On a recommendation from a ramen-obsessed friend, D and I went to Millenia Parco to visit Nantsuttei Ramen. On the third floor of the department store, there is a section of just Japanese restaurants, amongst which is Nantsuttei. It’s abuzz with activity once you get inside. Staff greet you with the customary “Irasshaimase!” and shown to your seat (in our case, the counter). Nantsuttei serves Kumamoto-style ramen, which means the broth is tonkotsu based and flavored with a slick of fried garlic oil.
You can feel the heat from the kitchen as the soup stock boils and the ramen cooks, but the chefs behind the counter are cool and organised. Towels wrapped around their heads to catch forehead sweat and another wrapped around their necks and tucked neatly inside their T-shirts. One strains the soup stock – a rich and gelatinous dark pork broth. The other prepares to blanche the ramen – which go in and out of the boiling water in precise automated machines (as only the Japanese can do).
D and both ordered the maru-toku negi chasumen – which has simmered strips of pork belly, and extra finely shredded scallions. I asked for extra garlic (I’m a garlic fiend) which was presented to me as a plate of whole cloves of garlic and a garlic mincer.
Our bowls of ramen arrived, almost full to the brim (the bowls are quite small to start with) with a mountain of the scallions – there is almost no room to mix all that goodness together. You are encouraged from the menu – the “eating ;ecture” – to put your face directly over the bowl to really savour the smell and aroma of the ingredients before tucking in. Eating Japanese is really a ritual intended to stimulate all the senses.
That first mouthful of the noodles and broth really hits your mouth with a bang. The thickness of the soup as well as its super rich flavour definitely benefits from the fresh biting “heat” from the shredded scallions.
We drank Oolong tea (which weirdly came from a can) with our ramen – and like the scallions, the tea helps to cut through the richness of the broth.
I really expected to have post-ramen haze, but surprisingly, there was none of the usual intense thirst – which I really have to take my hat off to, and means that all that flavour comes purely from the ingredients rather than seasoning in the broth.
For ramen lovers – definitely give this a go. And go hungry !
Private House No.P3-06, #03-02 Millenia Walk 9 Raffles Boulevard, Singapore 039596
On the 3F of PARCO Marina Bay
Tel : (65) 6337 7166
Open 11:00am – Closes 10:30pm