Ramen

All posts tagged Ramen

Tengawa Hokkaido White Curry(天川北海道ホワイトカレー)

Published July 17, 2018 by piggie

First and foremost, this is a food tasting event initiated by JPassport, where invited guests get to sample actual portion of Tengawa Hokkaido White Curry’s 0-4 degree aged Iberiko Loin Katsu with Rice Set and their Spicy White Curry Ramen/Udon Set.

Located at probably the most prominent spot of Millenia Walk’s Nihon Street, Tengawa Hokkaido White Curry is the first and only restaurant in Singapore specialise in Japanese white curry. When they just started, they only had 3 types of set meals on their menu, but have now progressively increased to around 8. Their set meals generally comprise of main course, Chawanmushi, and soup.

Spicy White Curry Ramen/ Udon Set (Chawanmushi and Clam soup not in picture), $16.80++

Patrons get to choose between ramen noodle or udon for their Spicy White Curry Ramen/Udon set. I stick with ramen because that’s what Hokkaido is famous for. And the ramen was served rather promptly upon ordering, so much faster than the accompanying Chawanmushi, that we had to wait another 10~15 minutes for the latter. I couldn’t wait for the Chanwanmushi, as I needed to take this picture before the noodle turned soggy. I’ll touch on the Chawanmushi and the soup when I come to the 0-4 degree aged Iberiko Loin Katsu with Rice Set later.

Let’s begin with their signature broth.

The ramen broth was light, sweet, and milky when it was served, with little hint of spiciness. It is no secret that milk is the main ingredient for the creamy flavour in the bonito broth, but what impressed me was the use of imported Hokkaido milk! To sidetrack a little, Japan milk is on a class of its own, I don’t know how the Japanese farmers did it, but the richness is top notch. And among them, Hokkaido milk is generally regarded as the best and is often used in premium desserts. It is hence, no surprise that Tengawa also serves Hokkaido milk amongst their list of beverages. I’m sorry, I often get carried away whenever it comes to Japanese milk. Let me get back to the noodle. As I mentioned, the broth was not at all spicy, at least not until it was stirred along with the dried chilli in the broth, which then gave the broth a good spicy kick. And then, the presence of onion also adds additional dimension. Rather unconventionally, the ramen did not come with the usual charshu, but Iberiko (Iberico, pardon me, Japanese tends to use the letter ‘c’ and ‘k’ interchangeably) pork belly, which in my opinion, is much sweeter. The ramen noodle used is the conventional Hokkaido medium curly noodle, thought to be the best in retaining broth, and very true in this case. In addition, the usual suspects, tamago, seaweed, and scallion made their presence too. Overall, the taste is rather appetising, and tasted somewhat like Laksa, substituting the sinful coconut milk with Hokkaido milk here of course.

0-4°C aged Iberiko Loin Katsu with Rice Set, $19.80++

Literally, why it was named as such truly puzzled me. It was explained to me that the pork was seasoned in Spain between 0-4°C to achieve that firmness before shipping here (I hope I get it correctly, it’s getting a little technical). I guess such term mostly appeals to professionals in this trade, general diners like me tend to scratch our head. (=.=)”/) LOL! For all I care, I only know Iberico pork is the premium pork, well and above Japan’s very own Kagoshima Kurobuta (widely known as the best pork otherwise, and already commanding a premium price), though honestly I can’t tell the taste difference between them. But if you asking me, my level can only tell they are both superior in taste than Indonesian and Australian pork that are widely available here. Nevertheless, Tengawa certainly didn’t attempt to hide the fact that they are proudly serving premium ingredients to their customers. Not to mention their effort in presenting this dish. Ever notice the floral pedals? They are genuine, not painting. These are specially imported from Japan too! It is thus an injustice to claim their food plating is mere Instagram savvy, over and above, this is an art! Strictly speaking, you usually only expect to find such treat in posh restaurants, but dining at Tengawa won’t burn a hole in your pocket. Though naturally, it’s unfair to expect the ambience of a posh restaurant here. If anything, I do find the plate excessively large, so big that it almost cover half the width of my table, a stark contrast to the food portion in it. Having said that, Tengawa offer free flow curry, soup, and rice (Note: to be fair, it’s not meant for sharing!), I would have asked for refills if I’m paying my own bill! So, I suppose I can say, the portion is practically unlimited but was given as such to avoid wastage (and possibly more picturesque too).

