Pink Fish

Published December 28, 2019 by piggie

To be honest, when I first visited Jewel Changi Airport, I have mediocre impression about Pink Fish. My first take was, it’s just another restaurant. But when I later learned of their motto, I’m sold.

It’s about sustainability… and MORE!

Firstly, Pink Fish uses biodegradable packaging and utensils, including the disposable bowls used. From business point of view, they eliminated washing and save on manpower, quite similar to what major fast food restaurants are doing. After all, Pink Fish’s concept is modelled after fast food restaurants, and with all items on their menu central around Norwegian Salmon. Pink Fish’s sustainability also applies to the food on the table, they claim that their salmon are ASC-certified, and sourced from suppliers committed to responsible farming from within Norwegian fjords. It is also stated that the carbon footprint per kilo farmed salmon consumed is considerably lower than all comparable meats.

Pink Fish at Jewel Changi Airport is their first oversea venture, and their menu are designed by one of the founders cum award-winning Chef Geir Skeie (Bocuse d’Or World 2009 winner). Bocuse d’Or World is akin to the Olympics of culinary skill (mainly dedicated to French cuisines) for chefs, while Michelin awards are focus on restaurants.

Chef Skeie drew inspiration from his many oversea trips, and developed his menu into 4 major categories, namely Burgers, Salad & Wraps, Raw, and Soups. Each of them are further laid out into Asian, European, and American. In a way, this is very similar to their menu in Norway. And their pricing mainly relates to the quantity of salmon (by weight) you desire in your bowl.

I meant to share my meals with a dining partner, so as to try as many dishes as possible in one visit, so we do away with the burger which is difficult to share, and order one each from the other categories. Similar to fast food restaurants, you order your food via the counter, or otherwise, you can also scan their QR code to download an app to pre-order. I did it at the counter, but perhaps because they took quite long to prepare my order (despite relatively dense customers), the food are served to our table.

Salad & Wraps European, 50g, $10.90

Our food are served all at once, but let me begin with the European Salad, which comprises grilled salmon, Tzatziki, Feta cheese, olives, and Quinoa. The Tzatziki sauce is quite appetising, it goes well with the grilled salmon as well as the accompanying veggies. The salmon are quite thick though, so the internal are still semi-raw, giving a contrasting texture upon every bite. The Feta cheese is salty, so overall, the taste is rather salty and sour, which brings out a great balance with the grilled salmon.

Raw Asian, 50g, $10.90

This is akin to Japanese donburi, comprising Japanese sashimi salad with raw salmon, Yuzu, Miso, Edamame, and rice. Frankly speaking, this may struggle to compete among the best of Japanese donburi, but I can see the Edamame and salmon sparkling with glamour of freshness, overall it really gave me a very Japanese homely feeling.

Soups American, 50g, $10.90

Their American soup is made of chili bowl with salmon, beans, coriander, and tortilla chips. While I confess the chili soup is flavourful, and I do like it, but I feel there are few underwhelming points. Firstly, the tortilla chips should not be dipped inside the soup upon serving, because the crispiness is long gone before we can finish them, and the rest of the chips really do not taste great being soaky. Though the salmon taste good, but the coriander leaf is reduced to mere decorative purpose, its aroma is overpowered by the strong chili presence. I have to admit I was somewhat influenced by other reviewers prior to our visit, and if I haven’t read those, I’ll probably go with the other versions, which really sound better just by looking at their ingredients. Don’t get me wrong, like I said, the chili soup still taste good, but other ingredients apart from the salmon are a bit mediocre, or at least, done the wrong way. I guess there are probably some constraint because the idea of the restaurant is for a fast turn around, so the food have to be pre-prepared in a compromised manner to ease efficiency.

As a parting shot, I find Pink Fish’s pricing reasonable given its overall quality, its premium location, and Chef Skeie’s accolades. While I personally feel there is room for improvement, I suspect some of those are limited by operational constraints that I cannot foresee. I will be back to try their other items on the menu.

