Saturday, July 23, 2011

Menya Iroha (麺屋いろは) - Negi Ramen, Ramen Champion, Iluma

Visited Ramen Champion today to continue my quest to finish all the 6 ramen brands.

And there I'm, greeted by a queue!

Really? I have to queue to enter?

The advertisements at the MRT station screens sure did work to bring in the crowd. Iluma is usually pretty empty and when I was at Ramen Champion on its opening day it was quiet too. Happy that ramen is creating another storm in Singapore!

Today, my feet bring me to Menya Iroha (麺屋いろは).

Another queue, but I'm happy to wait

Iroha comes from Toyama Prefecture (富山県), a prefecture in central Japan on the side of the Sea of Japan. A place that is little known by people overseas. Some adventurous tourist might have been to the Kurobe dam and Tateyama mountain, which are located in Toyama.

location of Iroha HQ

Iroha seemed to have received many accolades - It achieved top sales for 2 consecutive years in Tokyo Ramen Show 2009 and 2010, selling 13355 bowls of ramen over 5 days. Assuming a bowl of ramen was sold at 700yen, they would have earned about S$150k just in that 5 days. It also received an award from the prefecture governor of Toyama as an outstanding enterprise.

Iroha has several specialties, and one of them is the Toyama Black Soy Sauce Ramen.
I ordered the Negi Tama Ramen (leek & egg ramen, $13) version of this specialty today.

The toppings of char siew (x2), egg, chopped & shredded leek, seaweed, bamboo shoot and a sprinkle of black pepper sit on top of curly noodles and the signature black soup. Presentation was good, and the colors contrast well on top of the black soup.

The soup base is made from a mix of seafood (dried fish, kelp, etc.), chicken and vegetables. The black color is due to its secret black soy sauce, which is said to be made in such a way that it maximises the "umami" of the sauce while keeping salt content low. Together with the seafood and chicken broth, although the soup looks salty, but surprisingly it is light but full of flavour. I think that it goes down very easily and you won't get sick of it.

The egg, I must say that it is so far the most runny among the 6 stores in Ramen champion. Some of them are too well-done.

Runny yolk

Another part that I enjoyed a lot is the char siew. A harmless looking piece, but it was very tender. The fatty part of the char siew literally melted inside my mouth. Was impressed by how well it was done.

Last but not least, the leeks, intentionally hand-shredded to preserve the crunchiness according to Iroha's website, complemented the noodles well. I enjoyed the feeling of chewing the noodles amid the crunchy shreds of leek.

Although shoyu ramen is usually not my top favourites, Iroha's black shoyu ramen scored high in my list. From the immediate reaction of my taste buds, it is so far the best among the 6 ramens in Ramen Champion.

Reading through Iroha's website, there seem to be items that they were not able to bring it to Singapore. Really want to try them...
1) Noodles - The noodles in Japan are made using deep-sea water taken from the Toyama bay, which is supposed to have positive health effects. The flour used are made from the whole grain flour that is more nutritious. Whats more, they have also kneaded lotus roots into the noodles to give it more chewiness.
2) White prawn soup (白エビだしスープ) ramen - An item on Iroha Japan's menu, the ramen's soup is taken from dried shells of white prawn, a premium ingredients even used in sushi. Sounds delicious.

I think that we should count ourselves lucky, because looking for an Iroha is not easy.
They don't even have an outlet in Tokyo yet!
Their 9 stores in Japan are in Toyama, Ishikawa, Hakata, Kyoto and Kanagawa. And there we have it here in Singapore.

Will definitely go back and try their other offerings.

Ramen Data - Menya Iroha @ Ramen Champion, Iluma
Address: 201 Victoria Street, 4F Iluma, Ramen Champion
Types: Shoyu Ramen (Black Soy Sauce), Spicy Miso Ramen
Price: S$11-18
Rating: 9/10

1 comment:

  1. Looks good! I've not tried Iroha but agree that most of the eggs at the other stores are disappointingly hard.


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