Here’s a little background on our main star today, ramen. A Japanese dish that consists of wheat noodles, usually served with meat in a broth. It can be flavoured with soy sauce, or miso (a paste made from fermented soybean, learn how to make one at home here), dried seaweed and green onions.
Now that we’re done with our refresher on ramen (and here are seven best ramen places we’ve shared previously), we want to offer up some alternative ramen choices in Singapore apart from the usual pork-bone culprit. Think tom yum ramen, local fare-inspired ramen and more. If you’re game for it, make this your checklist and go on an alternative ramen-hunt.
Tom Yum Tonkotsu ramen
Experts say when you crave for hot-and-sour flavours, it generally denotes a certain emotional need. But whatever that means for you, we hope the emotion is a celebratory one because Ippudo has just offered up a new Tom Yum Tonkotsu ramen at their Shaw Centre outlet - yay! The cross-cultural mash-up was first launched in their Thai outlets, which received critical acclaim and made its way to our shores.
Intense, the spicy soup base is a blend of Ippudo’s signature tonkotsu (pork bone) broth and Thai tom yum goong, a mainstay in classic authentic Thai restaurants. Served with fresh tiger prawns, cherry tomatoes, minced meat, a half-boiled egg and topped off with some fragrant shrimp oil and lime for that additional hot-and-sour flavour. Radically different from your usual ramen, the smooth broth is well-balanced, with a punchy sourish kick.
Bonus: It’s not overly spicy, so you can still enjoy the springy noodles and flavours of the sea without burning your tongue.
Where: Ippudo Shaw Centre, 1 Scotts Road, #04-22, S(228208)
Mazesoba ramen (dry ramen)
Are you getting a little confused as to why there is a soba in this list? Well, Mazesoba actually refers to soupless ramen and ‘maze’ means ‘to mix’ in Japanese.
Just when we thought the fascination with bak chor mee was over (i.e. you can read how three other restaurants were inspired by it here), Orchid Hotel’s Kajiken has come up with a bak-chor-mee (minced meat noodles)-meets-ramen-noodles bowl that just upped the ante for the usual Japanese fare.
From one of the first-ever dedicated Mazesoba dry ramen (i.e. Mazesoba means soupless ramen, and ‘maze’ is ‘to mix’) shop here, comes the Mazesoba Nogaya style ramen. A straightforward bowl of dry ramen, it comes with spicy minced pork, soft boiled egg, seaweed and vegetables. There is ample chopped spring onions that lends aroma to the sweet and saucy minced pork. If you want a richer flavour, add some vinegar or chilli oil. We love that each bowl comes with a small cup of chicken broth that allows you to cleanse your palate in between intense slurps of the ramen.
Where: Kajiken, Orchid Hotel #01-07, 1 Tras Link, S(078867)
Bak Kut Teh inspired ramen
Found only at Ippudo’s newest outlet in Tanjong Pagar Centre, the Spicy Black ramen is a bak kut teh-inspired ramen. First launched in 2015 as a seasonal item, it is finally back by popular demand. Do note that this is still a seasonal item, so grab a bowl before it’s gone. With that said, a little bird told us that it will stay on the menu for a longer period of time this year.
We can’t blame Ippudo for its fascination with B.K.T. After all, it is one of Park Bo Gum’s favourite local dishes and one of the dishes Gordon Ramsay was supposed to cooked against in 2013’s Hawker Heroes.
And over here, they paid homage to it with a robust and herby soup concoction of homemade miso paste and a medley of spices and peppers. The pork slices are tender and noodles are springy. Do take note that the broth is spicy, even spicier than their hot Akamaru Shinaji (spicy ramen) bowl.
Where: Ippudo Tanjong Pagar Centre, 5 Wallich Street, #01-15, S(078883)
Truffle ramen (dry ramen)
Thankfully for the ramen-lover in you, Kanshoku Ramen Bar at Orchard Gateway uses the revered fungi in a delectable serve-up of dry truffle ramen, one of their current signatures.
The ramen noodles reminds us vaguely of angel hair pasta, all tossed up with an aromatic dose of truffle oil. Topped with some truffle bits, it lends a more intense truffle-flavour while the seaweed (Health-fanatics alert: Kelp’s a superfood, a powerhouse booster for your metabolism) gives an extra texture to the noodles. The slices of char-siu (pork) is tender and coated with a layer of truffle oil as well. So if you’re looking for a hefty bowl of truffle ramen, this is the one to try.
Where: Kanshoku Ramen Bar, OrchardGateway, 277 Orchard Road #01-06, S(238858)
If you want something more elevated from the usual pork broth, a new option available for ramen foodies is a rich umami lobster broth, offered currently at Ramen Keisuke Lobster King. Opened by famed ramen chef Keisuke Takeda, he is known for opening some of the best ramen stores in Singapore. Think the chain of ramen stores by Keisuke, like Ramen Keisuke at Orchid Hotel that garners a snaking line at dinnertime.
The ramen in question is the Rich Creamy Soup from Ramen Keisuke Lobster King, a nice little indulgence at just $14.90 - quite a steal, compared to what you need to pay at other places to get your lobster fix.
Also considering the effort that goes into it: Made from rock lobsters imported from France, the broth is simmered for 10 hours with the chef’s special blend of herbs and vegetables. The result? A mix of luscious French-style lobster bisque and Japanese ramen soup base that brims with flavours. It is ultra-addictive, and we couldn’t help but slurp up the whole bowl to the last spoonful. This is served with slices of char-siu (pork), giving savoury bites of meat in between mouthfuls of noodles. In case you might be concerned about the sinfulness of this dish, perhaps this little health nugget about lobsters can put you at better ease #JustSaying
Where: Ramen Keisuke Lobster King, Clarke Quay The Cannery Block C, 3C River Valley Road +01-07, S(179022)