Pink Fish
78 Airport Boulevard #B1-261/262
Jewel Changi Airport
Email: SG@salmoncompany.com
Website: https://www.pinkfish.sg/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pinkfishrestaurants

Opening Hours ~
Daily: 10:00 hr – 22:00 hr

Suparakki Ramen

Published December 20, 2019 by piggie

I’ve got to confess I don’t usually visit local ramen restaurant before I visit Suparakki Ramen, but my first visit there really got me awed. Yes, although the name sounded Japanese (which means Super Lucky), it is really the joint effort of three local passionate chaps who undergone rigourous training in Japan prior to setting up restaurants here. Knowing that they probably cannot challenge the legacy of major ramen chains here, their strategy is to keep their price modest while delivering quality noodles. To sustain that, you can see the decor are basic, tables are optimised, leaving barely much room for manoeuvre, and even diners have to fetch their own noodles when their numbers are flashed, in other words, self-service. In trade-off, of course, there will be no service charge. Diners basically order and pay upon entering, and will be given an electronic buzzer before getting into the restaurant to choose their seats.

Tonkotsu Black Garlic Ramen, $9.90+

Suparakki Ramen use typical Hakata-styled noodles, and hard boiled Tonkotsu broth for 6 hours without adding MSG. I had this Tonkotsu Black Garlic Ramen, which is the most expensive ramen on their menu, and comes with two thin slices of Charshu, half a runny egg, scallions, black fungus, and seaweed. Even though without using MSG, I did not notice any unpleasant pork scent in their broth, which was overpowered by the nice aroma of black garlic anyway. In addition, I was also asked upon ordering whether I’d like their normal or spicy version, which I selected the latter, without incurring any extra charges. It can hardly go wrong with the thin Hakata-styled Hosomen used, which was cooked to a perfect firmness too. Frankly speaking, for such quality and configuration, one usually pay double the price from an established Japanese ramen chain in sunny island Singapore. As a matter of fact, I just patronise one the day before, seriously, double the price 😛

Tonkotsu Gyokai Ramen, $8.90+

My dining partner ordered their Tonkotsu Gyokai Ramen, which is the integration of pork and fish broth, while the ingredients inside are the same as mine. Again, no unpleasant pork smell, came with a hint of bonito, but I ain’t suggesting that they merely using Bonito flakes. It’s saltier, and Suparakki claim that their broth is akin to Tsukemen, where the broth is usually thicker, but not in this case certainly, or else it would be too excessive.

Set A, Ebi Fry ($5.50+)

For an additional $5.50+, I got 3 Ebi tempura plus a drink of my choice, which I selected Heaven & Earth Ayataka Green Tea. They do serve hot green tea too, as well as Coke, and if i remember correctly, mineral water. I have to say their choice of beverages are quite limited, but who cares when there are so many beverages option available in the malls they are located at. The tempura prawns are crisp, freshly fried upon ordering by the way. Besides Ebi Fry*, other option include Karaage and Gyoza, these, along with Chashu and Ajitama are also available as stand-alone add-ons. All in all, we were very satisfied with our meals, and I will surely return.

*Ebi Fry is not available at their Citylink Mall branch.

Subsequent Visit

My 4th visit came within a week from my first, you read that right, forth visit. I guess that’s sufficient statement to say how much I love their ramen, which is also reasonably cheap. My multiple visit only involve one new flavour, so I’ll just touch on their Dry Truffle Ramen here.

Dry Truffle Ramen, $6.90+

Suparakki Ramen’s Dry Truffle Ramen is using ingredients such as black fungus, half a runny egg, shredded seaweed, scallions, and braised pork cube, and of course, truffle oil. The chewy Hakata-styled Hosomen noodle is more springy than those in their broth ramen, and I feel in using braised pork cube instead of conventional chashu here is a masterstroke, the saltier pork raised the flavour of the noodle up a few notches, and the aroma of truffle oil is absolutely scintillating. The result is what made me go back repeatedly for more, this has got to be one of the best ramen I’ve ever tried, in my opinion, better than many I patronised in Japan. Having said that, I have to confess my dining partners have very contrasting opinion though, one of them like this because she dislike pork broth, another dislike this because she doesn’t like truffle scent. I can do with both! 😀

Suparakki Ramen currently have outlets in North Point, Westgate, and Citylink Mall.

