Japanese

Japanese

Featuring Ramen Champion (Bugis+), Ramen Keisuke Tori King (100AM), Ramen Nagi (Suntec City), Ramen Keisuke Tonkotsu King (Tanjong Pagar), Sanpoutei Ramen (Holland Village), Chirashi King Kong (Tanjong Pagar Plaza), Teru Sushi (Tiong Bahru), Omurice Keisuke, Una Una (Bugis+), Menya Kanae Ramen (Novena)
Sean Chen
Sean Chen

While the waffles were crisp on the outside, they were served lukewarm which made us wonder whether the waffles were indeed freshly made as if they were, would they really still be crispy after leaving it out for awhile? (I honestly have no idea.) Oh yes, the waffle was served lukewarm because the service on that day was pretty inefficient but that could be attributed to the staff still getting accustomed to a new workflow. Both their Chocolate and Vanilla ice creams were also mediocre at best. ๐—œ๐—ป ๐˜€๐—ต๐—ผ๐—ฟ๐˜, ๐—ป๐—ผ๐˜ ๐˜„๐—ผ๐—ฟ๐˜๐—ต ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐—ฐ๐—ฎ๐—น๐—ผ๐—ฟ๐—ถ๐—ฒ๐˜€.

More information at: https://www.instagram.com/p/CGVY1QwnVjD/?igshid=mps1cjeqpd2p

Served with a dollop ofย ย Menya Kanaeโ€™s Original Red Spicy Paste (Made out of 8 different spices), the heat was honestly pretty mild and overall, was more umami than spicy. The countless chili seeds dotting the broth are far more likely to get you looking like you've just completed a marathon. Their spice hits you instantly before ending off with a mild Tonkotsu / 'porky' broth and a slightly oily mouthfeel. This was the biggest let-down to me as I do appreciate a rich Tonkotsu broth. The slices of Char Siu did not fare much better - Tough and not smoky. Perhaps their only saving grace was their noodles which did had a good bite.

More information at: https://www.instagram.com/p/CGVY1QwnVjD/?igshid=mps1cjeqpd2p

๐Ž๐ฆ๐ฎ๐ซ๐ข๐œ๐ž ๐‚๐จ๐ฆ๐›๐จ ($๐Ÿ๐Ÿ.๐Ÿ—๐ŸŽ++)
While their Omurice Combo may be a โ€˜carb overloadโ€™ (Rice + Spaghetti), I just didnโ€™t want to experience a food regret. Unfortunately for me though, my wallet regretted paying that additional $3++. Yes, their spaghetti is not worth it.
When my combo came, I was relieved that the spaghetti was just a small side on the plate, kind of like adding a boiled potato to a Western meal. While it was slightly creamy, the mentaiko could have been far more pronounced and I was ultimately disappointed. On to the main event, the eggs tasted as creamy as they looked but I do feel that they could have been fluffier. Meanwhile, the rice was a little lacklustre as the tomato notes were too subtle. Nevertheless, ๐˜„๐—ต๐—ฎ๐˜ ๐˜€๐˜๐—ผ๐—ผ๐—ฑ ๐—ผ๐˜‚๐˜ ๐˜๐—ผ ๐—บ๐—ฒ ๐˜„๐—ฎ๐˜€ ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฒ๐—ถ๐—ฟ ๐—ฑ๐—ฒ๐—บ๐—ถ-๐—ด๐—น๐—ฎ๐—ฐ๐—ฒ ๐˜€๐—ฎ๐˜‚๐—ฐ๐—ฒ which brought all the components together. Slightly bitter but very umami, it complemented the sweeter rice well. My dining companion did comment that the teriyaki sauce from the Chicken Teriyaki Hamburg fared better, probably because its flavour was bolder and more familiar. To each his own I guess.

