Haru Ichiban: Norcross, GA, USA
The word “ichiban” in Japanese means number one. El primero uno. According to Google Translate, “haru” means spring. The number one spring? Spring as in springtime that is. Whatever the reasoning behind this name, the food behind it is pretty tasty. I came here for lunch as someone had mentioned that their lunch menu is quite great as well. From what I noticed, the lunch menu is not much different, just smaller, from their dinner menu. Prices are about the same for ramen, but I want to say the same for their entrees as well. However, there was one thing that was quite interesting: cold ramen.
I know what you’re thinking: you’re going to be in Japan in a week for four glorious days. Why are you eating Japanese right before you leave? Part of it is because the friend I was meeting up with is a “pescatarian”, that is, she eats only fish/seafood and vegetables. Actually, she used to be pure vegan for about two years, but she felt her hormones getting out of whack due to the amount of phytoestrogens she was consuming from soy products so she had to get some form of protein. The other part is that I do love Japanese food, and I didn’t get sushi which is one of my go-tos. I don’t plan on getting “cold ramen” in Japan so this was a nice little concession.
It is quite similar to the Korean naengmyun (냉뮨) except it does not come with a soup and is more “chirashi” style subbing out the sashimi and the rice.
- well flavored – side of japanese mustard gives it a huge kick
- no fish/sushi whatsoever
- japanese pickled ginger, shredded egg, wakame seaweed, ham!
- two types of sauces offered: miso (I believe, the waitress had a foreign accent) or shio しお(salt) – true to Japanese tastes of being on the slightly salty end but still tasty.
- ramen noodles: a bit too over-cooked. I like a bit of spring in my ramen which means it cannot be over-boiled.
- comes with a side of spicy tuna roll wrapped in some kind of rice pellets: tastes like one of those korean rice-crackers logs from H-mart.
Spicy Tuna Roll (side)
- a bit too much rice for my taste, not enough fish
- not a fan of the rice pellets around the rice
- additional carbs for the hungry to go with the hiyashi chuka above.
- much better than Shoya Izakaya
- same size, but less teriyaki/katsu sauce : I don’t like too much sauce on my takoyaki because it drowns out the flavor of the octopus (tako)
- too little mayo
All in all here is a summary of what I feel was a very filling and satisfactory lunch. In fact, being a small eater, I didn’t finish half of my portion:
- hiyashi chuka (cold ramen):***.75 (3.75 stars)
- takoyaki: ***.5 (3-stars)
- spicy tuna roll:**.75 (2.75 stars)
If you are in the area, you can find Haru Ichiban here:3646 Satellite Blvd NW Duluth, GA 30096 Phone:(770) 622-4060
The posts in the next coming weeks will be all about Asia! There’s a 4-day stint split between Kyoto and Tokyo followed with three weeks in the motherlands of Malaysia and Singapore. If another mini-trip can be squeezed in somewhere, it’ll mean one tired Rammiegirl but more importantly, more food posts! Until next time…