Website: https://suparakki.com.sg
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Suparakkiramen

&Joy Dining Hall

Published December 8, 2019 by piggie

Yeah, the name &Joy Dining Hall does sound strange. It only recently opens at Jurong Point Basement along Japanese Food Street, and mainly comprises 6 main dining elements, namely Ramen Kiou, Sushi-GO, Roman.Tei, Pittarino, Wadori, and My Gohan. Some of these can be considered as stand alone restaurants, while others are sharing a common dining area. Besides that, there is also another sub-element, &Joy Eats•&Joy Drinks, somewhat like the drink stall inside a food court.

Realistically, I ain’t able to cover every element in my first visit, let’s begin with Pittarino, a stand alone pizza restaurant. I can understand, pizza is not really a Japanese thing, so why is it here?

Well, the Japanese are well known for their take on foreign cuisines, for example, ramen wasn’t really Japanese to begin with, but their evolution from their Chinese predecessors are so massive that these days, people tends to think the Chinese stole it from the Japanese because in general, ramen tastes so much better than many of their China counterparts. I said that not just because I love Japanese cuisines, but I had visited many cities in both China and Japan, and the probability of finding horrible noodles in China far exceed that in Japan. Coming back to pizza, I have to reiterate, I have been to Italy too, but ironically, I found the best pizza in Japan, seriously, inside a humble Kanazawa eatery, far away from the country’s culinary capitols (ie. Tokyo, Osaka).

Half – Half: Smoked Salmon & Prosciutto, $16++

This is only available during Pittarino’s opening promotion, offering half a slice each of their Smoked Salmon pizza and Prosciutto pizza, giving patrons a taste of both pizza for one price, both usually going for $17.90++ each (12″ whole pizza). One look at the pizza crust, you can tell it’s not pre-baked, it’s only baked upon order, because they can never anticipate what type of combination a customer wants. Amazingly, they can do it in 90 seconds! It’s not really a matter of speed, but by doing so in 90 seconds, they can maintain the juicy texture of the toppings, this is really how a good pizza ought to be done, and I can safely assure, you will find it very different from your usual pizza franchise.

Let me first touch on their Smoked Salmon pizza. It’s a cream based pizza with rocket, caper, tomatoes, lemon, and of course, smoked salmon. This is my favourite, and a chef recommendation. If the ingredient list ain’t sound convincing enough, the taste was fantastic, an excellent fusion of savoury, sourness, blend coherently with the cream to create a very appetising take, if anything, I thought the caper brought out the essence of the pizza!

As for the Prosciutto & Rocket pizza, despite having a more appealing appearance, would have to settle for second best. Prosciutto is Italian dried-cured ham, and naturally it’s slightly on the salty side, but the added tomato sauce, rocket, and Grana Padano cheese generate a good balance, and eventually, the juiciness truly made this pizza remarkable.

Tomato Cheese Ramen, $14.90

And this would be the ramen after it was stirred

Hailed from Osaka, Ramen Kiou’s signature ramen gotta be this Tomato Cheese Ramen. I believe the broth must be a pork based soup, but there is little hint of it as any Tonkotsu flavour is overpowered by the rich tomato broth. In the bowl, apart from the cheese, there ain’t any charshu, but only pork slices, veggie, and thin noodle. The taste is very much akin to tomato spaghetti but in a soup version. I’d say it’s very appetising!

Ebi Chahan, $8.90

We also ordered Ramen Kiou’s Ebi Chahan, and added a piece of Chashu. As can be seen from the picture, they use prawns and dried shrimps in their Ebi Chahan, but something just ain’t quite right. Perhaps it’s due to the dried shrimps, I smell strong aroma from that of mouldy food, quite akin to those you gather from Yam or Dried Mushroom fried rice. I don’t like it, I’d say, wasted the ingredients in this fried rice. I lose appetite straightaway. That said, I paid $2 extra for the chashu, which is great to be honest.

For Ramen Kiou, as it is basically a kiosk order, self-service concept, there is no additional service charges.

