Cover Marudori Shoyu

If you love Mendokoro Ramenba and Ramen Yushoken (who doesn't?), you're going to love Marudori

The popularity of Mendokoro Ramenba and Ramen Yushoken is no secret. Passionate foodies regularly brave the winding lines outside the notorious ramen shops, loyal to the rich bowls of thick tonkotsu ramen within its walls. If you are one such loyalist, you’ll be delighted to know that Nippon Hasha, the group behind Mendokoro and Yushoken, has now opened a third ramen concept: Marudori.

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Located at 8 Rockwell, Marudori serves flavourful, viscous ramen reminiscent of its two older brands—albeit, with a twist. As a paitan ramen house, the ramen is made with chicken rather than pork. “In the 10 years that I’ve been working with our Japanese chefs,” shares Ryan Cruz, CEO of Nippon Hasha, “I’ve seen them put out some amazing dishes that didn’t belong in our current menu, and we knew just how amazing their paitan products were. My partners and I have created Marudori as a venue to share these with everyone.”

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Ryan Cruz, CEO of Nippon Hasha
Above Ryan Cruz, CEO of Nippon Hasha

The name Marudori is an apt symbol of the brand’s dedicated philosophy. “Maru means ‘whole’ and dori is derived from tori, which is chicken,” Cruz explains, representing their approach in using various parts of chicken to produce a flavour-packed paitan experience with every slurp. Though the bowls remain indulgent, Cruz notes that they boast “a more subtle profile, highlighting the goodness of the broth even more.”

Find out what Cruz considers to be the must-try dishes at Marudori (and discover a secret, off-menu item) below:

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How does Marudori’s paitan ramen compare to the rich, creamy broths of your other brands? What can fans of Mendokoro and Yushoken expect from Marudori?

The spectrum of regional ramen styles and what each of them have evolved to in modern times is such a dizzying, albeit interesting one to explore in finding one's true preference in a bowl. [Our ramen] is a reflection of our chef's style, discipline, passion, and craft. Our paitan has a viscous style reminiscent of our current brands, while applying a more subtle profile, highlighting the goodness of the broth even more.

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Marudori Shio
Above Marudori Shio

What do you think will be the most popular dish on the menu, and why?

One of my personal favourites is the shio ramen, as this presents the most uncorrupted version of our Paitan where the seasonings merely play a supporting role to the most crucial component of the dish. The gyokai tsukemen is another favourite of mine, as the roasted, mature bonito flakes we use pair so well with the broth. Along with tantanmen, these are some of the dishes that we recommend people to try for their first time [at Marudori]. 

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What do you think will be a sleeper hit (not the most popular dish, but a favourite among those-in-the-know)?

As we popularized having a “secret dish” in restaurant menus about 10 years ago with Yushoken and Mendokoro, you can expect that we’ll have the same for Marudori. Most people actually still don’t realize that each branch has its one-off special, and all the branches share a secret menu as well! 

We have another version of our incredibly popular tantanmen which I believe will pleasantly surprise our customers, a complete takeaway from our beloved tonkotsu version. Just ask your server (wink). 

What can diners come to expect from this new brand? 

The same commitment to quality and experience applied to a different discipline. As a product, the differences from our current brands while subtle, are critical. 

I also realize that a lot of people make bold claims about their commitment to quality, so I'll give you an example of what I mean. One of the biggest reasons we employ a bar format in our Mendokoro Ramenba stores is because it cuts down the distance between the kitchen and the customer, as temperature plays such a pivotal role in the enjoyment of the dish. It's actually quite an inefficient use of space—we would otherwise be able to fit two to three times the amount of people. To us, however, giving the customer the best chance to enjoy our product has always been one of our core principles. 

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Aside from ramen on the menu, what else should people order?

While some items may seem similar to our Yushoken and Mendokoro menu such as the gyoza, karaage and chahan, they are in fact all different and I think people will have a difficult time deciding which one they prefer. Try the grilled shrimp and the tsukune (grilled minced chicken with egg and teriyaki sauce) too. We brought in special charcoal binchotan from Japanese holm oak that burns up to 2200 degrees Fahrenheit, and while it takes a skilled cook to harness its potential, this is what contributes to the amazing, smoky depth and flavour in our grilled dishes. 

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