Anyway, the tonkatsu has a good balance of tenderness and firmness, embedded within crisp breadcrumbs. The spotlight, of course, has to be on the curry. It is very unlike the one found in their ramen, the gravy here is reasonably thicker, less flavourful than conventional Japanese curry, but possesses a more intense milk aroma. I’d say the taste is rather exceptional. Let’s not forget the rice, which I heard Tengawa is using Akitakomachi. The tastiest rice on Earth is said to be Niigata Koshihikari, notably those from Uonuma. My understanding is that Akitakomachi is a close second, on par with Hokkaido’s Yumepirika. It is cheaper and easier to acquire Akitakomachi. But for general diners, usually it’s not easy to distinguish. To a certain extent, much also depends on how it’s cooked. And I have to say Tengawa has cooked it rather well balance, not overly sticky, thus complement well with their curry.

About their Chawanmushi, I must say, it’s very well received from many other diners too. I have a feeling it’s only cooked when we placed order, because it took well over 10 minutes for it to be served, about the same time required to cook a Chawanmushi (excluding time for preparation). Tengawa’s Chawanmushi emphasise on taste and simplicity, with only a small slice of chicken underneath, a fresh prawn and broccoli on top, and infused with truffle oil. I feel its appearance is rather Zen-like, but what’s important is that it has a silky texture with an excellent aroma, and not excessively salty. Very few restaurants have their side dish in the spotlight, Tengawa is one of those exceptional ones with their Chawanmushi.

In any other Japanese restaurants, Miso soup is expected to be served. I am surprise to find out Tengawa is offering clear bonito clam soup instead, which is rather refreshing. It seems Tengawa aspire to be a little different, and certainly demonstrating sufficient efforts to show for it. What I haven’t mentioned, is Tengawa’s impeccable service. At first, I thought we were treated indifferently because we were invited guests, but a check on internet and their Facebook page reveals otherwise. If you come to this page via search engine, chances are, you will also find many more good reviews on them. In conclusion, I’m looking forward to visiting Tengawa again, next time as paying guest.

Tengawa Hokkaido White Curry 天川北海道ホワイトカレー
9 Raffles Boulevard
#02-16, Millenia Walk
Singapore 039596
Tel: +65 62651314
Website: http://japanesecurry.business.site/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TengawaWhiteCurry/

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

Advertisements

Hokkaido Ramen Santouka らーめん山頭火 (2018)

Published April 19, 2018 by piggie

This is another complimentary tasting session by Santouka, who is introducing their new Spicy Shio Ramen, Kaisen Hiyashi Mazesoba, and dessert Parfait Strawberry. Hence, I am segregating this post from my other posts on Santouka.

We were not allowed to choose the location, but were allocated their outlet at Cuppage Terrace. I have been to their The Central (a.k.a. Clarke Quay Central) outlet many times, but this is the first time I’m visiting their outlet at Cuppage Terrace.

Cuppage Terrace is a happening area, particularly popular for those seeking a drink after work, and I suppose that’s the reason why many restaurants there are having a break in-between lunch hours and dinner hours. In view of that, we made an attempt to be at Santouka’s Cuppage Terrace at 5.30pm, the moment they resume business in the evening, before the madding crowd comes in. The crew at Santouka Cuppage Terrace are mostly very young and energetic, and seems excited at our presence, they spent extra effort in explaining the new items to us, which really makes penning this post a lot easier.

Kaisen Hiyashi Mazesoba, $12++

The Kaisen Hiyashi Mazesoba was the first item served. Before I go on further, let me elaborate, that Kaisen is Japanese for Seafood, Hiyashi means chilled, and Maze is mixed, soba is of course the noodle. Just like many other ramen restaurants, Santouka ain’t using the buckwheat noodle in their Mazesoba, they use the same noodle as in their ramen. Me and my dining partner were quite surprise at its price, as most ramen restaurants serving Mazesoba usually charging very much more, but mainly using other ingredients. As you can see from the pictures, Santouka’s Kaisen Hiyashi Mazesoba was served on a rectangular plate, which almost taken up the entire width of our single table, so that gives a rough idea of its generous portion.

