Archive

Tonkotsu

New branch is open for business!

imageToday I went for lunch at Orchard Central at the new branch of Nantsuttei and had my old favourite Hot Miso Ramen Extra Hot Tanmen again. It has been a very long time since I had this lovely spicy bowl of awesome but i must say they still got it and it tasted exactly the same as at their Parco Mall location. Additionally the new shop is more bright and modern, a tad bigger and by far much more convenient for me to get to. Great to have you around.

Nantsuttei
181 Orchard Road
#07-12/13 Orchard Central
Singapore 238896
Tel: +65 6337 7166
http://www.nantsu.com/sg/

Unexpected calorie overload.

imageIt was already pretty late when J and I admitted defeat in baby present shopping at forum mall just about when I started to feeling a little woozy and low sugary. On the way out I passed Uma Uma and it seemed like the right place to get me some of my energy back. I had read about them before but never felt the urge to get out of my way to actually try it but since I was already here, I thought “what the heck”.

I didn’t feel like plain tonkotsu tonight so I ordered the Garlic Ramen, which was advertised as being their newest bowl on the menu. It was still tonkotsu based and the broth was pretty thick and had an overly sweetish flavour pumped with loads and loads of garlic which reminding me a little of jiro ramen. The noodles were alright, thin and with a slight bite but the toppings didn’t quite make the mark. The Chashu had a strong pork flavor and the egg, even though cooked right, was broken into pieces as if someone did just casually chuck it into the bowl from across the kitchen, unacceptable if you ask me.

The people working here were talking very little but smiling and nodding constantly and the super fast service got me in and out this place within 15 minutes. The ramen however quite tasty, wasn’t too impressive and I will never forget how disappointing a shattered egg can be.

Uma Uma Original Hakata Ramen
583 Orchard Road
#01-42/42/43
Forum The Shopping Mall
Singapore 238884
Tel: +65 6235 0855
http://umaumaramen.com/

 

Reassuring good.

imageI seem to come back to ‘Ippudo’ more often these days and today I ordered my old go to choice, spicy ‘Karaka-Men‘ with extra cashu and tamago. As they use the same base the strong and rich tonkotsu broth reminded me a lot of their original ‘Shiromaru Motoaji just with a spicy peppery note coming from the miso and ground pork. The meat was not as fine as at many other places but more coarsely chopped so it left an enjoyable chunkiness in the texture pond. Still loved the crunchy cabbage and the comparably hard noodles here and even though this fantastic bowl was my long time favourite for a reason, I was reassured that the ‘Spicy Black‘ has taken the lead for me at ‘Ippudo’. For starters we had the new ‘Spicy Boiled Gyoza‘ which had a great back-of-your-throat kinda punch (I really do fancy boiled gyoza these days) as well as the also new ‘Spicy Pork Bun‘ which pretty much tasted like the original with only some very mild extra heat. It’s great to rediscover things and to realize that you love them anew.

Ippudo SG 風堂
333A Orchard Road
#04-02/03/04 Mandarin Gallery
Singapore 238897
Tel: +65 6235 2797
http://www.ippudo.com.sg/

素晴らしい!

image‘Ippudo’ 一風堂 had opened up another shop at Westgate mall and even that this was at least triple my usual lunch calorie intake I made an exception to have a taste of that new ‘Spicy Black Ramen‘ that went from seasonal to resident bowl on their menu.

This thing was simply amazing, the thick dark and rich tonkotsu broth was great by itself, spicy peppery and after mixing in what they call their special nikumiso it just got another crazy punch of heat, much more chili like this time coming from the shinzo pepper, not overbearing and still very much enjoyable. Owning up to my expectations the two extra tamago I ordered were absolutely “perfeggt”, the chashu buttery tender and the thin noodles at extra hard just as I like them. My absolute by far favorite thing in this though were the fresh leaves of cilantro, never had that before in ramen and don’t want to do without it anymore. Wow, what a great bowl? I may have found my new no#1.

Ippudio SG 一風堂
3 Gateway Drive
#03-03 Westgate
Singapore 608532
Tel: +65 6465 9308
http://www.ippudo.com.sg/

Bari-Uma opened at United Square.

imageUnited Square had a new ramen shop in their basement – one of the ‘Bari-Uma’ branches – and my mate and I wanted to go check it out tonight.

