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Maybe stick to the fish

imageI had friends in town who I met back in 2008 during my first weeks here in Asia and since they are now living in Europe they were craving for some Japanese and so we met at ‘New Garo’ up in Chun Tin Road. As I already had an excessive Japanese dinner one night before I didn’t really feel like anything fish but spotted their cold ‘Hyashi Chuka Ramen‘ on the menu and made my pick.

This ramen was covered with spinach, chashu, a bit to sweet tamago (sweet omelette), fish cake, pickled ginger, cucumber and bamboo shoots and sesame seeds which made it all look very pretty and colorful. It tastes quite refreshing, the noodles had a nice bite and all the different textures of the ingredients made it quite entertaining too eat. The sauce was a light soy and vinegar vinaigrette that I kinda liked it and even that overall this wasn’t really an arousing experience it nevertheless was refreshing and tasty.

I came to ‘New Garo’ a number of times before and like it as a place for decent sushi to reasonable prices so I will surely come back, not neccessarily for the ramen though.

New Garo Japanese Restaurant
6A Chun Tin Road
Singapore 599593
Tel: +65 6467 8905

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Spare the Calories

imageI was running some last minute errands before my Germany trip and came by Ngee Ann City just about when I felt a slight appetite growing in me. I didn’t feel too hungry so I wanted to get a small bowl of cold udon at this shop my friend recommended in the basement just to realize it’s a branch of ‘Tsuru-koshi‘ which I already visit too frequently during my lunch hours. So a bit more hungry now I recognized a small ramen shop in the corner that offered ‘Tantanmen‘ and even that I wasn’t in the mood for something that heavy I still queued up.

They had a tantanmen special with a super spicy version but since I had a twelve hour flight in front of me I didn’t want to take any unnecessary risk and therefore chose the standard one which the very friendly waiter reckoned should be spicy enough. When my bowl arrived it looked rather ordinary and I was not quite sure if I made the right choice. I tried a few slurps from the bright orange broth which was not particularly bad but didn’t have much of a sesame taste and hardly any heat kicked in. I appreciated the huge amount of sprouts and the eggs were nicely waxy. The chashu was alright but had an unpleasant aftertaste, the bamboo shoots looked terribly thick and brown that I didn’t touch them at all and the noodles were overcooked and way too soft.

It was worth a try but I am not really considering coming back here anytime soon. Not alone because of the average taste but also because of the above average price of S$20 per large bowl which is much more than most of my favorite ramen shops are charging.

Baikohken Ramen Restaurant
391A Orchard Road
#B2-01-04 Takashimaya Food Court
Ngee Ann City
Singapore 238873
Tel: +65 6235 3483

Keep The Good Ramen Coming

imageIn the past we would’ve gone out, drink a little too much and get up to no good but this year we celebrated my birthday ‘old people style’ and appropriate to my coming age with a quiet dinner so everybody could make it back home before midnight. My friend chose ‘Miharu’ at the back of the Gallery Hotel close to Robertson Walk and Mohamed Sultan which he likes a lot. Whilst waiting we had a chat with some Japanese customers in the queue who regarded ‘Miharu’ as one of the more authentic ramen shops in Singapore.

As so very often recently I felt like shoyu ramen and since they had a version in my favorite ramen style I had their ‘Komi Tsukemen‘. I first hesitated as it was advertised to have a lemonish taste but I’m glad I didn’t change my mind. The broth was lovely salty with just a hint of lemon which didn’t taste alien at all but added some comforting freshness. While the chashu and the egg were mostly ok, the bamboo shoots tough were rather weird, pretty thick and brownish in color. They didn’t really taste good as well and so I left them mostly untouched on the side of my plate. My highlight were the noodles which they import directly from a noodle factory in Japan. They were thicker than usual, nicely twisted and super chewy so that despite the huge portion that it already was I still wished for more. Definitely a new contender for the great ramen places in this town.

imageWe also ordered two sides of gyoza. The normal ‘Yaki Gyoza‘ where quite nice but the ‘Shi-So Gyoza‘ were just outstanding. According to the name they used shiso leaf in this which reminded me of thai basil and that gave those gyoza a very unique flavor that I want to taste again.

This place has been here for a while and I regretted not coming by earlier as I left yet again happy and content knowing that I had yet found another gem for my list. Brilliant.

Miharu Sapporo Ramen
#01-11 The Gallery Hotel
1 Nanson Road
Singapore 238909
Tel: +65 6733 8464

Shoyu’s My New Thing

imageBeing back in Singapore I craved for some shoyu ramen (soya based), which I re-discovered for myself when I was in Tokyo, so a couple of colleagues and I went to ‘Santouka‘ at Cuppage Terrace.