That’s not all, diners who order Santouka’s Kaisen Hiyashi Mazesoba also get to choose three additional toppings (1 meat and 2 veggie) from charshu strips, eel, beef slices, bamboo shoots, egg, black fungus, broccoli, garlic, coriander leaves etc. Now that really makes the noodle more appealing!

In general, taste wise, there’s a rich nutty fragrance, and I sense the presence of sesame sauce, overall it’s very appetising! In Japan, chilled noodles such as soba and udon are very popular over summer, it’s very much like chilling down a hot summer with a mug of beer. Although in Singapore, it’s quite different, most of us still favour a hot broth despite our monotonous hot and humid climate. As the name suggests, the key ingredients here are the seafood, which include salmon, scallops, shrimps, salmon roes, and apart from the shrimps, all others are served raw. Such ingredients go down well with chilled noodles, not hot, hence I can understand why Santouka only come out with a cold version of their Kaisen Mazesoba. I suspect this may well be a testing balloon of patrons’ reception, that if popular, they may start introducing more flavour and premium ingredients such as crabs and sea urchin. Let’s wait and see!

Spicy Shio Ramen, $16.50++

Santouka’s Spicy Shio Ramen came a little unconventional, firstly, it’s missing their signature plum found on their usual Shio ramen, secondly, the presence of fried onions (which is rarely found in Japanese ramen). Other ingredients include leek, coriander leaves, sesame, and of course, charshu. It is obvious their intention is to raise the flavour amidst a stronger spicy broth, so as to bring out the character of the ramen. And despite the spiciness, the sweetness of the rich and smooth tonkotsu based broth is still very noticeable. Unless I’m mistaken, I didn’t observe any obvious presence of chilli oil, which means the spiciness is likely the result of chilli powder, which of course, makes it less oily. All in all, I find this ramen packs a good punch and balance for someone who likes hot stuff. If anything, I feel it possesses a very prominent local flavour with a good fusion of Japanese touch.

Parfait Strawberry, $12.50++

Wait, I know it’s a far cry from its look in Santouka’s pamphlet, but I have to reiterate this parfait was really how it looked when it was served, we had not yet eaten it. First and foremost, the crew were quite apologetic that they didn’t have the correct glass available for it. Secondly, they informed us that the parfait melts very fast, and they assured us they tried their best to squeeze in as much ingredients (which also include corn flakes in the middle of the parfait) as possible. But cosmetic issues apart, the fact being there weren’t as many strawberries as I was anticipating, perhaps due to the fast melting whip cream that they couldn’t squeeze in more. In addition, the strawberries didn’t taste very fresh. Despite these down sides, I still quite enjoyed the parfait overall. Ultimately, Santouka is a ramen restaurant, not exactly a dessert bar. Let’s hope the restaurant irons out these technical matters before the Parfait is officially made available.

Kazan Wing, $5++

As per my normal practice, I tried not to leave the restaurant without paying anything, so we added this Kazan Wing. It was much better than ‘finger-licking good’, capable of giving those fried chicken franchise a run of their money! On their menu, it was stated that preparation takes about 10 minutes, that means it’s freshly fried, and the meat still retained that tenderness, not stale. What really made these remarkable is firstly, the lemon, excellently complementing the miso onion paste, truly spicy and delicious! This is not part of their new item, but I would highly recommend it.

Last but not least, a little information about Santouka’s upcoming promo, for more information and promotion, do follow their page on JPassport.

 

 

Machida Shoten 町田商店

Published February 4, 2018 by piggie

Japan Food Town in Wisma Atria is another Japanese restaurant project involving ANA (along with many others), a year back I had the privilege to visit Yomoda Soba, but I haven’t been back since. I must say, most of the restaurants here came with a reputation, and the price is a little upmarket, which is the main reason why I don’t come here regularly.

