KUALA LUMPUR: The business is called ‘Two Old Man Ramen’. It’s a kooky name for sure, but there’s a rhyme in there. According to one of the two owners, it’s an accidental misspelling that they both grew fond of. No matter; the food is good. And that’s another rhyme.
‘Two Old Man Ramen’ is a roadside stall located at one end of Kasturi Walk, It started operating just last October, but drop by today and you’ll find long queues of patrons. They likely heard of the ‘yatai’-style ramen offering through social media.
This up-and-coming eatery is the brainchild of two brothers, Alan and Desmond Chan. Desmond worked as a retailer in Pertama Complex for many years before teaming up with his brother to start the business.
“I’ve never seen anything like this; it’s a lot of fun,” said Desmond, 64, in between serving and chatting with diners.
Dining here is an intimate session with its limited seating and the friendly vibe of the two brothers is definitely part of the eatery’s charm.
The menu is rather limited, but this does mean that the brothers get to focus on their speciality. Yes, you guessed it. Ramen.
During a recent visit by FMT Lifestyle, Alan, 62, prepared signature dishes like the succulent Miso Ramen. Springy noodles, a delicious broth made from chicken carcass and dashi stock, crispy kakiage tempura and a perfect jammy egg were the ingredients used to create this perfect bowl of ramen.
All of the ingredients used by the brothers are authentic Japanese products. There are different kinds of ramen to try too.
For example, there’s the Shoyu Ramen, which is made from a soy-sauce-based broth. And then there’s the Spicy Miso Ramen, which is perfect for those looking to pack a bit of heat from their bowls.
It does help that Alan is a chef trained in Japanese cuisine and has worked all over the world from Malaysia to the United States.
In the 1980s, when he first started preparing Japanese dishes, there were only two Japanese restaurants in Kuala Lumpur. It wasn’t long before there was a wave of interest in Japanese culture and food.
Today, sushi chains and hipster izakayas are a dime a dozen but rarely does one see a fresh take on the Japanese street food culture that “Two Old Man Ramen” presents.
If you’re looking for a quick bite, you may try some of the sides: Edi Tempura, Kakiage Tempura, Chicken Teriyaki, Fried Wantons, Yakitori and Salmon Belly Skewer.
The salmon belly in particular is a nice treat alongside a piping hot bowl of ramen and the fried wantons, interestingly not a traditional Japanese snack, are crispy and flavourful.
If you’re a fan of Japanese food, you might notice some spelling errors in the menu. For example, Ebi Tempura is rendered as Edi Tempura. And then, of course, there’s the name of the stall itself.
“Many people have asked us why it is ‘Two Old Man Ramen’ and not ‘Two Old Men’s Ramen,’” said Desmond. “It was a spelling mistake. We realised it but we grew to like it. So we kept it.”
The KL-born brothers have certainly grown into their role as the faces of “Two Old Man Ramen”. You can catch them in the evenings at the setting of the sun.
“Ramen is a dish for people to savour,” Desmond said. “If we sold ramen at lunch time, it’s not as nice because people are rushing to have their lunch between work.
“It’s a more relaxed experience eating the ramen in the evening, with the sound of the LRT going past us here at Central Market.”
Follow “Two Old Man Ramen” on Instagram.
Two Old Man Ramen
32, Jalan Hang Kasturi
50050 Kuala Lumpur
Business hours: 5pm-10pm daily