I ordered the standard ‘Shoyu Ramen‘ which is a mixture of pork broth and soya sauce. The pork flavors were much more dominant in this ramen and even that it tasted pretty good that way I wished it would’ve been much more salty. Unfortunately the noodles were a bit overcooked and the chashu even though quite tasty was not the melt-in-your-mouth kind. They did a pretty good job on the extra egg I ordered though, it had the perfect yolk, waxy and delicious.

I also had one ‘Cashu Bun‘ that funny wise came accompanied by a cup of Japanese tea and tasted pretty nice. Here they had used the soft and melting chashu which I missed in the soup and had glazed the meat with a sweetish sauce and topped with Japanese mayonaise. Also the bun was nice and fluffy, it was just a little bit too big in ratio to the much smaller slice of pork.

I like this place and sitting outside when it’s not too hot – which most of the time it is – and additionally they plate up some pretty decent ramen even that this time they slacked a bit on the details.

http://www.santouka.co.jp/en/index.html

Santouka Hokkaido Ramen
21 Cuppage Road
Cuppage Terrace
Singapore 229452
Tel: +65 6235 1059

Udon, Udon, Udon!

imageDespite that we just had an ‘Udon‘ lunch this week one of my colleagues suggested to take advantage of the fact that he had a car and make another trip to ‘Megumi’, one of his favorites. It was a sunny Friday and the last time we went it tasted great so it wasn’t really too difficult to convince me.

I really liked the ‘Beef Udon‘ the last time but forced myself trying something new so I ordered the ‘Curry Udon‘ instead. The bowl was huge and filled up to the top with noodles, vegetables and meat. The curry broth was more liquid then I the ones I know but therefore also felt lighter than the normal thicker gravy. It had this really deep curry taste with a light spicy kick that did get stronger the further I emptied the bowl. The noodles here are thinner than at most places which makes them a bit easier to eat but unfortunately also were a bit softer than I would have liked. I was happy to find two slices of softly cooked pork belly in there which I prefer heaps over the more common chashu and what was also nice were the big chunks of carrot, the greens and bamboo shoots. The one thing I didn’t like was the kamaboko or Japanese fish cake but I never really liked any sort of fish cake anyway.

imageOn the side we ordered the ‘Saiko Beef‘ which was lovely tender and juicy and came together with a delicate dipping jus that tasted like strong beef stock mixed with a high quality soya sauce. The fresh crunchy salad aside was a nice change in between and tasted similarly nice dipped into the jus which I’m quite sure was not meant to be for that.

imageOne more side dish was the ‘UFO Maki‘ that had a center of cooked salmon rolled up in a thin cover of super crispy fried salmon skin. It tasted very fresh, the salmon was nice and buttery and the crunchy layer in between gave it all a special taste and a more diversified texture.

Still a nice no thrills place with a good selection of tasty dished but also still in a rather off location if you don’t have a car.

http://megumijapanese.com.sg/

Megumi Japanese Restaurant
Block 106 Clementi Street 12
#01-64
Singapore 120106

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

Second Rounds at Menya Musashi!

imageI just had to come back here before leaving Japan and even that I originally intended to have this fantastic ‘Tsukemen‘ again, standing in front of the vending machine I reconsidered and changed for the “upper left” signature bowl. Since I started this blog I find myself more often trying new dishes rather than just going with the usuals which I find a pretty positive development as I’m normally a creature of habit and rather go with what I know i like.

I went for the thicker broth, fat noodles and medium size and didn’t have to wait very long for it to arrive. Compared to theTsukemenfrom last Sunday this broth was slightly lighter but still on the salty side which worked great together with the fat springy noodles. I seldom had these wider noodles before but I think I do prefer them over the usual thinner ramen noodles as they seem to transport the broth much better and are not getting soft as easily. All ingredients here tasted fresh and delicious even that the egg again and unfortunately wasn’t that special at all. The pork belly though had the same tenderness and delicious texture I had missed all week. I savored each bite knowing well I won’t have the opportunity to taste this for probably a long while.

After i had slurped my bowl dry I wondered if I could have managed to finish a large portion and if one of the buttons on the vending machine would actually have given me some extra of that fantastic pork belly. This place is well on my radar now and even that I heard the branches in Singapore are completely different I might give them a shot to see the difference between them and the mothership.

Menya Musashi 麺屋武蔵
7-2-6 Nishi Shinjuku
K1 Building 1F
Shinjuku-ku
Tokyo Prefecture
Japan
Tel: +81 3 3796 4634