As a ramen fanatic, I have been eyeing Machida Shoten for some time, since they are the only dedicated ramen restaurant in Japan Food Town. I finally made my move when they came out a one-for-one promotion early 2018. Firstly, I must confess I didn’t do my homework prior to visiting, but thinking that they came from Tokyo (well, actually Yokohama), I wanted to try their Shoyu based ramen. However, my dining partner wanted that too, hence I thought I might as well try out a Miso based ramen instead, so we can try out different broth.

Miso Seasoned Egg Ramen, $16++

I had their Miso Seasoned Egg Ramen. But before elaborating further, I have to highlight that Machida Shoten classified themselves as Iekei (家系)styled ramen restaurant, which in Mandarin meaning ‘House Type’. I actually only notice this after finishing my ramen, I was quite puzzled what that meant, and only after getting home that I had time to google about it, which generally referring to a combination of Tonkotsu broth with Shoyu. Truth be told, that’s not what the words mean, I suppose they meant it’s styled like how mum would have cooked it.

Upon ordering, patrons are asked to select the texture of the noodle as well as richness of the broth from “Hard, Japan Taste, Soft” and “Strong, Japan Taste, Light” respectively. We left everything at medium, which is the Japan taste here. When the noodle was served, I noted they are using round thick noodles, typical of Tokyo-styled ramen. However, the noodle was too hard for my preference, so agreed my dining partner too, and tasted like under-cooked spaghetti. I wonder whether they mixed up our order with the hard noodle. By the way, it’s worth noting that they made their own noodle in-house, an effort I truly appreciate. That said, if I took long enough to finish the noodle, it would at least get to a more desirable firmness. As per classic Sapporo Miso ramen, the main ingredients such as sweet corns, butter, are all there, so are an un-sliced egg, which wasn’t very runny like their picture suggested, and the only ingredient that impressed me was the medium size thick charshu, it’s chewy and offering a good tenderness.

The ramen broth was creamy and ultra rich, to such extent it reminds me of those use for Tsukemen, but less salty. So far, I hardly had problem finishing up ramen broth, I was struggling with this one. Actually, if the noodle wasn’t that firm, my impression won’t be that bad, but adding up the cons really left me a poor impression of this. Nevertheless, I reminded myself Miso ramen is not really their forte, Shoyu is.

Shoyu Seasoned Egg Ramen, S$16++

As mentioned, my dining partner had their Shoyu Seasoned Egg Ramen, which is their signature ramen. Again, the noodle was too firm, and the broth was pretty thick. In my opinion, the broth does taste slightly better than my miso broth, but that’s as far as I would go. All I can say is, I’m afraid Machida Shoten ain’t really my cup of tea. That said, I must credit their nice ambience and the warm services.

By the way, ice water and warm water are chargeable at $1.

Machida Shoten 町田商店
Japan Food Town
435 Orchard Roadd #04-40
Wisma Atria Shopping Centre
Singapore 238877
Tel: +65 62623214

Opening Hours: 11:30 hr – 23:00 hr

Ippudo 一風堂

Published November 8, 2017 by piggie

Akamaru Shinaji, $14.80++

Ippudo just opened a new franchise at Star Vista, offering 1-for-1 ramen on their opening day, 06 Nov 2017. This is a special franchise because they don’t just sell ramen like what their other outlets do, they also serve cafe-inspired dishes like Lasagna Gyoza, Hattendo cream buns, coffee, as well as exclusive ramen dishes Maze Soba and Tantanmen (I thought I just blog about Santouka serving Mazesoba and Tantanmen not too long ago, and now Ippudo following suit? These are about two of Singapore’s best ramen chain anyway!).

My dining companion and I deliberately arranged to meet 2pm to avoid a possible lunch crowd, but what we could not foresee was the massive student fans from the nearby institutions joining in the ramen craze, eventually we waited for a good 60 minutes, by then I was already in a state of famine.

We both ordered their Akamaru Shinaji ramen, the basic version that comes without Tamago (additional $3, which in my opinion was a tad expensive). It really came very promptly that I suspect they were already cooking it even before we placed order (at least for the noodle, so what left was probably adding the ingredients).

