CLOSED - Restaurant review: Aya, Yuen Long - handmade ramen a delight, takeaways out
Despite its remote location and limited menu, the long queues outside Aya in Yuen Long attest to its appeal among diners. With only a dozen seats, we waited for 45 minutes to get inside the small eatery. But the wait was more than worth it: the handmade ramen, made from wheat flour and Japanese eggs, is a delight.
The owner of the shop is a Japanese man from Hokkaido who had a ramen shop in Tokyo. The chewy ramen is mixed with vegetables and fruit such as carrots, corn, lemons, oranges and broccoli. Two different kinds of ramen are on offer every day. Diners select the ramen they prefer and choose from four kinds of stock — original (HK$78), black garlic oil (HK$80), corn with butter (HK$85) and shrimp roe (HK$83). All four are quite oily and have a strong flavour.
Aya serves tsukemen ramen; the noodles and stock are served separately and diners dip the former into the latter, so the ramen does not lose its firmness and elasticity from being submerged for too long.
The noodles come with Japanese char siu with just the right amount of fat, so the pork melts in the mouth.
Other ingredients include seaweed and crisp Japanese bamboo shoots. Diners can pay HK$10 for an extra serving of bamboo shoots and HK$15 for two more pieces of char siu. Extra seaweed is also on offer, but it's expensive at HK$5 for a tiny piece. The green tea coke (HK$18), imported from Japan, is also a delight. Diners should go early — around 6pm — because the noodles sell out quickly.
The shop is particular about its noodles and doesn't offer a takeaway service. The staff say they want customers to enjoy the noodles at their best and takeaway meals will affect their enjoyment.
Aya, Yick Lee Mansions, 26 Kin Tak Street, Yuen Long, tel: 3686 0130. Open: Wednesday-Monday 11.30am-3pm, 6pm-9pm