Sunday, June 29, 2014

The 20 Best Ramen Places in Singapore to Warm Up Your Body and Soul

By nicole.ng@thesmartlocal.com (Nicole-Marie Ng)
https://sg.news.yahoo.com/20-best-ramen-places-singapore-092500504.html

I still remember having my first bowl of good ramen. We had spent hours on the tour bus travelling from Osaka to Tokyo, only to stop at a deserted street. It was winter, and all I really wanted was to get out of the cold and find something to eat.
We noticed a small, empty ramen shop, with only two tables being occupied by locals. Against our Singaporean logic that only restaurants crowded with locals are good, we went in. And in the moment I slurped up my first spoonful of soup, I finally understood what good, authentic ramen was.
Ever since then, I've been on an eternal quest to find the best ramen in Singapore - something that would match up to that experience I had in Japan.
Luckily for us, a myriad of famous ramen chains have opened up in Singapore in recent years, each specialising in different styles of ramen. Some favour Hakata ramen, which uses firm, straight noodles covered with a white pork bone base. Others prefer Sapporo ramen, which has curly noodles in a miso broth.
No matter your preference, there's a ramen shop in Singapore that has the perfect bowl for you - but not every ramen shop in Singapore is worth visiting. In this list, we present the 20 absolute best places for ramen in Singapore.

- Tonkotsu Ramen -

The first 6 on this list are Tonkotsu Ramen, popular in the Hakata, Kyushu and Kagoshima regions of Japan. Tonkotsu broth is made from boiling pork bones over long hours.

1. Hakata Ikkousha

Must Try Ramen: Tonkotsu Ramen ($12.00++)
I love it when ramen places serve all-you-can-eat boiled eggs. I always feel like I'm getting extra value for my meal, even though I only end up eating one egg because they're messy to peel. Hakata Ikkousha not only provides free hard-boiled eggs but also free rice from 11.30am to 3pm, making sure that you never leave their shop hungry.
After being crowned the ultimate ramen champion in 2011 and 2012, Hakata Ikkousha finally has a standalone shop in the heart of Singapore's very own ramen district, Tanjong Pagar. This is currently my new favourite place for a hearty bowl of ramen because the soup is thick and full-bodied. My only complaint is that the meat is rather lacklustre - it's intentionally sliced thinly so that it doesn't overpower the broth.
Address: Block 7 Tanjong Pagar Plaza, #01-104B, Singapore 081007


2. Keisuke Tonkotsu King

Must Try Ramen: Tonkotsu Ramen ($10.80++)
When you mention ramen at Tanjong Pagar to any Singaporean, Keisuke is the first place that comes to mind. The small eatery only seats about 20 people, resulting in long queues during their dinner service every night.
Keisuke is yet another place that serves up free hard-boiled eggs, as well as their unique marinated beansprouts that you can either soak in your ramen or eat separately as a salad. All these freebies are not the only reason why Singaporean ramen lovers are willing to queue for over half an hour. Keisuke has one of the best, if not the best, Tonkotsu bases in Singapore.
When your bowl first reaches you, you'll notice little globs of fat floating around the surface of the soup. They add a ton of flavour, so don't you dare scoop them out in the name of healthy eating.
Address: #01-19, Orchid Hotel, 1 Tras Street, Singapore 078867


3. Menya Sanji

Must Try Ramen: Sanji Ramen ($11.50++)
Just around the corner from Keisuke is the lesser-known Menya Sanji, which has the best-looking bowl of ramen in Singapore. The tonkotsu broth is opaque and milky and their fatty pieces of cha shu are charred to give it that smokey aburi flavour. 
Despite its appearance, the soup base at Menya Sanji was surprisingly light. The reason for its milky appearance Sanji uses the head of the pig to make their broth instead of just the usual pork bones. If you want something spicier, Sanji's Spicy Ramen, which is made with 14 spices, is also recommended.
Address: Orchid Hotel, 1 Tras Link, #01-14, Tanjong Pagar, Singapore 078867


4. Ippudo

b2ap3_thumbnail_rwimage.jpgSource: Ippudo
Must Try Ramen: Akamaru Shin-aji ($16++)
The first time I tried Ippudo was when they first opened at Mandarin Gallery back in 2009. I still remember the hype that surrounded their opening - after all, they were one of the first few famous ramen chains to reach our shores from Japan.
Sadly Ippudo didn't deliver the first time around, and I only made my second trip this year when they opened their newest outlet at Westgate. My second experience with Ippudo was tons better. Ippudo's tonkotsu broth was extremely rich in flavour and if you have the Akamaru Shin-aji ramen, the garlic oil and miso paste further elevate the broth to give you one of the tastiest soup bases out there.
Address: Ippudo SG @ Mandarin Gallery, 333A Orchard Road, #04-02/03/04