The broth was Tonkotsu, with special blended miso paste along with lots of lard. It was then added with garlic oil, and of course, as its name suggested, chilli oil. The broth offers a rich milky taste, so delightful that my dining companion, who usually doesn’t finish her ramen broth, literally gulped everything that came inside the bowl. As for the noodle, we were asked how we’d prefer the noodle to be done, we wanted it to be medium, and that’s exactly how it turned out to be. The noodle, my favourite Kyushu-style Hosomen, was accompanied by the usual suspect of charsiu made of pork belly and loin (2 small pieces), bean sprout, black fungus, and spring onions. As expected, Ippudo ramen is quite satisfying.

After the meal, we were each given a Hattendo matcha bun for being among the first 500 patrons, which would have cost $2.50 each if bought from Hattendo’s outlet at Tanjong Pagar Plaza. 😀

 

Hokkaido Ramen Santouka らーめん山頭火

Published September 9, 2017 by piggie

It is not my first visit to Santouka, but since this is a new menu tasting invitation by JPassport, I would like to start a new post and segregate it from my previous visits. Nevertheless, like I always did, I reiterate my desire to faithfully express my opinion regardless whether it’s sponsored or not.

According to my correspondence with JPassport, my understanding is that me and my dining partner can each choose one main from their new menu. So we decided we would each order a different item and share among ourselves just so we can taste both.

But Santouka’s manager at their Clarke Quay Central branch was very generous and threw in their Toroniku Ramen as well. That means two of us gonna share 3 portion of ramen! I stare at my dining partner bewilderingly, but alas, I thought if their Roast Beef Ae Soba is just what it seems to be, then probably we can finish them all. No and Yes, allow me to elaborate shortly.

Special Iberico Tokusen Toroniku Ramen in Shio broth, $21++ (S)

Special Iberico Tokusen Toroniku Ramen was first served. Regular patrons to Santouka would already have known, that this is one of Santouka’s signature ramen, nothing new really. It features premium roasted pork cheek from Iberico pig, both attributes are considered premium in their respective categories, and hence reflected in the ramen’s price. Before I go on further on the charshu, let me briefly touch on the noodle first.

Santouka claimed to have tested many different types of noodles before settling on medium sized round noodles, which they found to have good flavour and aroma, most importantly blend well with their soup. The broth comes in 4 flavour options, namely Shoyu, Miso, Kara-Miso, and Shio. Santouka hails from Hokkaido, Asahikawa to be exact, from where Shoyu ramen is typical. However, it’s Shio ramen where Santouka really prowess. While typical Shio ramen presents a clear appearance, Santouka’s came a little creamy, and their broth is rich enough to infuse flavourful taste to the noodle as they claimed.

Japan ain’t really known for Iberico pork, but Kurobuta. The former are usually found in Iberian Peninsula (literally Spain and Portugal), and is considered rare in Japan. It’s worth noting that Iberico pork are usually cured for years and sold as ham (read Jamón ibérico), hence its hefty price tag, but these days you can probably get frozen Iberico pork from upmarket supermarkets or gourmet stores. Even if it’s not cured, its prices are still a few notches expensive than the Kurobuta, which is itself already considered a premium type of pork. And for every pig, regardless Iberico or any species, there’s only about 200-300g of pork cheek, which is relatively rare and probably the most tender meat you can get, that’s why even Santouka can only afford to serve them in limited quantity each day.

Santouka’s roasted Iberico pork cheek offers an adequate proportion of saltiness and sweetness, and to avoid its flavour being wash away by the broth, it was presented on a separate plate, allowing patrons to savour it in its best glamour.

Santouka Tantan Men, $15++

Santouka Tantan Men is a new addition on their revised menu launching soon on 18 Sep 2017 in collaboration with their anniversary here. Served in a Tonkotsu broth, and with respect to the amount of chilli oil present, it only offers a slight hint of spiciness reminiscing conventional Sichuan Tantan noodle. Santouka is obviously distancing themselves from replicating a direct Sichuan version, this makes sense, they aren’t a Chinese restaurant after all. They infused their broth with a strong sesame presence, which created a somewhat nutty flavour. And then instead of using charshu in a conventional ramen, they replaced it with minced meat in Miso paste, along with pickled veggie. Overall, this is rather appetising!