&Joy Dining Hall
1 Jurong West Central 2, #B1-49
Jurong Point
Singapore 648886
Website: http://njoydininghall.com.sg

Opening Hours~
Daily: 11:00 hr – 22:00 hr

Baan Ying

Published October 30, 2019 by piggie

Credit: Baan Ying

One Meal Around Thailand

Mentioning set meals, I think most of us would easily think of Chinese, Western, and Japanese. And to me, Thai set meal is some kind of fascinating temptation that I have never tried before, despite the fact that I had been to Thailand a number of times. In collaboration with Tourism Authority of Thailand, Baan Ying presented One Meal Around Thailand to re-introduce Thailand’s four main regions via gastronomy adventures, and this is what I would call a bold initiative. Most of us would have known Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Hat Yai, and Phuket, but seriously, how many knew about Thailand is segregated into 4 main regions, namely Central, Northern, Southern, and North-Eastern? Anyway, let’s walk through Thailand in an almost effortless and tantalising way!

First and foremost, my apologies that this post came probably a month too late, as this set meal required prior reservation and was only available through Sep 2019, meaning this post is more of a documentation now rather than an introduction. Nonetheless, I hope it showcases Baan Ying’s authenticity goes beyond the popular Phad Thai and Tom Yam Goong that most of us are familiar with.

Baan Ying (which literally means Ying’s House in Thai) started in Bangkok’s Siam Square by Auntie Ying more than 20 years ago, and boasts a total of 7 restaurants in Bangkok’s prime location before venturing to Singapore in 2017. I thought the staffs’ English accent sounded a bit weird when I made the reservation, before I realise they are likely Thai locals who brought an aura of authenticity here on top of their cuisines. And yes, Baan Ying does offer à la carte menu apart from the seasonal set meal that we are having.

As soon as we were seated, we were served clay plate with banana leaf on top, along with a bar of aromatic soap (I don’t know what’s that for??), perhaps an indication that our meal will be a rather aromatic journey!

Maproa Nam Hom (Fresh Coconut)

Next, our welcome drink, Maproa Nam Hom, was shortly served. I guess this needs no further introduction in this region, and coconut juice is great in neutralising our taste bud before we indulge in exotic Thai gastronomy experience.

Larb Gai (Spicy Chicken Salad)

Larb Gai is a Northern Thai dish, commonly served in Thai merit and ceremony events. It is usually comprised of fragrant roasted rice, aromatic Thai herbs, chilli and lime juice, and typically served with sticky or steamed rice, here we had it on a crunchy cucumber, which offers an interesting contrast.

Vegetables… What’s so special about these? Nothing really. But wait.. these are actually supporting cast to the four sensational chilli dip that I’m gonna elaborate immediately below.

Nam Prik See Pak (Chilli Dip of 4 Regions)

You know, if the 4 chilli dip are introduced on their own, I think some diners may cry foul. But in truth, these aren’t the main dishes yet, and ought to be treated as another appetiser, and in fact the term ‘chilli’ is merely broadly used here, as not all the dip are really spicy, and for some, it’s actually more than just ‘dip’. Nam Pril See Pak here consists of 4 dips, (from top) Nam Prik Tah Daeng (Red Chilli Dip), Nam Prik Goong Seab (Dried Shrimp Chilli Dip), Soup Makuer (Spicy Thai Eggplant Chilli Dip), and Lhon Pla Kem (Salted Fish Dip).

Nam Prik Tah Daeng (Red Chilli Dip), a Northern Thai dip, is made with dried chillies, Thai fish sauce, and tamarind. But to me, this just taste like hot chilli, and the hotness is so dominant that the aroma of Thai fish sauce and tamarind were virtually overpowered. No prize guessing at the end of our meal, this was one that was very much left untouched.

Nam Prik Goong Seab (Dried Shrimp Chilli Dip) is a Southern Thailand dip where shrimps are grilled over low heat until dry, and then preserved and subsequently made into chilli paste. Sounds familiar? Shh… keep it quiet, if I say it is belacan, I think some of our neighbouring countries will begin making noise again! LOL! Geographically, Southern Thailand and Northern Malaysia are connected on land, doesn’t surprise me that they may have common cuisines anyway.

OK, those two above are practically chilli that we are familiar with, but what follows will be more interesting.

