This week's expedition brings me to Santouka (山頭火) at Central, Clarke Quay.
One of my favourite ramen chains in Singapore as well as Japan!
Entrance of Santouka @ Central
Clean and neat interior
According to Santouka's website, Santouka was started in 1988, after the founder was inspired by a Japan movie "Tampopo" (which is a comedy about how a ramen stall rises from its low). Coincidentally I happened to watch it too many years ago at the Picturehouse! It brings back nostalgic memories...
Despite being originated from Asahikawa, Santouka's style is totally different from that of Aoba or Baikohken. Santouka is famous for its Shio Ramen ($13.5) and its Pork Toro Ramen ($19.5).
What characterises Santouka's ramen is its white soup and its ingredients.
The white soup is made based on a mix of pork bone, vegetables and seafood soups that are separately boiled at a suitable temperature for each type of soup. It also makes sure that the temperature of the soup is not too hot for eating and that the salt content is low, so that the customers can finish up till the last drop.
And what I like is the ingredients of its ramen and its presentation. In addition to menma and onion, it has some unusual toppings like black fungus, naruto (fish cake) and a small blob of sour plum. The colour of the ingredients contrast so well with the white soup, making the ramen so appetising! It looks so refined and sophisticated. The mix of ingredients also gives different experiences when you eat them.
Pork Toro Ramen
Moving on to the pork toro ramen. The pork toro, which is actually roasted pork cheeks, is a limited delicacy as there are only 200-300g of that for every pig. The texture is different from the normal char siew - you can see the strands of muscle when you look closely at it. It is roasted to perfection as well and it just melts in your month when you eat it! Yummy!
Pork Toro - close up!
Another thing that I like about Santouka is its interior - it is clean and simple, and it plays soothing Jazz music too! Jazz and ramen may not sound as if it will gel, but as a lover of both, I feel very relaxed and at home.
The only grumble is that it is slightly expansive - after the ++, the pork toro ramen costs about $21.7, which is close to 1400 yen. The same costs 1200 yen in Japan. Not sure what makes the pricing in Singapore higher?
But the food & ambiance are definitely great! I'll be back!!
View Singapore Ramen Map in a larger map
Ramen Data - Ramen Santouka - Central
Address: #02-76, The Central
Types: Shio, Shoyu, Miso, Pork Toro Ramen