๐‚๐ก๐ข๐œ๐ค๐ž๐ง ๐“๐ž๐ซ๐ข๐ฒ๐š๐ค๐ข ๐‡๐š๐ฆ๐›๐ฎ๐ซ๐  ($๐Ÿ‘++)
Both of us were pretty disappointed when the hamburg came, as it was ๐—ฝ๐—ฒ๐˜๐—ถ๐˜๐—ฒ ๐—ณ๐—ผ๐—ฟ $๐Ÿฏ++. Thankfully though, it was cooked really well, with a charred and crispy outer skin adding that familiarย smoky, slightly bitter note to the otherwise one-dimensional, albeit flavourful, teriyaki sauce. ๐—–๐—ผ๐—ป๐˜€๐—ถ๐—ฑ๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ด ๐—ต๐—ผ๐˜„ ๐˜„๐—ฒ๐—น๐—น ๐—ถ๐˜ ๐˜„๐—ฎ๐˜€ ๐—ฐ๐—ผ๐—ผ๐—ธ๐—ฒ๐—ฑ, ๐—œ ๐—ฑ๐—ถ๐—ฑ๐—ป'๐˜ ๐—ณ๐—ฒ๐—ฒ๐—น ๐˜๐—ผ๐—ผ ๐—ฏ๐—ฎ๐—ฑ ๐—ฝ๐—ฎ๐—ฟ๐˜๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ด ๐—ฎ๐˜„๐—ฎ๐˜† ๐˜„๐—ถ๐˜๐—ต ๐—บ๐˜† ๐—บ๐—ผ๐—ป๐—ฒ๐˜† ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐—ฎ๐—ณ๐˜๐—ฒ๐—ฟ but I did likely go elsewhere for a protein fix.

Overall, while Omurice Keisuke did live up to its name of serving up affordable Japanese food at a decent quality, I got to admit that this would be my least favourite branch thus far.ย 
Price: 8/10
Taste: 6.5/10
Ambience: 7/10
Service: 9/10
Overall: 7/10 (๐——๐—ฒ๐—ฐ๐—ฒ๐—ป๐˜ ๐—ฎ๐—ป๐—ฑ ๐—ฎ๐—ณ๐—ณ๐—ผ๐—ฟ๐—ฑ๐—ฎ๐—ฏ๐—น๐—ฒ ๐—บ๐—ฒ๐—ฎ๐—น, ๐—ฒ๐˜€๐—ฝ๐—ฒ๐—ฐ๐—ถ๐—ฎ๐—น๐—น๐˜† ๐—ถ๐—ณ ๐˜†๐—ผ๐˜‚'๐—ฟ๐—ฒ ๐—ณ๐—ฎ๐—บ๐—ถ๐˜€๐—ต๐—ฒ๐—ฑ)

Full review at: https://liveeatbless.wordpress.com/2020/08/27/ramen-keisuke-singapore-review/
More pictures at: https://www.instagram.com/p/CEZAQNlnJuz/?igshid=1734cvs97a7nm

Ordering the Tori King Special, which excluding the massive Chicken Thigh, comes with Chicken Chasyu, Seaweed, Roasted Chicken Meat Ball and Flavoured Egg, I only realised at the end that I was supposed to have a flavoured egg. The broth tasted as hearty and rich as that of Tonkotsu King. According to @Misstamchiak, the broth is said to have been simmered for over 8 hours. As the name suggests, the key difference would simply be the lack of any 'porky' taste. What impressed me was how well the different cuts of chicken were done. Starting with the massive chicken thigh, the meat was so tender it could be peeled off with your chopstick. Soaking up the ramen broth and bursting with juices on its own, I would gladly pay extra for a second helping of this. If my tastebuds did not fail me, the slices of chicken meat tasted slightly alcoholic, which definitely caught me by surprise. Even the meatball, which I do not typically like, finished off with a nice yuzu tang, elevating it. Compared to Tonkotsu King, Tori King has a larger seating capacity and is located in a mall, ensuring that those waiting outside do not perish in the afternoon heat. Located just a short walk from the original Tonkotsu King @ Orchid Hotel, Tori King is definitely ๐—ฎ ๐˜„๐—ผ๐—ฟ๐˜๐—ต๐˜† ๐—ฎ๐—น๐˜๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐—ป๐—ฎ๐˜๐—ถ๐˜ƒ๐—ฒ for me if the queue gets too long or if my tastebuds are tired.
Price: 8/10
Taste: 9/10
Ambience: 7.5/10
Service: 7.5/10
Overall: 8.5/10 (Similar food quality to Tonkotsu King but with a better ambience, ๐—ด๐—ผ๐—ผ๐—ฑ ๐—ณ๐—ผ๐—ฟ ๐—ฏ๐—ถ๐—ด๐—ด๐—ฒ๐—ฟ ๐—ด๐—ฟ๐—ผ๐˜‚๐—ฝ๐˜€ ๐—ผ๐—ณ ๐Ÿฐ-๐Ÿฑ)