Soup Makuer (Spicy Thai Eggplant Chilli Dip) is a salty and spicy dip made of boiled, tender eggplant and seasoned with Thai anchovy paste and dried chilli powder. In Northern Thailand, soup actually means ‘mixed’, and this is a very flavourful dip with texture like tamarind tuna.

Lhon Pla Kem (Salted Fish Dip) is a dip that represents the Sukhothai way of life and claimed to be made of smoked dried fish, minced pork, shrimp paste, and simmered in rich coconut cream. To me, the taste is akin to Thai green curry.

The last two dips are in fact, great to try on their own too!

Yum Yum (Salad)

I have still not come to the main dish yet, but this Yum Yum was presented in a rather fanciful way. The waitress asked whether we would like to experience mixing these ingredients ourselves? Thanks but no thanks, though I can envisage the fun, but we are a bunch of practically lazy bums who prefer to just eat. So the result above was what she mixed in front of us, better for the Instagram than if we did it on our own too!

This is actually Som Tum Tad (Green Papaya Salad Platter with side dishes). By the name of it, it’s not difficult to guess there’s a mixture of sweetness, sourness, saltiness, and spiciness all in one. According to Baan Ying, this is the traditional way to enjoy Thai salad, in a large bowl, somewhat like our rojak. Ingredients include green papaya, pork, eggs, bean sprouts, tomatoes, lime, and noodles.

Nam Anchan Maprao Pan (Frozen Butterfly Pea and Coconut Shot)

Just before we started the main course, Nam Anchan Maprao Pan was served. This is a refreshing shot of butterfly pea and coconut juice concoction and serves as a palate cleanser before the more exotic main courses are served. I simply love its colour and foam, and the taste is remarkable too, refreshing and not excessively sweet. The interesting part is, the waitress was very keen to inform us, that this shot ought to be finished in one gulp!

OK, let’s bring on the main dishes!

Gaeng Som Pae Sah (Fried Seabass in Tamarind Soup)

This sour curry dish from central Thailand comes in an interesting clay pot in the shape of a fish. It features a combination of sweet veggies, deep-fried seabass chunks, and tangy tamarind, and the result is rather appetising.

Gaeng Hang Leh (Pork Belly Curry)

Personally, I don’t like fatty dish, and these pork bellies are more towards the fatty side… Nonetheless, this ain’t your usual Thai green curry, it is a cuisine from Northern Thailand, and believed to have Myanmar heritage. It comes with a blend of saltiness, spicy, as well as mild sour.

Oh, I almost forgot, the main course was served along with generous steamed rice too!

Sator Pad Goong (Stir-fried Bitter Bean with Shrimp)

For Sator Pad Goong, this is really one I find complicated to appreciate. It is a Southern Thailand dish fried using shrimps, shrimp paste, bitter beans, and it was the latter which I simply dislike. Like its name suggests, it’s bitter. I’m not saying it’s bad, just that on a personal note, I find bitter beans hard to swallow, just like foreigners cannot stand durian. But apart from the bitter beans, the rest are delicious.

Khai Pam (Grilled Egg)

This is truly one for the Instagram, and there’s a saying that no Thai meal is complete without a Thai omelette. This is made by grilling an egg on a banana leaf over water. Unfortunately, it was too dry for my liking. I find its taste rather bland too, pity the scallions and coriander leaves don’t help much.

All right, that concludes the main courses. Last but not least, here comes the dessert!

Crème Brûlée Cha Thai (Thai Milk Tea Crème Brûlée)

OMG, this is heavenly! I love Thai milk tea, and to make them into crème brûlée is simply exceptional! I always regard Japanese desserts as the best of this world, but trust me, this one is at the same level, if not better. The rich and flavourful Thai milk tea made this a real seduction, and I can easily have two or more, if only my fellow diners are kind enough to offer me their take, I can finish them all! 😀

There’s also accompanying herbal tea to cap off our gastronomy evening, we were offered the option of Lemon Grass, Mulberry, and two more I can’t remember. We had Lemon Grass and Mulberry, but strange, the aroma are the same. We suspect the waitress must have given us all the same drink. As even though I had Lemon Grass, my tea lacks the usual aroma I was expecting.

