being one of the first to do so. I ordered the Shio Ramen which is basically salt, the most basic of basic, perfect to test out a soup base. I chose everything regular for the soup and noodles, but extra fat for the pork, and adding on an extra aji tama. This was my result. The menu didn’t indicate what was included in the ramen, resulting in both Big Fly and I having an extra half of egg. Usually that wouldn’t be a problem, but seeing how its so overdone, we were not happy to be paying an extra $1 for it. For order the fatty chashu, it came rather lean, the meat itself was tender but rather dry and flavourless. You can tell the soup had a nice base to it, it was rich and all the right flavours in there, but I found it a bit too oily. Noodles were great. Cooked al dente, it had an excellent bite to it.
Big Fly ordered his exactly has mine, but instead he got their number one best seller; Shoyu Ramen. From this picture, you can get a better glimpse of the tender-yet-dry pork and the oiliness of the soup. The pork reminds me of the leftovers in the Asian soups my dad would prepare at home, how all the flavours has gone out of the overcooked meat, leaving it bland yet fall apart tender and dry at the same time, which is not how typical chashu should be made. Soup was a lot more thicker for the Shoyu, but it fell flat and not as salty as you would expect it to be.
I also added on a side order of Butter Corn to go along side my ramen, but I didn’t expect it to be brought out as such. A dish of cold canned corn, with a slice of butter on top. It was, to say the least, ‘interesting’ but really not what you would expect.
Overall, they have a lot of room for growth, but I do see a future for them since they don’t have much competition here in Richmond. On a side note, on the other side of the mural was framed pictures of their three locations in Japan. “Yah Yah Ya” does seem like an interesting name, confusing at first, but quirky. In Japanese the characters are written out as “家”, which can mean store, shop, home, or more commonly; family. Which is somewhat how you feel from the service since our server came over to ask us how we thought of the ramen, and changes we would have liked. We gave our two cents in regards to the soup, menu clarifications and the chashu. She listened intently and even called out the head chef, which turned out to be one of the owners. No need to say, we had some good conversations and acquaintances that day.