Roast Beef Ae-Soba, $17++

Hold on a second, did I just mention appetising? Wait till I try this!

For a start, I wonder what does Ae mean? I mean, I have tried Maze Soba, Yaki Soba… But Ae Soba (和え蕎麦)?? I couldn’t find an answer, but I guess it either means dry soba or self-made soba.

Anyway, the soba was presented somewhat like Yaki Soba (fried soba), except that the noodle wasn’t fried at all. I believe it was lightly rinsed and drained from the broth, and served dry along with veggies, poached egg, and of course, roast beef as its name suggests. The overall taste of this is somewhat like salad + noodle.

I understand that Santouka uses the same noodle they would use on their ramen, so actually, it’s not really soba noodle they are using. But they ain’t the only one, many other ramen restaurants here did likewise. Personally, I prefer that, because I don’t quite like the strong buckwheat texture in soba noodles to be honest, although I still eat them somewhat.

Looking at the picture alone, you would naturally guess the beef takes centre stage huh? In our humble opinion, no. The wonder of this noodle lies in the little jug in the background, or rather the dressing inside. It’s an interesting cohesion of sweetness, sourness, saltiness, and mild pungency all roll into one, exuding a brilliant taste that makes this noodle totally wonderful!

Unable to subdue our curiousity, we summon the manager for an ‘explanation’. She would proudly reveal the use of onion, Kikkoman sauce, wasabi paste, but that’s as far as she would go, the rest, I suppose, are ‘trade secret’. 😛

It has to be that good, that my dining companion, who usually hates onion, finished all the dressing onto the noodle.
The beef was served medium raw, and was quite tender. But I was wondering, why limit this noodle with beef? I think they could have gone with chicken, pork, and seafood as option too. Having said that, I must confess, the noodle was rather generous compare to what I saw from their menu. We struggled, but finish it because we already ate a bowl of ramen each before this, prompting the manager to comment we must have been very satisfied with our meal. True indeed!

Green Tea Ice Cream, $3++

After our meal, we felt as if we had buffet. But we top up with a Green Tea ice cream each so as not to leave the restaurant without paying anything. Their Green Tea Ice Cream although lack fragrance, offers a strong and pleasant Green Tea taste. I know the presentation looks bland, but guess that’s why Santouka will be repackaging this into something more eye-catching comes 18 Sep 2017.

Not available as yet, but definitely more appealing huh?

That concludes my visit on 07 Sep 2017, but do follow Santouka on JPassport for any forthcoming promotion!

Special thanks to JPassport for this tasting invitation.

Menya Sakura 麺屋桜

Published March 22, 2017 by piggie

Chuka Soba Special, S$14.90++

Menya Sakura is yet another new ramen restaurant in the scene. In their grand opening special, they introduce a 3-day one-for-one promotion starting with this, Chuka Soba Special at S$14.90++ on Mon, 20 Mar 2017. They were offering Tonkotsu Ramen Special (S$13.90++) and Tonkotsu Tsukemen Special (S$18.90++) one-for-one promotion for the next two days respectively. I asked my dining companion on her choice and she settled on Chuka Soba Special on day 1. I didn’t voice any disagreement though I actually prefer trying their Tonkotsu Ramen.

Hailing from Nagoya by founder NAGATANI Hideto, my first impression was nothing spectacular given the fact that Nagoya is not a major ramen battleground when compare to the likes of Hokkaido and Kyushu, where pretty anywhere else are more inclined towards Shoyu-based ramen (actually, also the signature in Asahikawa, Hokkaido). However, when the name NAGANUMA Sho comes up, it’s a different ball game. Chef NAGANUMA was the former executive chef of Hide Yamamoto in Marina Bay Sands, and currently helming Menya Sakura. I’m really interested to see how can he brings out the difference in this highly competitive ramen market.