Full review at: https://liveeatbless.wordpress.com/2020/08/27/ramen-keisuke-singapore-review/
More pictures at: https://www.instagram.com/p/CEY_7nOHfLP/?igshid=ycj53cf4o8nu

Keisuke Takeda clinched the title of Ramen Champion at the Tokyo Ramen Championships in 2011. With over 30,000 Ramen Chefs competing, he regarded the period as the peak of his career. Soon after however, he found himself 'itching for a challenge overseas' because dominating Tokyo's food scene was clearly not enough. ._.
As a fellow foodie, I'm glad he did though for if not for his initial investment of $650,000 and years accommodating to the Singaporean palate, the majority of us may still be deluded into thinking that Ajisen Ramen is actually ramen.

While I am unlikely to travel to Japan anytime soon, Ramen Keisuke Tonkotsu King is a close second. The rich creamy broth is the closest I've had to that of Ichiran thus far - my standard for a good Tonkotsu. More uniquely, the layer of chicken oil made for a velvety mouthfeel at the end of each slurp. While the broth does get overly rich / 'jelat' after awhile, the unlimited servings of chilled spicy sprouts does help to cut through it. Liking my noodles hard, mine had a great bite and checked all the boxes of the typical thin ramen noodles. Unfortunately, the slices of char siu could still look to Sanpoutei for inspiration. On that day, I would have preferred mine to be smokier and much more tender. Overall, I still would not consider myself as having plenty of ramen in Singapore. But as it stands, based on the taste and price, this joint trumps Sanpoutei @ Holland Village. If you do factor in the ambience and service though, that's a different story.
Price: 9/10
Taste: 9/10 (๐—ช๐—ผ๐—ฟ๐˜๐—ต ๐—พ๐˜‚๐—ฒ๐˜‚๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ด ๐—ถ๐—ณ ๐˜†๐—ผ๐˜‚'๐˜ƒ๐—ฒ ๐—ป๐—ฒ๐˜ƒ๐—ฒ๐—ฟ ๐˜๐—ฟ๐—ถ๐—ฒ๐—ฑ ๐—ฏ๐—ฒ๐—ณ๐—ผ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ)
Ambience: 6.5/10
Service: 4/10
Overall: 7.5/10

More pictures at: https://www.instagram.com/p/CD6EBQCnUAd/?igshid=1157q74k1iil8

(Part 2 of 2)

Nikumori Rich Miso Ramen with Special Full Topping ($19.80++)
While the noodles and the egg were the same, the broth tasted much more umami and of course, less 'meaty'. This broth was simmered for 8h before being mixed with their original blend of miso. And though it was great, as a fan of tonkotsu, it really paled in comparison to the previous bowl. Furthermore, while the stir-fried pork belly slices were thick, they were considerably tougher than the aburi char shu and I would gladly swap the pork belly slices for the char shu any day. Oh, plus points for the copious amounts of onions provided though.
Taste: 8/10

Rice Set
Tarako Onigirazu ($4++)
Topping up an additional $4++ for their rice set, I had their Tarako (Salted Pollock Roe) Onigirazu (Onigiri's rectangular cousin). Simply put it, it tasted like a less satisfying version of mentaiko mixed with a hefty portion of rice which should not be surprising I guess as the roe is not marinated in a mixture of salt and chili peppers. While I'm unlikely to have it again, at least not this flavour, I'll highly recommend dunking it into the broth. Though it'll fall apart instantly, it's akin to dipping bread in soup i.e. They are *meant* for each other.

