OEC (樂山娘) Le Shang Niang Ramen
I did not have high hopes for this place. I had heard from my friends that their ramen was not very good and that they use a huge bowl that contains only a small amount of noodle. But then I also heard that they had recently improved, so I decided to check it out. I guess I should of stuck with my initial opinions.
OEC is a chain or ramen restaurants with many branches in Japan and some in Taiwan. Others have downplayed this place because of its Taiwanese connection. However, I’ve had ramen at Japanese ramen chains in Taiwan and it was excellent. It could handily beat most places here in the bay area and many places in Tokyo that I’ve tried. So I think each place is different and has its own merits.
Based on the waitress’s recommendation, I ordered the house special OEC ramen, with extra noodles of course. When the bowl arrived, it still looked like the amount of noodle was small vs. the huge bowl. But it turns out that the extra noodles did make a difference and were enough. While taking the pictures, the head waiter told me that there’s no pictures allowed. I guess they don’t want their top secret receipes and store layout to leak out.
On to the ramen – the special OEC ramen is tonkotsu (pork broth) based. The toppings included a couple of pieces of chashu, scallions, a slice of fish cake, dry and wakame seaweed, bean sprouts and a half-boiled egg. A taste of the soup reveals a nice pork flavor, not too light and not too salty. The noodles were good standard ramen noodle, and stayed pretty firm through the meal. One reason for that could be because the broth itself was not very hot. However, the problem with the broth being not too salty is that the ramen noodle could not soak up much of the flavor. So the overall taste really suffered. I felt like I was just eating white, flavorless ramen noodles.
The chashu was a winner, however. It was very tender and had good flavor all the way through. It is too bad that the broth could not carry the noodle through. It might be good to drink as a soup but did not have enough strength as ramen broth, arguably the most important and distinguishing feature of a bowl of ramen. (Grade: C+)
This place also has shabu shabu, both order by item version as well as an all-you-can-eat version. I will have to try it next time.
OEC (樂山娘) Le Shang Niang Ramen42 Dixon Landing Rd.
Milpitas, CA 95035