5. Tampopo

b2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_3727-Copy.JPG
Must Try Ramen: Kurobuta Shabu Ramen ($16.30++)
Liang Court is known as Singapore's Little Tokyo because of the numerous Japanese businesses and restaurants available at the mall. They also have MEIDI-YA, a Japanese Supermarket that is worth a trip on it's own for the sheer variety of Japanese products available.
Tampopo is one of the flagship restaurants at Liang Court and it serves up a very balanced bowl of ramen. They even import their noodles specially from Kyushu, and the noodles were perfectly al dente. Tampopo boils their pork bone soup for 2 days, resulting in a very milky broth. Topped with chilli flakes for spice, corn and seasoned egg for sweetness, and thinly sliced shabu-shabu style pork for savoriness, I would label Tampopo's ramen as the best all-rounder in this list.
Address: #01-23/24, Liang Court, 177 River Valley Road, Singapore 179030


6. Ramen Bar Suzuki

Must Try Ramen: Pure White Tonkotsu Ramen ($12.90++)
Located in the heart of the CBD, behind the stretch of restaurants at Boat Quay is Ramen Bar Suzuki. It's been a huge hit with the office crowd, not just because they serve a great bowl of ramen but also because you get a real bang for your buck when you dine here.
Not only do you get a satisfying bowl of ramen, you can also take as much potato salad, spicy beansprouts and steamed Japanese Rice as you want - and that's just the lunch hour. During dinner you'll get shredded cabbage with an assortment of dressings, instead of the beansprouts and potato salad.
Address: 61 Circular RD #01-01, Singapore 049415


- Shoyu Ramen -

Shoyu ramen has a clear brown broth due to the addition of soy sauce, which results in the soup being tangy and salty yet light on the palate. Shoyu ramen is the most popular type of ramen in Japan, especially in Tokyo.

7. Sanpoutei

b2ap3_thumbnail_983669_564534240327502_4035360146674077217_n.jpgSource: Sanpoutei Ramen
Must Try Ramen: Niigata Shoyu Ramen ($14.00++)
Shoyu ramen is not as popular in Singapore as its Tonkotsu counterpart, but it is the preferred soup base for ramen in Tokyo. Sanpoutei has been serving up classic Shoyu ramen in Niigata since 1967, and the Singapore branch continues this tradition by importing Japanese produce just to make their stock.
Sanpoutei's noodles are made fresh daily in Singapore using only the best quality flour from Niigata. The cha shu is tender to the point of almost breaking apart when you try to pick it up with your chopsticks.
Address: 253 Holland Ave #01-01 Singapore 278982


8. Baikohken

 b2ap3_thumbnail_DSC_0138-Copy.JPG
Must Try Ramen: Butter and Corn Shoyu Ramen ($15.50++)
I had a hard time deciding whether or not to include Baikohken in this list as it falls short of my definition of what good ramen should be. The noodles were very soft and tasted like what you would get from a packet of instant mee. The soup was nothing fantastic as well, being rather one-note and bland. The meat was as tough as a leather boot and I had to chew and chew before I finally gave up.
Despite my grievances, there are still plenty of positive reviews for Baikohken online, showing how much of a personal preference ramen can be. What I love might be what you despise, which is why I aim to create a comprehensive list so that despite your preferences, you can still find a bowl of ramen that you love. If Baikohken was not on this list, Menya Musashi would be.
Address: Takashimaya Basement 2


- Miso Ramen -

Miso ramen originated in Hokkaido where the winters are especially long and cold. Miso paste is used to flavour the ramen in order to create a thick and rich soup, often including butter and corn to warm up your body and soul.

9. Sapporo Ramen Miharu

b2ap3_thumbnail_DSC_0107-Copy.JPG
Must Try Ramen:  Special Blended Tokusen Miso Ramen ($13.80++)
Miso ramen is a lot richer than just your regular Tonkotsu both and the broth at Miharu is no exception. The soup base at Miharu was very bold and a little overwhelming at first, but when paired with the springy noodles and sweet corn, the flavours all came together in perfect harmony. 
They are also very generous with their specially imported Nishimaya noodles, which are curly and bouncy while retaining a good amount of bite.
Address: 1 Nanson Rd, Singapore 238909


10. Tonkotsu Kazen Ramen

b2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_3748-Copy.JPG
Must Try Ramen: Kazan Karamiso Ramen ($18.00++)
Known as the volcano ramen, Tonkotsu Kazen serves its ramen in a heated stone bowl. The soup is only poured upon its arrival at your table and after 1 minute, you can watch the ramen "erupt" with steam, just like a volcano would.
In my opinion, the volcano thing is totally a gimmick and doesn't affect the way your ramen tastes at all. However, due to the high temperature of the soup and the bowl, the noodles used here at are extremely thick and flat. It's like a linguine version of ramen noodles, ensuring that it doesn't become a mushy mess when you eat it.
They are also extremely generous with their beansprouts and cabbage and cha shu. You'll probably finish all your noodles before you manage to finish the vegetables and meat. Not to worry though - each bowl of ramen is served with a bowl of rice, which you can add to your soup in order to really clean out the rest of the ingredients.
Address: 177 River Valley Road, #01-10 Liang Court Singapore 179030


