Tag Archives: ramen

Bario Ramen @ Bugis+

So I’ve been slowly working my way through the six “Ramen Champions” at Bugis+. Second on the list (after Aoyama) was Bario Ramen from Tokyo, which serves Jiro style ramen. The Guardian UK recently listed Jiro in its “50 best things to eat in the world” list. “Ramen of the man, by the man, for the man.”

And I think it absolutely delivers on that promise.

The first thing you notice from Jiro-style ramen that differentiates it from other ramen is the noodle. It’s thick and chewy. Piled on top is a mountain of bean sprouts. And the chasu is also not the traditional round thin slices. It’s chunky and meaty slices of tender pork belly. And the tonkotsu stock is rich and flavoursome.

There’s a lot in to the bowl to eat, and Bario offers an almost ridiculous choice to double your noodles.

It’s a go-to favourite of my hubby’s for all the reasons above. For me, the first slurp/spoonful was delicious, but by the third or fourth, I was pretty much done. Perhaps the richness of the stock, or the stodginess of the noodle – it lived up to its infamous resistance to digestion.

And so I continue my quest to try all six chefs’ ramen and make my decision as who would be my ramen champion. Stay tuned for more…and the final verdict.


Aoyama Ramen @ Bugis+

Want to be spoiled for choice when it comes to ramen ? Then head over to Ramen Champion on the fourth floor of Bugis+ (formerly Illuma) on Victoria Street, where famous ramen chains from Japan battle it out under one roof for your tastebuds.

Each has a unique strength – one has the best flavoured egg, the other the best flavoured tonkotsu (pork bone) stock etc.

Rather than inducing a ramen-coma, D and I plan to make many regular visits, working our way through the various chefs/restaurants, to decide who is our ramen champion !!

First visit we went to Aoyama Ramen, where chef Hideaki Aoyama is famous for his flavoured egg. We chose it specifically because they also grilled their slices of chasu (thinly sliced pork belly), thinking it would add a lovely smoky intensity to the flavour.

I ordered the tsukamen, where the noodles are cold and served on a plate with the sliced chasu, egg and nori, accompanied with a rich dipping broth.

The noodles had a wonderful chewiness about it and the stock was rich enough to coat each strand of noodle that was dipped, without being too cloying. The pork slices were delicious too – tender enough to melt in your mouth with that additional sear from being grilled. The famous egg ? Nothing to write home about – a little too soft boiled for my liking (but that could just be a personal preference).

One down, five to go !

Aoyama Ramen
Ramen Champion
201 Victoria Street
#04-10 Bugis+
Tel: 62381011

Open daily 11.30am – 10.30pm


Menya Musashi @ Raffles City

Menya Musashi – one of the most popular ramen chains in Japan – has recently hit our sunny shores, opening up at Raffles City.

As with most new things in Singapore, there’s a ridiculously long queue to get a seat, but we were lucky enough to get a seat for lunch one Saturday and ordered from the limited menu, which I always love because it makes me think if they are that popular with so few items, then they’re going to be really very good.

How you select your ramen (Subway sandwich style):

1) soup or dipping sauce (tsukemen) ?

2) white, red or black ? (white = white miso, red miso, explained to me as “spicy”, black = with garlic)

3) 1/2/3 servings of noodles ?

4) type of pork – standard or chashu

I absolutely love tsukemen, which is traditionally cold noodles with a rich dipping sauce – eaten during the steaming hot summers in Japan. At Menya Musashi, the noodles (which are wonderfully chewy) are hot, as is the dipping sauce, but in airconditioning, it’s all good.

The stock for the standard ramen is miso-based, yet has the thickness that I associate with the much richer tonkotsubased soups. Tonkotsu is pork based, where pork hocks are stewed for hours on end, giving a stock rich in flavour and thick consistency from the bones (including the gelatinous marrow). Menya Musashi’s stock was understandably much lighter in flavour than a tonkotsu-based one. I have tried the white, red and black, though, and while I expect a milder flavour from the white miso stock, the red and black were to me, just different coloured. I didn’t taste any spice in the red, and only a mild flavour of garlic in the black. (Perhaps it’s because one of our favourite ramen joints in Singapore is Nansuttei which has pretty full-on fragrant garlic oil).

I’m hoping that that eagerness to try the new kid on the block will die down. Then again, I just saw a billboard for Ramen Champion, a place where you can try several different types of ramen, so Menya has more competition than Ippudo or Nansuttei

Menya Musashi Ramen
252 North Bridge Road
#01-16 Raffles City Shopping Centre
Tel: 6336 6500

Open: Mon-Sun 11.30am – 9.30pm


Nantsuttei Ramen

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 !

Nantsuttei Ramen
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


Holy moly Ippudo is hands down the best ramen I’ve had

Now I haven’t actually had that much, but I’ve been wanting to go visit Ippudo Singapore (the story here) since I read about it in some random magazine, and finally today got to have an early dinner with D and N. No bookings, small restaurant, all guests at your party need to be present before you can be seated – all recipe for disaster if I’m hungry.

Thankfully we got there bang on 6pm and think we just missed the crowd – by 7 when we left the queue was already 40 people long. Insane. You would think.

Ippudo isn’t exactly the place where you are going to have a relaxed and chilled meal. But then again, you don’t go there for that, you go there for the phenomenal ramen. And gyoza, because we’re greedy.

The stock is burstingly rich with flavour, the noodles are “to order”, soft, medium or hard (we ordered medium which started off a wee bit too hard but by the middle of the dish it was perfect) and it’s now a few hours later and I don’t have that MSG haze or a screaming thirst.

Just fan-bloody-tastic ramen. If you can be bothered getting there super early – otherwise I’d expect to wait maybe 45-60 minutes, or perhaps a late lunch on the weekend ?

Staff are friendly and attentive and efficient – what more could you ask for ?

I also want to explore a bit more of the 4th floor of the Mandarin Gallery – there looked to be some nice cosy little places to have tea, and there’s a Jones the Grocer there, so I don’t have to go all the way to Dempsey now.

Ippudo Singapore

Mondays to Saturdays
11am-11pm
Last order at 10pm

Sundays
11am-10pm
Last order at 9pm

Mandarin Gallery
333A Orchard Road
#04-02/03/04
Singapore 238867
Tel: 6235 6797