Sanben Ramen is a vegetarian ramen restaurant in the Zhongshan District in Taipei. One of my friends, Blair, happened to pass by it on a walk and, knowing I was now looking for vegetarian places to eat, discovered it had an English menu and great reviews online. We decided to check it out last night.
We arrived around 6:30 pm without a reservation and were immediately seated. The waitstaff had limited English but enough to get by and were extremely attentive throughout our meal. We were served hot tea while we perused the menu.
The menu is not huge but has a nice variety of options. There are five options of very different ramen dishes: Japanese curry, sweet tomato, miso, vegetable broth, and flaming. In addition, there is the option of rice dishes or skewers for your main dish if ramen isn’t what you want. I selected the curry ramen and Blair chose the Japanese miso.
There are also a variety of side dishes such as golden kimchi, deep fried tofu, crispy burdock chip, daikon with miso brulee, and stir-fried organic vegetables. We selected the deep fried tofu and crispy burdock. There are fruity tea and juices for drinks, but we stuck with the hot tea. I didn’t see any alcoholic options.
We got our soup first. The bowls are large but shallow; however, it’s enough that neither one of us could finish ours. My curry broth was light but still had a strong Japanese curry flavor. There were three different kinds of mushroom in the dish along with a green vegetable, one tiny tomato, seaweed, two large squares of firm tofu, and half of a soft-boiled egg for additional texture and flavor. Blair’s Japanese miso broth was also very light and her soup had two different kinds of mushrooms, a green vegetable, corn, one tiny tomato, seaweed, two squares of the same tofu, and half of a soft-boiled egg. The noodles are thin, the size of regular spaghetti noodles, and made in-house.
Our two side dishes came out next: the deep fried tofu and crispy burdock chip. Both of these dishes were delicious! The deep fried tofu had some crisp on the outside but soft tofu inside; it was very different than the tofu that came in our soup. The crispy burdock chips had the texture of chips flavored with seaweed, salt, pepper, and sesame seeds. I could eat them any time, any where. The crunch and flavor was very satisfying.
I honestly have no suggestions for improvement. Our food was delicious and the service exceptional. I can’t wait to go back and would recommend this to anyone who loves ramen!