La-Mien is one of the 20 cheap eats on Jln. Goutama. It is a narrow street that runs between Jln. Raya Ubud and Dewa Sita. It consists of 20+ small cafes, warungs and restaurants, all but 3 of them have main courses at about Rp.50,000 and entrees at half of that. Those are the ones that are busy every day.
La-Mien is the jewel of Goutama. The name sounds French but it is very Japanese, and noodles are what most people come for. Ramen, Udon, Soba, they are all here, and a few other dishes as well
Funky and different, the walls are lined with murals and framed pictures of famous Japanese cartoon characters, all eating noodles. That is also what most customers do when they come to La-Mien. The place is small and cosy, one table on the front street-front terrace and a couple inside at the open windows.
I have a great problem whenever I visit a Japanese restaurant that serves Gyoza, I always order it! Not Japanese in origin, obviously Chinese but modified to suit the Japanese, the dumplings are first steamed then pan-fried on just one side, making them very easy to pick up with your wooden Japanese chop-sticks, and dunking in the soy sauce. I always order them stuffed with minced pork but vegetarian gyoza is also available here. As La-Mien is a part of the Ryoshi Group, the quality never varies.
Other appetizers include another one stolen from the Chinese, Siu Mai, steamed dumplings stuffed with shrimp and pork. Very Japanese are bowls of Edamame [boiled green soy beans sprinkled with sea salt] and boiled Moringa Beans. They are good side dishes to order, pick at them throughout the meal. Yasai Itami is a plate of sautéed mushrooms and vegetables. Mabo Nasu is eggplant in miso. A Sesame Chicken Salad is served with cold noodles, great for lunch on a hot day.
Another import is from Vietnam, Pho Bo, the popular beef and noodle soup is on the menu and being so hard to find, done well, in Bali it is also very popular!
But Ramen Noodles are why most people come to La-Mien, a meal in a bowl for less than $5. Miso Chasiu Ramen is those noodles, greens and slices of pork confit in miso soup. Shoyu Chasiu Ramen combines the ramen noodles extra slices of pork confit, a boiled egg and greens, in shoyu soup and what I usually eat here, so good!
Kakuni Ramen is with pork belly confit, Japanese curry rice is very different and can be Katsu [sliced breaded deep-fried chicken or pork on top] or Hamburger with one of America?s own sitting on the curry rice. Cha Han is a shrimp fried rice with a small bowl of soup on the side.
There are many other alternatives to Ramen. Curry Udon is a bowl of those very thick noodles in a curry soup with either chicken or beef added. Hyashi Chuka are cold noodles. Chicken and Beef are also on offer, teriyaki style, the tender meat crumbed, deep-fried and cross-sliced.
Or you can build your own noodle dish. First you select which noodles you desire from Tamago Men [egg noodles], Kweitiau [flat rice noodles], Tam Miun [sweet potato noodle], Sohun [mung bean noodle] or just five grain rice, Gokoku Mai. Then you must decide which soup you want it all combined in; vegetable, chicken, pork or a combination of chicken and pork. Next comes the topping, Tori Soboro is minced chicken in soy, Zangi is fried chicken in hokkaido, Gyoza Goreng are fried pork dumplings, Cha Siu is pork soy confit, Chige Pork just pork and vegetables sautéed in a spicy miso, Kakuni is pork belly in star anise, Tamago is boiled egg in sweet soy. Many vegetarian toppings are also available; seaweed, mushrooms, bamboo shoots, fried or dried tofu.
Another feature here is the special 'Japanese Vodka'. It is made at Ryoshi's Karang Asem distillery. Two styles are served. Chu Hai is the neat spirit with a range of fruit juices added [cranberry. apple, pomegranate, etc.], whilst Sho-Chu has been infused with tea [Early Grey, Jasmine or Shenlong] or Luwak Coffee. At Rp. 25,000++ a glass both are very popular with the Japanese diners, and all others. I find the Chi Hai with ginger, honey and lime very refreshing and the perfect accompaniment for my noodle dish.
La Mien is a 'drop in anytime' sort of place, for just a snack or you can combine a few different dishes for a full meal that does not break the bank! The perfect Cheap Eat, healthy and tasty.