I wasn’t up for the full on tonkotsu action so I ordered the lighter ‘Shoyu Ramen‘ which tasted nice enough but was nothing too exciting and unfortunately again not sufficiently salty. Will I ever have a desert in my mouth again? As ordinary as the broth was as extravagant were the condiments, the chashu/pork belly was flame grilled and had this awesome and unusual smokey flavour and they did a great job boiling up some perfect flavoured eggs as well. Unfortunately the noodles fell a bit short behind such standards and hardly made an impression on me but the deliciously different ‘Boiled Gyoza‘ were top and sure made up for it.

Trying new ramen I tend to set my expectations very high and even though ‘Bari-Uma’ didn’t quite make the bar it is still good having another reliable ramen source so close by and since I haven’t tried their signature ‘Tonkotsu Ramen‘ yet there’s still some things to discover here.

Ramen Bari-Uma ばり馬のらーめん
101 Thomson Road
#B1-08 United Square
Singapore 307591
Tel: +65 6354 3711
http://www.with-link.co.jp/eng/index.html

My first visit to Ramen Champion.

imageI read about ‘Ramen Champion’ a lot but stayed rather sceptical considering the big number of very average ramen shops in Singapore. On occasion I actually saw some tempting stalls popping up and leaving again before I managed to come down here but tonight some friends and I had planned to finally try it out. Researching during the day, my choice fell on ‘Bario’ because it had that ‘Jirokei‘ or ‘Jiro Style‘ ramen that I ate only once before at ‘Menya Shinchan’ (麺屋しんちゃん) which have closed down their shop at Robertson Quay a long time ago.

The bowl was massive and just loaded with stuff, heapz of sprouts that added some nice crunch and big slices of soft and smokey charred chashu that was good but not more. The thick and porky broth had an outrageous garlic punch that made my tongue feel furred and unknowing as I was, I had even added some additional fresh garlic from the freeloader station as well. “Hey again there Mr. Dragon Breath”! The extra chilli though seemed a much better idea. All this was already pretty great but what I loved most about this bowl were the noodles; they were those thick curly ones, springy and extremely entertaining to eat. All noodles should be like that.

Even that they didn’t do a bad job trying to create a comic style Japanese ramen town of some sort, ‘Ramen Champion’ still has a touch canteen atmosphere to it, also because of the fast turnover of customers, vibrating order alerts and the obligatory plastic trays. Nevertheless I was very positively surprised with ‘Bario’ and might take this as a reason to give some of the other stalls here a chance to do the same.

Bario バリ男
201 Victoria Street
#04-10 Bugis+
Singapore 188067
Tel: +65 6238 1011
http://ramenchampion.com.sg/index.php/portfolio/bario/

Return to my old favourite.

imageI spontaneously caught up with a friend over dinner and since days I was thinking about my former favourite ramen shop ‘Ippudo’ and the fact that I had never actually tried their signature bowl; decision made.

They made my decision more difficult by running a summer promotion with a black garlic ramen which reminded me of the black version at Keisuke but I stayed strong and ordered their classic broth ‘Shiromaru Motoaji Special‘ with egg and fatty pork cubes. The look and first sips of the soup didn’t completely convince me but the more I slurped the better it got. The broth developed into a deep porky flavour that had a slight sweetness to it. I didn’t have tonkotsu ramen for a long time so the richness was a bit overwhelming but it tasted great. The egg was perfect and the pickled ginger added some extra levels to it all but I particularly liked the noodles which were harder than usually and could’ve been even more so for my taste. Only downside were the pork cubes which actually were fat cubes really so the search for the perfect pork belly continues. Of course we also had their must try ‘Pork Buns‘ that were sweetly glazed and the softest thing on earth as well as the ‘Beef Tataki‘ which was pretty good but mainly because of the light lemon dipping sauce, the sharp onions and tangy jalapeno paste.

I had nearly forgotten how good their ramen actually was but since I had my first bowls here, Singapore has become a battlefield for the best ramen in town but for me ‘Ippudo’ is still running in the upper ranks for sure.

Ippudo SG 風堂
333A Orchard Road
#04-02/03/04 Mandarin Gallery
Singapore 238897
Tel: +65 6235 2797
http://www.ippudo.com.sg/

180 Degrees a Difference

imageSince my head and heart were still in Japan today I felt like ramen all over again. My friend suggested ‘Menya Musashi’ at ION and as I had the privilege to eat at their flagship store at Shinjuku recently I was pretty curious how that translated here in Singapore. When we arrived I recognized the famous sword fighter at the entrance from the noren hanging over their door in Japan and felt considerably excited.

