The Asian Craving will be relocating to Rotterdam this summer. As you may have seen on our Instagram, we ate at all the Asian restaurants we could! We were eating as if it was going out of style, but then we remembered that we were going to live there soon, which meant we could eat whatever, whenever. So we tried to slow down.
But who are we kidding - Asian food is our favorite.
The Markthal is a well-known destination by both travelers and locals. Nearly every type of food that's easy to sell from a small market stand is available: juice, spices, cold cuts, sandwiches, breads, beer, sushi, and seafood to name some of the bites available.
This time, our visit was specifically for bubble tea at YoYo (which was delicious at we had it three times). Naturally, however, our spidey senses noticed a ramen stall down the aisle. On this unusually warm day, I was craving sushi instead of noodle soup, but it just smelled and looked so tempting. We checked out the menu, and lo and behold - there was a half size option!
As we waited for our soup, the young gentleman working told us that he was a student from Japan spending a year in Rotterdam. After this academic year finished, he wanted to spend time traveling before starting his second year studying in Germany.
He said he appreciates the Dutch work-life balance compared to Japan, and may not go back if given the opportunity. He prefers to work to live, rather than live to work - the apparent opposite of Japanese culture.
Our conversation reassured me of two things. First, life will still be good even if we don't speak fluent Dutch. (Or any Dutch for that matter, though we still plan to learn.) Second, life will simply be good (and delicious) in the Netherlands.
There were no frills about this ramen - no seaweed, no corn, no egg, no black garlic oil, no nothing. You did get your choice of noodle (thick or thin), with broth, chopped green onion, and marinated wagyu beef.
That's all you needed, really. The broth was creamy, like you may expect a tonkotsu to be, but it lacked the salt that tends to coat the surfaces in your mouth after each slurp. Don't get me wrong - the broth was lightly salted, and may have gotten an additional oomph from the beef. What was unusual about it was that the broth was so rich that it seemed nearly sweet. The richness, however, didn't taste like it came from roasting bones or marrow. It was as if they added cream to it.
Because we had half sizes, we were also able to enjoy the karaage (fried chicken). Usually I won't order anything else when I eat ramen because I won't have room for it. Here, however, I ate both the ramen and the perfectly crispy yet moist fried chicken, and I still fit in my pants. Always a win.
Kuroge Wagyu Beef Restaurant Zao, Dominee Jan Scharpstraat 298, Rotterdam, Netherlands, +31 20 737 2817