My personal preference has always been Tonkotsu, Miso, Shio, and Shoyu ramen in that order, preferable with a tint of spiciness. It doesn’t help when Soba is also my least favourite noodle, behind ramen and udon. I tried my best not to carry prejudice, but whatever little prejudice I have was completely wipe out the very moment the noodle was served, right before I even have a chance to take a look. Yes, I ain’t bragging, the broth fragrance just hit my nose before I can even lay my eyes on the noodle, and I can never imagine a Shoyu ramen (oops! I mean soba here) can be that good! Now, I’m beginning to apprehend why Shoyu ramen is more popular in Japan, though, however, I didn’t ever tried ramen (or for that matter, soba) as good as this in Japan despite visiting there no less than 7 times in the last decade.

Menya Sakura claims Chuka Soba special is their most popular ramen in Japan, with a rich flavourful soup made with Saba, Niboshi, and other ‘secret’ ingredients, paired with 4 pcs Nori seaweeds, 3 pieces tender charsiu (chashu), a whole Aji Tamago egg, along with bamboo shoot and leeks. The broth tastes a little salty though, but as Menya Sakura claims they don’t use MSG, it’s still bearable for me. Well, if this is the same standard they have in Japan, they certainly earned their bragging rights. Notice I haven’t mention the noodle? Wait, was that really soba? My dining companion and I almost wanna rub our eyes and summon the waitress over to verify whether the chef had mistakenly used ramen noodle instead? OK, I exaggerated a little bit here. Simply put, it’s that good! No, simply outstanding (for a soba, that is), putting them on par with the so-called soba I tried at Menya Takeichi in Suntec City. It was very smooth, chewy, and most importantly for me, lack the usual buckwheat texture of conventional soba. Somehow, over an amazing 3 days, I probably tried the best soba I ever tried, twice (the other one being Yomoda Soba)! And I’m starting to get disillusion over how good soba can get. I ain’t disguising the fact that I’m practically a novice when coming to soba, which I used to dislike because of the buckwheat texture.

Apart from the broth and noodle, the charsiu was reasonably thick and chewy, retaining what I feel is the ideal texture and flavour a good charsiu shall possess. Wait till I come to the Tamago. Usually in ramen, how good the Tamago depends on how runny the egg can get and the flavour it brings. Menya Sakura’s Tamago is truly outstanding, somewhere between a soft boiled egg and a hard boiled egg, upon biting, the texture was so remarkably molten and flavourful, gosh I’m seriously running out of vocabulary to describe this, it’s so good I feel like ordering a few more of it!

As a side note, the restaurant also offers free kimchi and ice water for diners.

In conclusion, all I can say is, Menya Sakura makes their ramen simple, but taste heavenly good!

2nd Visit

Premium Tonkotsu Shoyu Ramen with Jumbo Aburi Chashu, $15.90++

Menya Sakura ‘tempted’ me for a 2nd visit with their 1-for-1 new Premium Tonkotsu Shoyu Ramen promotion on JPassport, simmering tonkotsu for more than 12 hours, along with their original aged Shoyu sauce, including 1 piece of seaweed, bamboo shoot, leek, and one giant piece of Aburi Chashu (Aburi meaning partially grilled), a pretty thick one at that, with special Umami paste on top. Their selling point is undoubtedly the thick chashu, with a good texture and tasted rather flavourful. The broth is notably too salty in my opinion, but at least I don’t feel a strong urge for water after eating, a good testification on their claim on not using MSG. Menya Sakura claims to be using ‘Hirauchi’ noodle, supposingly flat, though I don’t really find it flat, but it’s quite smooth and great to slurp actually. Overall, I find it above average, in part due to the saltiness of the broth, but it tastes much better when I added the ramen pepper provided on the table.

I noted that Menya Sakura changed somewhat since my first visit. Now they pre-charged the bill before you even see your ramen, and seems like they no longer provide free kimchi.

Menya Sakura 麺屋桜
69 Boat Quay
Singapore 049857
Tel: +65 94693366

Opening Hours:
Mon – Sat : 11:30hr ~ 20:30hr

Ikkousha Hakata Ramen 博多一幸舎

Published March 22, 2017 by piggie

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.

Gyoza, S$5++

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.

Tonkotsu Standard, S$12++

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.

Official Website:
http://www.ikkousha.sg/