Next on our Japanese in Brisbane bucket list was Ren Express, hidden in the Little Taipei food court at Market Square. To be honest, I don't really go here often, as I opt for grabbing meals at Yakitori or Hot Star from Market Square. Nevertheless, having just eaten hotpot at Yakitori the day before, when our friends asked us for a catch up, my second preference as to try Ren Express.
The menu was very reasonably priced, and had a small selection of bentos, ramen and snacks.
We started off with a serve of karage chicken to share. It came with a small portion of cabbage salad and copious amounts of mayonnaise. I really enjoyed the chicken as it was freshly fried, pipping hot but not overly oily. The chicken pieces were juicy and tender, and the batter wasn't overly thick.
Other than ramen, they had a special udon, which I opted to try. It didnt come with an option for extra noodle, but instead it had wakame, tofu strips, naruto and a skewer of fish balls. The udon had a really chewy texture, which I appreciated, and the soup was light but nourishing in flavour.
My companion opted for the Charsiu Ramen, with extra noodles, which was essentially tonkotsu ramen with two extra slices of meat. I noted the lack in egg, which could be a plus or a minus, as it saves disappointment of an overcooked egg. Nevertheless, it came with some sprouts and shallots. My companion said that this ramen came second to Taros as her favourite in Brisbane, as the soup was properly emulsified, thus avoiding a resulting layer of fat on the top, whilst retaining its smooth and creamy texture. The meat melted in your mouth without being overly fatty, and the fungus and sprouts gave it a nice contrast in texture. The noodles also had a good consistency, whilst not being freshly made on site, it had just the right amount of spring in it.
Price Range: $10 - $15pp