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THE quest for good and cheap Japanese food in the Klang Valley led me to at Isetan department store?s food paradise.

This was the makan place which I had overlooked earlier and a recent trip to this noodle shop was worth the while.

I found out about the eatery from a colleague.

I was also told the place was usually packed to the brim for lunch.

Much to my delight, I found it on the second floor of the Japanese Department store in 1 Utama, Petaling Jaya.

It is a lively place, with usherers greeting customers.

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Priceless : The Kuro Musashi Ramen.

Truth be told, I did not understand a single word they were saying but I must say it was a nice touch.

Now, what really impressed me was the interior decor, themed after the life of Japanese Zen and master swordsman Miyamoto Musashi (1584 -1645).

Just to sidetrack a bit, I am a big fan of Musashi who wrote Go Rin No Sho (Book of Five Rings), which is still relevant today as a strategy guide and used by many corporate bigwigs.

At Menya Musashi, there are several paintings on the wall and one that immediately drew my attention was the ?Duel at Ganryu Island? where Musashi, aged 30 at that time, defeated his rival Sasaki Kojiro on April 13, 1612.

As a film buff, this famous scene was portrayed by Japanese actors Toshiro Mifune (who played Musashi) and Koji Tsuruta (Sasaki Kojiro) in the 1956 film titled Samurai III, duel at Ganryu Island.

Okay, back on the topic of good food, I give the Kuro Musashi Ramen (RM26) a try with a glass of hot Green Tea (RM2).

And I must say that the noodles with the chef?s recommendation (a blend of fried shallot and garlic oil) really lived up to my expectations.

The gravy is creamy and smooth and I must say that the pork belly slices that came with this ramen is second to none.

Like the master swordsman Miyamoto Musashi, I give the Kuro Musashi Ramen a 10 out of 10 on the Samo-scale.

Another interesting experience at this noodle shop was watching the ramen chef preparing his orders. Every few minutes, the Japanese who runs the place will yell out with workers following suit.

Other than the Kuro Musashi Ramen, which is the highlight, you can try their selection of noodle dishes.

I plan to visit the shop again and try their other offerings.

The shop also offers special set meals from Mondays to Fridays.

Menya Musashi opens daily from 11am to 10pm and is located on the second floor of Isetan Department Store?s food paradise.

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