Needless to say, this meal is perhaps the closest semblance (thus far) to food found in Japan. And if not for the price point, I'll gladly come back to sample everything they have to offer.
Overall (Taste + Ambience + Price): 8/10

More pictures at: https://www.instagram.com/p/B8Q9UhrHx1w/?igshid=j3jazvzudc2t

(Part 1 of 2)
After my disastrous experience at Ajisen Ramen, I've received quite a few other recommendations on legit Japanese food in Singapore. Forgiving myself for my ignorance, we enjoyed an amazing bowl of ramen this time, reminiscent of the ones in Japan. That is, apart from the price point.

Entering Sanpoutei Ramen at Holland Village, I was surprised at how spacious the interior was as it appeared tiny from the front. To get to our seats, we walked past the kitchen where different staff were focused on skillfully cooking just 1 item. As I finally browsed through my favourite book, I began to get increasingly excited, forgetting just how much I've missed Japanese cuisine...

Tonkotsu Ramen w Special Full Topping ($19.80++)
Rich and porky broth filled with creamy goodness, this was thoroughly satisfying and we wished that we could have gotten a refill (Didn't actually try asking though). Soaking up their broth were their firm and springy curly noodles. While I do prefer mine extra firm, it had already exceeded my expectations. Of course, one should not forget their creamy shoyu egg which spotted a surreal sunset orange hue. Without the 12 hour tonkotsu (pork bones) broth, their aburi char shu (BBQ Pork) would have taken centre stage. It had a nice layer of fat, was tender all around and had a smoky flavour which seems to have had eluded other Japanese restaurants I've tried in Singapore.
Taste: 9/10

More pictures at: https://www.instagram.com/p/B8Q9HnLHS_O/?igshid=byugjx48fufo

Kumamoto Ramen
Adapted fromย http://www.japan-tour.jp/en/kumamoto-ramen/kyushu/kumamoto/ramen/8025ย andย tasteatlas.com/kumamoto-ramen respectively,
1) Kumamoto ramen is a dish that consists of thick, strong noodles served inside a rich soup made with pork bones. Garlic is a key feature, with garlic chips, as well as garlic oil used in the recipe.
2) The broth is not as oily as the one found in Hakata ramen, making it suitable to those who aren't used to strong-tasting broths. This ramen is also known for the inclusion of fried garlic chips and sesame oil.

As usual, I tried the broth first and surprisingly, this broth had barely any flavour compared to the ramen I had at Volcano Kazan. It was less rich with no garlic chips and I am sure, no garlic oil present in the ramen. If there was any garlic used in making this dish I truly could not identify it. The noodles were similarly firm and slightly more springy which I prefer while the egg was slightly more runny and custard-like. However, it was similarly flavourless. My next surprise came when I was trying their char shu (2 slices). It was even tougher than the previous ramen hence I'm quite thankful that it was cut into bite-sized portions. The best item here would be their kakuni (braised pork belly) which had a good ratio of meat to fat, was tender and had a strong, robust flavour. Unfortunately, as the broth was utterly disappointing, I found this to be even less satisfying than the previous ramen.
Taste: 5/10

Chijimi (6pcs)
'Korean-style scallion pancakes'
All I can say is I think I've had enough surprises from here...It had absolutely no flavour. Felt as though I was eating starch mixed with oil and the occasional hint of vegetable. Strongly do not recommend, you'll probably need all their vinegar to finish this.
Taste: 2/10