Even that they had a ‘Black Thunder‘ spicy version on as a special I maneuvered my way around it and ordered their ‘Black Tsukemen‘ instead as dipping is just more fun. While ordering I realized that this is tonkotsu ramen other than the salty shoyu version I had in Tokyo but didn’t mind as tonkotsu is one of my favorites. Also here they offer different sized portions of noodles of up to six times the regular size without any surcharge when ordering. Double should do.

When it arrived it expectedly looked fairly different to the Shinjuku bowl. Here they are using Chashu instead of braised pork belly which didn’t look very appealing but didn’t taste too bad nor too good. Another add on in Singapore was the crispy beancurd skin which was a nice texture in between but tasted too sweet for me. Under the little mountain of chopped green onions to my surprise I found that the noodles weren’t much different to the ones I fell in love with in Japan, yellow, thick and twisted and nicely chewy. I started dipping and slurpring them through the bowl of tonkotsu broth with the black garlic oil. The taste was pretty okay and I liked especially the porky and strong garlicky flavors but what put me off a bit was the looks and consistency. It literally looked like thick dirty mud water and was a bit slimy which wasn’t too nice while eating so I decided to refrain from finishing the soup after my noodles were gone.

imageThis was more a completely new experience rather than a comparison between one brand in two countries and obviously I would always opt for the original one if I could but besides the consistency of the broth and the rather sad chashu the taste was overall not bad. I might come to try this spicy version but for my regular ramen fix I’ll probably go looking for new ventures.

http://www.menyamusashi.com.sg/

Menya Musashi Kodou                                                                                                                                           2 Orchard Turn                                                                                                                                                #B03-25 ION Orchard                                                                                                                             Singapore 238801                                                                                                                                               Tel: +65 6509 9394

Long Live The King!

image Oh yes, it was that time again to meet my ramen buddy together with two visiting friends, this time at Keisuke Tonkotsu King at the Orchid Hotel in Tanjong Pagar. We rocked up around 8:30 p.m. and where super positively surprised that within ten minutes we already made our way inside.

While waiting I filled in the form for my usual ‘Black Spicy Tonkotsu King‘ which arrived just one minute after sitting down. The broth was thick and had a strong porky taste to it which was boosted by the black pepper garlic and chicken oil. It was mildly spicy so the taste wasn’t covered up but for me it could have been a notch sharper. Did I already mention the egg? It was outstanding. I did let mine sit in the broth for a bit so it warmed up slightly from the outside and when biting into it I reached the cold but perfectly waxy yolk which together with the broth tasted amazing. I never thought I could say something like that about an egg. Coming to the Chashu now which they cut in big thin slices and artfully marinate in red wine. I wished I had a leaner piece but the meaty bits were juicy and tender and just did fit to this bowl naturally. Last but not least the centerpiece of a noodle soup – the noodles. I ordered them ‘hard’ and for many people those might be slightly too al dente but as you often get rather squashy noodles i really liked their bite and texture a lot.

I don’t come here very often because the long wait one has to bear so I always think I might idealize this place too much but every time they delivery the same high level of quality in their food and not once I had overcooked noodles, a hard boiled egg or chewy chashu. Keisuke, still my king of ramen shops in Singapore. ‘Kaedama please’.

Keisuke Tonkotsu King                                                                                                                                           1 Tras Street                                                                                                                                                       #01-19 Orchid Hotel                                                                                                                               Singapore 078867

A New Ramen In The Neighborhood!

imageToday my ramen buddy and I went to checkout another new place that opened up in Singapore last year, Menya Sanji in Tanjong Pagar. When I’m in this area I’m always tempted to queue up at Keisuke for their delicious Black Oil Tonkotsu Ramen but today our mission was venturing for new tastes.

My friend had their signature “Sanji Ramen” and naturally I went for the spicy version (pic). Both have the same pork base but mine had chili oil added to it. They also have a pork-chicken and even a pork-fish based ramen which I found a bit odd when screening the menu. The regular bowl was a bit blend and milky in taste so I was happy that my spicy ramen had a dram more depth and kick to it. The noodles were nice and chewy that next time I have to ask them if they make it themselves. We also ordered some extra eggs that were slightly overcooked and chashu which I would have wished to be leaner.

Menya Sanji didn’t make it in my top 3 ramen places in Singapore but offers a solid bowl of Japanese goodness and the super friendly service and the substantial shorter wait compared to Keisuke around the corner will make some people jump the queue.

#01-14 Orchid Hotel                                                                                                                                               1 Tras Link                                                                                                                                                     078867 Singapore