In conclusion, I must confess Baan Ying’s attempt in bringing authentic Thai feast to Singapore has really open up my perspective of Thailand beyond the few touristy cities. Enjoying this set meal was like a brief geography lesson on Thailand which I feel is more fruitful than merely reading on Wikipedia or travel guide book. Once again, kudos to Baan Ying’s bold attempt in re-introducing Thailand in such untypical fashion, I look forward to knowing more mouthwatering treats from the land of a thousand smiles!

Baan Ying
103 Irrawaddy Road #02-07
Royal Square @ Novena
Singapore 329566
Tel: +65 91117852
Email: sawasdee@baanying.sg
Website: http://www.baanying.sg/baanying

Opening Hours ~
Mon – Fri: 11:00 hr – 14:15 hr, 17:30 hr – 21:15 hr
Sat – Sun: 11:00 hr – 21:15 hr

Flaming Don

Published October 25, 2019 by piggie

I actually discover Flaming Don by chance, allow me to reiterate that if you are looking for authentic Japanese fix, then this is probably not your cup of tea. Flaming Don claims to offer modern take on Japanese rice bowl, meaning expect a little twist to your conventional Japanese donburi, and after eating, I have to confess, the chemistry is damn good!

Their eatery at Bugis + (not sure about their other outlet at Bukit Panjang Plaza though) is pretty much a self-service concept. You order from the automated kiosk, collect your order chit, then wait for your number to be flashed before collecting your order.

Salmon Don, $12.90

Their Salmon Don features grilled Norwegian salmon with runny fried egg underneath, along with broccoli and cherry tomatoes. Quite usually, certain ingredients in a dish will be inferior to another, however, I can’t fault any here at all. The vegetables are fresh, the salmon grilled to perfection with a crisp exterior but not overdone so that a chewy texture remains, even the egg still retain both attributes of a runny egg and a fried egg, the end product is absolutely flavourful!

Salmon Aburi Don, $12.90

It’s easy to be deceived by the somewhat lacklustre appearance of this Salmon Aburi Don in juxtaposition with their Salmon Don above. Blame it on my camera phone perhaps, but underneath the generous spicy mayonnaise, the salmon are cooked differently from their Salmon Don. I found the salmon interior still retain a semi-raw texture, and the cohesion with the spicy mayonnaise actually taste surprisingly good!

In both cases, I wasn’t sure whether Japanese rice are used (Japonica no doubt), but the end composition are more than satisfying, in fact, I was so impressed that I took another group of friends here for another round a week later. In addition, after I penned this review, I found out some very negative feedback about Flaming Don, I need to highlight that my visit was not sponsored, and I noted the items I ate are different from other reviewers. Seems to me their quality fluctuates like share market! LOL!

Flaming Don currently has two outlets, their flagship store is this one at Bugis +

Flaming Don
201 Victoria Street
Bugis + #05-02/03
Singapore 188067
Tel: +65 68357019
Website: http://flamingdon.com.sg/

Opening Hours ~
Daily: 11:30 hr – 21:30 hr

Shirakaba Sansou 白樺山荘

Published October 25, 2019 by piggie

Miso Char-siu Men, $16

I have big sentiment towards Shirakaba Sansou dating back to 2007. It was the first of my 15 trips to Japan, having my first ramen in Sapporo from ESTA’s Ramen Republic. I walked around the premise and selected Shirakaba Sansou without prior research. Though I have little recollection on its taste, I remember it was a satisfying bowl of Miso ramen, with butter and corn among beansprouts and bamboo shoot. After a filling dinner, I returned to my hotel, grabbed my luggage, and took the overnight train leaving Hokkaido for Aomori. That time, I thought it would be my one and only visit to Japan, I never expected returning for a whopping 14 times more.

So when Hokkaido Marche brought Shirakaba Sansou over, I was naturally delighted. It was a big opportunity for me to relish a forgotten taste, despite the fact that since my first visit, I had re-visited Sapporo twice but not Shirakaba Sansou there.