More pictures at: https://www.instagram.com/p/B4y8MjrHgOm/?igshid=1qnis5mgz0mwk

Karamiso (Spicy miso) Ramen
When my bowl arrived, I was really excited as the dish, together with the rest of the restaurant looked very authentic. It even came with the special ramen soup spoon like my previous experience in Ramen Nagi Singapore. Unfortunately, the broth was was not the richest, though relative to the next restaurant I tried was much more flavourful and creamy. The noodles were firm and al dente but would have preferred it to be more springy. I would have preferred my ramen gg (Ajitsuke Tamago) just a tad bit more creamy. Flavourwise, both restaurants I tried failed to deliver as there was hardly any taste in the egg. The sliced char shu here was very lean, but slightly tough. While it was definitely more flavourful than the egg with a hint of sweetness, its flavour was somehow masked by the broth it was in. Also, I felt that more slices could have been given though the single slice (and a half) I had was thicker than usual. My favourite element here would have to be the reddish ball of spicy miso minced meat right at the centre of the bowl. After thoroughly mixing it into the broth though, the spice and meat was diluted to the point that the dish was no longer spicy and lacking in much flavour. Overall, I've tried much better ramen than this and I doubt 'll be coming back for this.
Taste: 5.5/10

Cha Shu Salad
Their salad came with sliced cabbage, 1 slice of cucumber, bits of corn and of course sliced char shu resting on top 1 cabbage leaf before being topped off with a generous drizzle of goma/roasted sesame dressing. It's kind of like an elevated version of the unlimited helpings of salad offered at a Tonkatsu restaurant. Simple but satisfying, especially if you are a fan of the goma dressing.
Taste: 7/10

More pictures at: https://www.instagram.com/p/B4y61glnIqm/?igshid=1ij4jzxbf1k84

Ramen Champion @ Bugis+
Tonkotsu Ikkyu

Note: Price is exclusive of 7% GST

- Egg was unfortunately overcooked. It was slightly sweet but would have preferred a stronger flavour.
- Firm noodles
- Rich, umami and porky broth
- Char siew had a fantastic charred caramelised taste and was very meaty, not the fatty kind but still had ton of flavour just felt that it could be less oily. Very satisfying and significant portion given.
For the price, I didn't think this was quite substantial though a huge portion of char siew meat was given. Would have preferred an option for complimentary noodle upsize and perhaps some vegetables or thin slices of char siew to be provided as well?
Taste: 8.5/10

More pictures at: https://www.instagram.com/p/B3mKhfqArED/?igshid=f2s2t6kwlkem

Note: There is 7% GST

'Minced Chicken, Half-boiled egg, Garlic Chili Oil'
The Udon could have been more firm. The dish is what you will expect, something like minced meat noodle but with thicker noodles. I felt that the chili was barely spicy as well.
Taste: 7/10

Quite a sizeable portion if you add on some of their tempura as side-dishes. While their tempura tastes decent, their not crispy, probably fried at the start of the day and left at the counter for far too long. I tried their Creamy Crab Croquette ($2.90++), Jumbo Mixed Kakiage; Fried mixed vegetables ($2++) and Deep-fried fish cake ($2.90++).
My advice: Stay away from the deep-fried fish cake. It is far too chewy and soggy. The Jumbo Mixed Kakiage had good taste but was soggy as well. My favourite would be the Creamy Crab Croquette due to how creamy it was, could not quite make out the taste of the crab though.
Overall Taste for all tempura: 5.5/10

More pictures at: https://www.instagram.com/p/B3MxnF2g1ew/?igshid=wj4lwruw0b0t

Not worth getting. Meagre portion of diced salmon cubes given. Entire bowl was mainly filled with bitter lettuce and other salad vegetables, chilled mashed potatoes and Japanese rice. Go for their Hitsumabushi instead, much more worth it.
Price: 4/10
Taste: 4/10
Overall: 4/10 (Would not order this again and will really NOT recommend)

See more at: https://www.instagram.com/p/B10jLjaASIH/?igshid=1px72du62a5tp

IG: @thankgodforf00d

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