11. Shin Sapporo Ramen

Must Try Ramen: Shin-Sapporo Miso Ramen ($14.80++)
Shin Sapporo often gets overlooked as a place that serves up great ramen because no one really expects to find authentic-tasting ramen in a heartland mall like Century Square. Shin Sapporo actually offers a huge range of ramen and makes all the different types of noodles they serve in-house.
Its founder Mr Chaim has strong roots in traditional Japanese heritage, having spent months in Japan learning from ramen masters, and is someone I really admire for following his dream. They also introduce different seasonal ramens, including Sake ramen during winter, which you can get drunk on if you're a lightweight like me.
Address: 2 Tampines Central 5, #B1-10/11, Century Square | 277 Orchard Road, #B2-04A/05, Orchard Gateway

- Chicken Ramen -

If you're not a fan of pork, give these chicken-based ramen shops a try. Chicken parts are boiled for hours in order to create a full-bodied chicken broth, much better than what you would get from just using chicken seasoning cubes to make your soup.

12. Marutama

b2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_3756-Copy.JPG
Must Try Ramen: Zenbu Nose ($18.00++)
Marutama Ramen is different from the other types of ramen on this list not just because they specialise in chicken broth instead of the usual pork variety, but also because their noodles are extremely thin.
Everything about the ramen at Marutama is very light. The bowl is even covered in tons of spring onions, which makes you feel like you're having a healthy meal. If you like cha shu that is 50% fat, 50% meat, and 100% melt in your mouth, you will love the cha shu here. 
Address: #02-01/03, Liang Court, 177 River Valley Road


13. Ramen Matsuri

b2ap3_thumbnail_b2ap3_thumbnail_AT6A3319.jpg
Must Try Ramen: Shoyu with Tamago ($13.90++)
Chef Kenichi Ikehata used to helm the kitchens of Murutama but has since moved on to start his own Ramen shop, Ramen Matsuri. Instead of the ramen being topped with slices of cha shu, you get slices of Sakura chicken that are tender and have a totally different flavour from the regular chicken we find in Singapore as they are fed with lactobacillus - a friendly bacteria that naturally enhances your immune system.
Ladies also get a free serving of collagen to dissolve in your soup to keep your skin looking supple and youthful! If you're not a lady but you're still interested in all the wonderful benefits of collagen, that will cost you an extra $3.
Address: 7 North Canal Road, Singapore 048820


14. Tsukada Nojo

b2ap3_thumbnail_299318_421643057885676_1645219282_n_20140625-012238_1.jpgSource: Tsukada Nojo
Must Try Ramen: Bijin Nabe with Thick Mochi Mochi Noodles ($25.00++)
Speaking of collagen, you can't miss Tsukada Nojo, famous for its Bijin Nabe or beauty hotpot. Tsukada Nojo is one of my favourite restaurants to dine at in Singapore. While the beauty hotpot doesn't exactly count as ramen, they serve 3 types of noodles that you can add to your hotpot if you absolutely must have carbs with your meal.
Tsukada Nojo only serves its Bijin Nabe during dinner time. For lunch, they offer a variety of individually portioned bowls of ramen topped with roasted slices of chicken. You can also choose how salty you want your soup to be during lunch, so it's great for people who are conscious of their sodium intake.
Address:: The Atrium@Orchard, 60A Orchard Road



15. Tori King by Keisuke

Must Try Ramen: Tori King Ramen Special ($15.90++)
Famous for their huge roasted drumstick that comes with each bowl of ramen, Tori King by Keisuke is Keisuke Takeda's third ramen restaurant in Singapore. The soup here is made by boiling chicken bones and chicken feet for hours, which you can enjoy plain or with 2 different sauces, either black or green.
The green sauce is made with wasabi and turns the soup bright green. No reason to be intimidated though - the heat is manageable and the wasabi adds a different dimension to the ramen.
Address: #03-15, 100AM, 100 Tras Street

- Unique Ramen -

In this section of our guide, we feature ramen that doesn't fit neatly into any category. All these places have something unique that set them apart from your regular bowl of ramen.

