Food Review: Goku Ramen Bar in Maumelle

There’s a lot of talk about the new Ramen bar in Maumelle, so I had to give it a try. Let’s break it down!


Goku Ramen is located in the small space that used to be home to Pizza House, and before then was Pasta House for years in the shopping center at 1900 Club Manor Dr.
The interior looks much different than it did, with a fun, modern feel and tv’s playing shows about ramen. How great is that?!
Since the space is small, and there are many tables and bars for seating, it can feel a little cramped if it is a busy night.
When you arrive, you find a seat, look through the menu for what you want, then go up to the ordering bar to order and pay for your food. It is brought to you when it’s ready, but you have to get your own drinks and refills. *They do charge a 3% fee for using a card, so bring cash if that isn’t something you want to pay for.*
The only complaint I have about the environment is what is on each table. While you have salt, pepper, and chili powder, there’s no soy or sriracha. If you ask, you can get soy sauce, but they do not have sriracha. Next time, I may bring my own. Finally, the napkins are problematic. Each table has a large roll of paper towels, but the kind that are impossible to tear off and disintegrate after your first wipe. Please trade these for some with “tear-a-square”. We were knocking things over trying to tear these paper towels. At least it was entertaining!


You can find their full menu on their website. While it is small, with mostly different ramen and rice bowls, there are so many fun appetizers that are unique and priced fairly.


Description: Fried octopus pastries with Japanese mayo, takoyaki sauce, green onion, and fish flakes

My friend and I shared a couple of appetizers and this takoyaki was new to me. Honestly, octopus is not my favorite, but Cristianna said it’s one of her favorite dishes. When I tried it, I loved it! There’s only a tiny piece of octopus in the middle of these pastries. the rest of the pastry is a wonderful and unique texture, like a savory mochi. The sauces and fish flakes bring so much flavor! Though, a little heat from sriracha would have perfected these. This was the best thing I had the whole meal.

Description: Deep fried mashed potatoes and vegetables with sauce and yummy mayo.

I chose this appetizer because it sounds amazing. However, it was a little lack-luster. There weren’t many vegetables at all in the croquettes, so it was similar to a really tasty hash brown, but with smooth mashed potatoes instead. With not much sauce, I had to add soy sauce to mine for a little more flavor.

Description: Pork soup base with green onion, soft boiled egg, napa cabbage, corn, and protein of your choice (shrimp, braised pork, chicken breast, fried chicken karaage, or vegetables and tofu)

This is a pretty decent ramen! I love tonkotsu ramen because it has the most flavor than the other options, in my opinion. This broth was good! The braised pork was tender and delicious! The noodles were the perfect texture, and there were SO many noodles. After picking through and eating all the bites I wanted with the pork, egg, and veggies, I had over an entire to-go cup full of leftover noodles. These were great the next day heated up with some other pork I had on hand.


Cristianna is a menu wiz and figured out it would only cost $2.50 to get a side of fried chicken since they only charge you this much for two proteins. This is a great deal! Do it!
The chicken was flavorful and crunchy and really good dipped in the ramen broth.

Overall, I think this is a wonderful addition to Maumelle- a place you can get ramen for comfort food or try something new with their appetizers. Go give Goku Ramen a try, if you haven’t already!

Food Review: Aji Ramen Bar in Little Rock

I finally got to try Aji Ramen Bar for a small birthday dinner. We all really liked it! Here’s the breakdown:


Located in the Shackleford shopping area, between Star of India and Jason’s Deli, this is an easy spot to hit up in Little Rock.

The inside is small, with mostly tables for 2-4 and a bar. We were lucky to find one table to fit all 6 of us.


The menu can be found on their Facebook page, in the link above. It not only has seven types of ramen to choose from (and an all-vegetarian one not listed on the menu with veggie broth, broccoli, and fried tofu!),  it also has two rice bowls. Plus, there are many unique appetizers to check out, if ramen is not your thing.


Takoyaki, $5.95
Description: 5 fried octopus balls, served with green onions and creamy sauce.

Unsure of what to expect, we first tried these fried octopus balls. While I’m not a fan of octopus, the picture on the menu looked too good to pass up.
These bite-size balls are covered with, what I can only imagine are thinly sliced fish, flakes that are still moving…and they don’t stop! They smelled pretty fishy. However, the toppings, sauces, and the balls were a delicious combination. Nothing tasted fishy about this dish.

The texture inside was soft, almost like mochi, with a crunchy exterior and a small piece of octopus in the middle. These were very unique and tasty. I suggest you give them a try.

Vegetable Croquette, $4.95
Description: Fried mashed potatoes mixed with vegetables.

These pretty large croquettes were very good! Very crunchy on the outside, and extremely creamy with mashed potatoes mixed with a few veggies in the middle. They come with what I assume is a “yum yum sauce” and some shredded lettuce. Everyone loved these.

*My friend also tried the steam bun with pork belly and loved them! She said the pork belly was melt-in-your-mouth. I will definitely try these next time.

T1 Cha-Siu Ramen, $10.95
Description: Rich, creamy pork broth with pork belly, soft boiled egg, green onion, black mushroom, corn, seaweed, and chili hair.

This ramen was delicious! The broth was more flavorful than any other ramen broth I’ve tried around central Arkansas (I’ve tried about 3 others). The noodles had a perfect chew. The pork was tender. The eggs weren’t overcooked, like they sometimes are. The chili hair was a nice addition to give just a tiny bit of heat and flavor. The rest of the toppings were pretty typical, and created a great bowl of ramen! I will definitely get this again!

*They also give you some red chili paste if you want to add heat to your ramen. I added the smallest amount, maybe a teaspoon, and it brought the heat! It was perfect for me, but be careful with this stuff. A little goes a long way!


The space is small, and was packed when we arrived for a Tuesday dinner at 6:30, but it had cleared out around 7:30-8:00.
The service was extremely helpful. The waiter asked if we had any questions, he explained everything we inquired about in detail. Our waters were never empty. And they were FAST! We got our appetizers in lightening speed and right after, our ramen arrived. Great for a quick lunch!
If you haven’t given this place a try, you’re missing out.