This is not my first time visiting Ikkousha Hakata Ramen (first time to their Tanjong Pagar outlet though), but this is a tasting invitation where I’m obliged to provide the sponsor a link to my review, so I have decided to start a new post to distinguish from my previous visit. Previously, I had tried their God Fire Ramen as well as Red Tonkotsu Ramen, both on the spicy side. For this tasting invitation, me and my dining partner were treated to their standard Tonkatsu ramen.
Ikkousha Hakata Ramen can’t emphasize enough their broth are painstakingly made by simmering pork bones over long hours, distancing themselves from some ramen restaurants who saved these troubles by using broth essence. And I can testify that, because upon entering their outlet at Tanjong Pagar, I can immediately smell a strong scent, that can’t go wrong.
Upon ordering, Ikkousha gives diners the choice to choose the firmness of the noodles, as well as the denseness of the broth, along with other optional toppings. We left all options at normal, and added a plate of Gyoza because we felt uneasy to walk off without paying anything.
Before the ramen were served, let me touch on the condiments on the table. Ikkousha offers free-flow hard boiled eggs, along with Spicy Takana (Leaf Mustard), Furikake (rice seasoning), ginger, sesame, pepper, and a large jar of ice water. In a moment, I shall explain why I mentioned these.
Our gyoza came almost immediately. Ikkousha’s gyoza are tiny, apart from the bottom where gyoza skin are crisply fried, the gyoza generally retains tenderness.
When our noodles were subsequently served, along came the scent of genuine pork broth. Although I am not really a fan of strong pork scent, but to retain that signature flavour, that means they can’t add too much spices to overpower the broth, however, something still needed to be done to neutralise the stink scent of pork bone. On the kitchen side, MSG sounds like a simple solution without altering too much of the flavour, but on the dining table, that’s where the condiments come in for diners to customise to their preferred taste, though that’s very much the same practice in almost any ramen restaurant elsewhere. As a Tonkotsu ramen restaurant hailing from Kyushu, naturally Ikkousha uses the thin and chewy Hosomen as their noodle, which, I understand, is proudly house made. The broth is sweet, and adds much flavour into the noodle. Their chashu are thinly sliced, I guess that allows its texture to blend with the broth easily.
Per my usual practice, I finished all my broth, but I felt the urge for more water after that. Good thing Ikkousha provides a large jar of ice water on the table conveniently.