16. Daikokuya@Robertson Quay

 b2ap3_thumbnail_DSC_0094-Copy.JPG
Must Try Ramen: Special Tsukemen ($14.80++)
Brought to you by the founder of Tsukemen, Kazuo Yamagashi, Daikokuya is a full fledged Japanese restaurant that serves donburis, katsu curry, gyozas and even pan fried potatoes with mentaiko sauce! Their speciality however, is their Japanese dipping noodles known as Tsukemen.
The noodles are are extra thick and chewy, but don't get me wrong, they still taste like ramen noodles and not like the egg noodles we find in our Mee Rebus. The flavour of the dipping sauce is so strong that if you tried to scoop it up and drink some like normal soup, it would be way too salty and overpowering.
As a dipping sauce, however, the flavours complement the noodles perfectly. If you still find the sauce too salty, each bowl of Tsukemen comes with a smaller bowl of dashi which comes with thinly sliced pieces of fatty pork and shitake mushrooms, so you can dilute the sauce to your liking.
Address: #01-05, Riverside Village, 30 Robertson Quay


17. Ramen Bari Uma

b2ap3_thumbnail_DSC_0125-Copy.JPG
Must Try Ramen: Hiroshima Ramen ($15.50++)
Ramen Bari Uma serves up Hiroshima style ramen where the soup base is a mixture of both pork and shoyu. This results in the soup being much thicker than regular shoyu ramen, with a more robust flavour. They also used straight ramen noodles which were slightly overcooked. Being able to choose the hardness of your noodle might be something the restaurant could look into in order to serve the perfect bowl of ramen to their guest.
I loved that the egg was still runny and the meat had an excellent smokey quality about it, instead of the usual sweetened cha shu we normally find in ramen.
Address: 19 Tanglin Rd, Singapore 247909


18. Nantsuttei

b2ap3_thumbnail_1904079_687617731302979_41604597_n.jpgSource: Nantsuttei
Must Try Ramen: Maru-toku Negi Chashu-men ($17.00++)
Previously located at Parco Marina Bay at Millenia Walk, we hear that Nansuttei is finally set to open its new branch on the 24th of June. Many fans have missed Nantsuttei's presence in the ramen market because of their signature Black Ma-yu, roasted garlic, and an unforgettable sesame oil blend that coats the whole bowl of ramen.
Address: Orchard Central, level 7.


19. Uma Uma Ramen

b2ap3_thumbnail_DSC_0117-Copy.JPG
Must Try Ramen: Mazesoba ($14.00++)
The most unique ramen of the bunch, Uma Uma Ramen's Mazesoba reminds me of a cross betweenKin Kin Pan Mee and Yakisoba. The seasoning used to flavour the ramen noodles was sweet with a bit of a kick from the chilli oil that hits you after. The runny egg that you mix in with the noodles also makes sure that you won't find the noodles too dry.
However, it might be more worth your while to try their regular Uma Uma ramen, as that comes with cha shu and the same toppings as the Mazesoba despite being the same price.
Address: Forum The Shopping Mall, Orchard Rd, Singapore 238884


20. Santouka

Must Try Ramen: Iberico Toroniku Ramen ($22.00++)
If you were reading this list thinking "Where is Santouka?", don't worry, I haven't forgotten Singapore's most popular ramen place.
With over 2000 votes as Singapore's top ramen by Wattention's Ramen Revolution, Santouka has gathered lots of fans who consider it the best place for ramen in Singapore. Cooked for 17 hours using pork bones, dried fish, kelp, vegetables and other special ingredients, Santouka's soup is always served piping hot. I can't even count the number of times I've burnt my tongue because I'm always so excited to have my first sip of soup.
It is also the only place in Singapore that serves incredibly tender Iberico Toroniku, or pork cheek meat, that is lean but soft. Even if you go with their regular bowls of ramen, the cha shu is sure to satisfy, along with with their springy noodles and crunchy kikurage (jew's ear).
Address: 6 Eu Tong Sen Street, #02-76 The Central, Singapore 059817


Final Ramen Notes

A bowl of ramen on a rainy day in Singapore is like dining in heaven itself. It doesn't matter if you prefer Tonkotsu or Shoyu, fatty slices of char shu or lean thinly sliced pieces of meat. From the moment the spoon reaches your mouth till your first slurp, all you'll feel is warmth and contentment.
This list has covered the 20 best ramen places in Singapore that we've found so far, but we are not 100% satisfied that we've found the absolute best - one that will end our search for a new place for ramen forever. If you have any suggestions of other ramen places that are worth checking out, do leave us a comment to let us know!
Lastly, if you want a head start on this ramen journey, note that the Japanese themed Liang Court is having a special ood trail from the 30th of June to the 7th of August. You can get 3 different set meals, 1 quick bite and a free beer or drink for just $40 at any 5 of their 25 participating F&B outlets.
It's a great way to start on your Ramen Food Trail, since 3 of the restaurants featured here are right in Liang Court and many more are situated nearby in the River Valley area.

No comments:

Post a Comment