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Watch: Long-awaited Tokyo-based ramen restaurant opens first Vancouver location

With special dishes only available at this new location and an impressive whisky highball machine

After months of anticipation, Afuri Ramen opened its first restaurant location in Vancouver

Guests were officially welcomed to the new Mount Pleasant outpost on Aug. 20, which is the second for the Tokyo-based global chain's franchisee in the Metro Vancouver region.

Afuri, which entered the Canadian market in 2019 with a debut location in Richmond, is known for its chicken-broth based Yuzu Shio Ramen. The broth is clarified and infused with the Japanese citrus to create a light, refreshing soup base. 

The restaurant is named for Mt. Afuri, "on the east edge of the Tanzawa mountains in Kanagawa prefecture," according to the business.

The franchise came stateside in 2016, launching in Portland, Oregon. There are also Afuri locations in California, as well as in Singapore, Hong Kong, and Portugal.

What's on the menu at Afuri Ramen in Vancouver

In addition to their Yuzu Shio and other chicken broth-based ramen, Afuri's ramen selection includes tonkotsu-style (pork broth), tsukemen (cold noodles), and a hazelnut broth ramen. Their noodles are made in-house and come in thick and thin.

Afuri's Metro Vancouver operator, Eric Ho, tells V.I.A. that in addition to making all of their broths and noodles at the Richmond location, which serves as the central kitchen, the restaurants also make numerous components for their dishes in house, down to the garlic chips that add a little crunch to your bowl. If you order up a Strawberry "Calpico" - a beloved Japanese soft drink - Afuri is actually making their own version of the sweet, light, milky beverage themselves. 

One other exciting feature at the new Afuri is their Suntory Whisky Toki highball dispenser. The increasingly popular machine works similarly to a draft line, only its calibrated to deliver perfectly measured and intensely carbonated whisky soda pours. 

The Vancouver Afuri location also boasts a couple of exclusive dishes you can't find on the menu at other outposts, offering a compelling reason for ramen fans to hit up the new spot to check out what they're up to. They're serving up a Wagyu Shoyu Ramen, made with Australian beef, featuring a long-simmered beef bone broth and slices of wagyu, as well as a soup-less and zingy Tantan Mazamen, which features a thick tangle of noodles you mix with silky orange egg yolk, pork ragu, and crispy cashews, served with a golden-fried prawn spring roll. 

Though ramen is a hearty, filling main dish, if you're game to take things a little further, Afuri has several fun small plates on the menu, like a fried soft shell crab on a bao bun topped with cool cucumber slices, vegan kimchi, and spicy sauce, or their signature dumplings. 

Afuri's Vancouver location is already proving a popular draw in the neighbourhood, so don't be surprised to see a line outside during the busy lunch rush, for example. Ho says it took them several months to land the ideal space in Mount Pleasant; home to many older buildings that pose renovation challenges, Afuri managed to slide into a former optical retail space they were able to build out as they needed.

Though the Mount Pleasant shop is just getting going, Ho confirms the team plans to open one more location within Vancouver, though they don't have a spot secured just yet. 

Video: Checking out Afuri Ramen in Vancouver

@vancouverisawesome It’s not really a hot take, ramen rules. #forkingawesome #vancouverbc #ramen ♬ Everybody Wants To Rule The World X Electric Love - darcy stokes

Afuri Ramen is located at 2801 Main St in Vancouver. Follow @afuriramen_vancouver on Instagram.

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