Hana Hana is a new Japanese noodle bar in Chinatown that fans of Menya Mappen should check out.
Hana Hana appeared recently in the spot on Thomas Street previously occupied by the ill-fated Daikichi Ramen. We love the food here, but just like the equally good Menya Mappen, the food just doesn't quite have the simple magic that these kind of joints have in Japan.
We're not sure what is missing. Places we visited in Tokyo and Osaka have fresh noodles delivered daily, or noodles made on the premises. And the broths are hotter and 'cleaner.' But hey, it's here, it's cheap, and it's as good as we can get.
Walk in the door and you're presented with a touchscreen. Order your main dishes here and grab your ticket. There's three separate little stands that help get your order going, reminds us of the food ticket machines in many little food joints in Japan.
The menu is fairly short and sweet which is a good thing, Japanese is best in specialised joints. There's a selection of soups, rice bowls and okonomi-yaki.
Take your ticket to the counter down the back.
Grab a tray and pile on your selected extras. There's lots of deep fried goodies, sides and sweeties. Pay then scoff.
We go for cold sides of squid ($2) and pickled cucumber ($1).
Onotama bukkake - $4.90. A favourite of ours: a simple noodle soup with buckwheat soba noodles and a soft boiled googie. There's a thermos of hot soup on the counter to top up if you need more.
Gyu don - $5.50. Simmered beef and onions on rice. A big serve too, great value. We've been cooking gyudon a lot at home lately, following this easy recipe by our Youtube heroes, Frances and Chef on Cooking with Dog.
Ika mentai okonimiyaki - Japanese pancake - $8.90. This is a great stomach filler, with batter, noodles, veggies, egg, squid and roe. Topped with dancing bonito flakes.
Japanese puddings - $2 each. The taro is our favourite, the green tea is flavour is pretty good though. Served with a dollop of sugary red bean paste. While eating this Miss Chicken's eyes glaze over with pleasure and finds herself speaking aloud, "I love Japanese pudding." Better that than saying aloud "I love bukkake".
Mr Shawn sneaks back the next day, unsupervised... Ontama bukake - $4.90. Udon noodles with a soft boiled googie.
$2 sides of steamed pumpkin and beef potato salad, which is like a mushed up shepherds pie with a slice of cheese and a dollop of ketchup. Strangely delicious.
Mentai ontama udon - $5.90 - udon noodles with a soft boiled googie and spicy salmon roe.
Mentai ontama soba - $5.90 - soba noodles with a soft boiled googie and spicy salmon roe.
Tuna tataki - $3. Slightly seared tuna sashimi with a little salad and dressing.
Sashimi set - $5.
BACK AGAIN JANUARY 2014
Mentai ika - cod roe and squid - $7.50. Cold soba noodles on a 30 degree summer day is superb, the mentai gives it an extra kick of wonderful. So happy!
Hana Hana is at 5/209 Thomas Street Chinatown. Phone 02 9280 1570.
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