Having said that, this bowl of Miso Char-siu Men is very different from what I ordered some 12 years ago in Sapporo, the ingredients are very different, notably the absence of butter and sweet corn. Pardon me, I wasn’t even sure the name of the ramen I ordered then, but I remember jotting down the name in a notepad and shown it to the staff, as the smartphone era had not really taken flight yet, and I couldn’t understand Japanese. Back to this Miso Char-siu Men… for $16, it came with 3 pieces of charshu, along with bamboo shoot, leek, black fungus, and seaweed etc. The noodle used was medium thick curly noodles, which was excellent in retaining the broth upon eating. Overall, it’s still a satisfying bowl of ramen but if I would have to grade it, I would say above average. One thing I like about Shirakaba Sansou is that, boiled eggs are available freely to patrons, which is not a common sight in Japan.

Shirakaba Sansou is actually housed together with Ajisai under Hokkaido Marche, but I chose to review them separately in case some of these eatery decided to brand out from Hokkaido Marche eventually.

Shirakaba Sansou @ Hokkaido Marche
181 Orchard Road,
Orchard Central
#B2 Unit 11 – 29, 44 to 48
Singapore 238896
Website: https://www.hokkaidomarche.com.sg/shirakabasansou

Opening Hours ~
Daily: 11:00 hr – 22:00 hr

Ajisai 味彩

Published October 24, 2019 by piggie

Hakodate Shio Ramen, $12

This actually wasn’t my first visit to Hokkaido Marche’s Ajisai. The first time I had their spicy ramen, but this time round, I wanna try their signature, the Hakodate Shio Ramen. Hailing from the southern Hokkaido city, Ajisai came from the region famous for Shio ramen with a rich history of 80 years. They claimed their broth was made using pork, chicken, and natural rock salt on a base of kelp produced in southern Hokkaido.

I can’t deny their presentation looking kind of appealing, in fact, the above picture was stirred so that I can show the charshu hidden underneath, otherwise, the presented ramen looks like this:

Nice looking eh?

OK, now the harsh truth…

I had mentioned before, that there are 3 distinct species ramen in Hokkaido, namely Miso (Sapporo), Shoyu (Asahikawa), and Shio (Hakodate). Hakodate’s Shio ramen are generally boiled with some kind of seafood, such as sardines, kelp, etc, along with pork or chicken broth, or both, to give out a clear broth in light flavour. And personally, I feel Shio ramen is the most difficult to impress among these, because if too light, there may be little difference in comparison with just using salt, then the broth very well ends up worse off than instant noodles’. Unfortunately, that was the impression I had for this ramen. I need to reiterate, that I had tried Shio ramen before, both locally and in Hakodate, and this broth here is by far the blandest, apart from the presence of salt. To be honest, I can think of a few means to improve the flavour without taking away the fact that it being a Shio ramen, and that I feel a Shio ramen broth shouldn’t just taste like salt water, the chef needs to bring out the taste of other ingredients, otherwise why bother adding them in the first place? And without those, strictly speaking, I shouldn’t be looking at eating ramen at such price. The saving grace is that, at least the medium thickness noodle is chewy, and that the egg is sweet, with charshu flavourful.

Kara Miso Ramen, $14

I mentioned earlier that this wasn’t my first time patronising Ajisai. In fact, my first time was much more satisfactory with their Kara Miso Ramen, which I presume, aren’t their forte in the first place. I actually ordered that because I was craving for something spicy, and for a moment, I had forgotten that they are from Hakodate. The reason why I didn’t blog about this earlier was the lack of time. To be honest, I think their Kara Miso ramen contains more ingredients in comparison (cost more too), but those are literally fungus, and some other vegetables that I don’t think alter much flavour, just that their broth tastes so much desirable. Others such as egg, medium thick noodles, and charshu remain consistently good. OK, credit has to go to the Miso paste they used perhaps. At least I can say, this is that sort of ramen that I will return for, but I can’t say the same for their Shio ramen.

Ajisai @ Hokkaido Marche
181 Orchard Road,
Orchard Central
#B2 Unit 11 – 29, 44 to 48
Singapore 238896
Website: https://www.hokkaidomarche.com.sg/ajisai

Opening Hours ~
Daily: 11:00 hr – 22:00 hr