The quest for good South-East and East Asian food in Leeds continues. So far I think there are at least two good Thai places (Saengarun, Cottage, others?), just the one Chinese that's anything to write home about (Red Chilli), no Korean, no Malaysian, no Vietnamese but at least a couple of good Japanese places. I'm including Little Tokyo alongside Fuji Hiro here, as I enjoyed some fairly good ramen there over the weekend.
Little Tokyo is a different proposition, in that it's much more aimed at the evening out at a restaurant end of the market, rather than the quick bite, functional canteen style at Fuji Hiro. The interior here comes complete with a pond full of koi carp, a mini waterfall, and tables and chairs hewn from roughly cut tree trunks, bark and all. Perhaps this is authentically Japanese? Don't ask me though I've never been. The menu is also wider ranging, covering soup noodles, stir-fries, an extensive list of bento boxes and a selection of sushi and sashimi.
As I just wanted a quick meal, and for purposes of comparison, I stuck to the noodles and a side order of dumplings. Chicken chilli ramen was pretty good, the broth having a good depth of flavour and the noodles retaining bite. There were lots of different vegetables in the mix too, adding texture and variety. The only issue was the inclusion of too much hot chilli. I like my food spicy but this contained a lot of birds eye or finger chilli with all the seeds still in. The heat level would have been fine in a more full on dish (a laksa for example, where all the other flavours are an assault on the senses), but the rest of this was quite subtle so the chilli was a bit overwhelming. Still good though, I'm being quite picky here.
Crystal prawn dumplings were also nice, but lacked a bit in the execution. The prawn filling was really sweet, juicy and gingery, but the skins were slightly overcooked and had gone a touch gluey and chewy. Not sure about the crockery by the way, I prefer it plain and simple as opposed to the made in school pottery class approach found here.
With a bottle of lager this cost just under £15, almost exactly the same as a similar order at Fuji Hiro. It was all good stuff, but could have been better. So, on the basis of my completely unscientific sample of one meal at each place, I'm awarding my 'best ramen in Leeds championship' to Fuji Hiro.
24 Central Road