I’ve been craving a good noodle, and our proximity to Darlinghurst post-floatation pool in Bondi made for a good opportunity to try out the ramen at Chaco Ramen, a place that had mainly been on my radar because of the yakitori at their sister sibling Chaco Bar. Little did I know (stupid) that there is literally a Chaco Ramen in Bondi Beach. We needn’t have detoured, but at least we didn’t have to pay for parking.
This photo of Morgan McGlone’s Hot Chicken ($9) is not the most attractive, but I think people actually come here to look at what’s inside their food, and I will have you know that I am classically trained and have a university education in dissection. Boasting about my mad pencil grip knife skills aside, I actually didn’t love this chicken. It is probably my own fault for reading “roast chicken” and being surprised when it came – as advertised – roasted. The skin just didn’t have the texture that I imagined when I read the word “hot chicken”. While my partner liked the mildness of the chilli sauce, I found this to be another weakness. As a chicken fan, I prefer ATL Ayam Tulang Lunak Crispy‘s equally priced marylands over this.
This chilli coriander special ramen ($27) was a beast of a bowl in terms of size and taste, featuring a mixture of both soft poached chicken and chashu pork. The broth, chilli and coriander in flavour, was quite reminiscent of Chinese mala hotpot, which kind of made it less special to me because that’s something we eat all the time, though my partner absolutely enjoyed it. The egg was soft, the bamboo shoots were tasty, and overall there were enough different elements to this bowl to retain our interest throughout its consumption. Pretty good! Pricey.
I didn’t feel the need to upgrade our fish salt ramen ($20) to the special, as unlike the chilli coriander ramen this one came with chashu pork at the base level. In addition to the pork are a couple of john dory and prawn wontons, which were quite tasty and enjoyed by both my partner and myself, even though she did NOT enjoy the soup and the overall taste of this ramen, which she found to be too fishy for her. It should go without saying that yes, a ramen called the fish salt ramen might be a bit fishy for the anti-fishers out there, but I’m happy to report that as a pro-fish advocate I did enjoy this fishy and milky broth.
I enjoyed both ramens that we tried at Chaco Ramen, though if you’re someone who eats a lot of Sichuan Chinese food I think the chilli coriander ramen won’t quite feel as special. If skipping the fish salt ramen, would recommend getting the john dory and prawn dumplings on the side. Yum.
238 Crown St, Darlinghurst NSW 2010
(02) 9007 8352