Saturday, July 25, 2009

Aoba Hokkaido Ramen (らぅめん青葉) - Ion Orchard

Went to the newly-opened Ion Orchard today to see what is in this new mall at the prime space of Orchard Road. And there it is, the new outlet of Aoba Hokkaido Ramen!

The long queue...

The queue was about 15pax long, I waited for about 15mins before I can get in. It was one of the more popular restaurants in Ion.

Rather than residing inside a food court like environment, it is a standalone outlet by itself. Compared to the Tampines 1 outlet in Manpuku, the menu here has much more side dishes and is more restaurant-like. In Japan most standalone ramen outlets' menu are basically ramen plus 2-3 more side dishes... guess its a way that these companies are adapting to Singaporean's eating style.

The interior is comfortable with a warm, wooden feel. Quite like the wooden boxes that are made into ceiling lights.

Tried the Miso Char Siew Ramen ($13.8) today.

The miso-based soup was light with both the pork & seafood double flavour, true to Aoba's style. Its good, but somehow I felt that the fish flavour is stronger this time round. The egg here is not hard-boiled (maybe the previous bowl in Tampines was a mistake?) - it is the proper flavoured egg with the egg yoke still soft and half-cooked. It is great that they actually serve 2 halves of the aji-tama! Overall its a good bowl of ramen and I'm satisfied.

I ordered a side dish of karaage (fried chicken, $5.80) too to see how the quality of the food is like.

6pc chicken karaage

As an opening promotion, some of the side dishes such as the karaage are on 50% off until 31 July 2009, so it only costs $2.80 now. The karaage is hot and crispy on the outside, quite delicious.

They are also selling their Zuwai Kani (crab) ramen at $16.80 from a usual price of $19.80. For those who like crab, its a good chance to try it during this promotional period.

Glad to know that there is a new place in Orchard that I can go to have my fix of ramen now!

View Singapore Ramen Map in a larger map

Ramen Data - Aoba Hokkaido Ramen - ION Orchard
Address: #B3-25, ION Orchard
Types: Shoyu, Shio, Miso
Price: $11-20
Rating: 8/10

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Marusuke Ramen (三代目(助)) in Shinjuku

This week's ramen expedition brings me to my favourite Tokyo!

I'm in Tokyo for a leisure trip, and how can I miss this chance to seek out good ramen stalls?

This time, I went to this stall call "Sandaime Marusuke" (三代目(助)) in Shinjuku. Marusuke is constantly on the list of top 10 ramen stalls in Tokyo, offering excellent tonkotsu ramen.

Marusuke, neat Japanese style entrance

Its only about 5 mins away from Isetan Shinjuku, so it is quite convenient to pop by after doing some shopping in Shinjuku. However, it is tucked in a corner of an office / residential building without a large signboard, so it may take some effort to find for a first timer.

The interior of the stall is simple but spacious and pleasant. It only has 1 row of counter seats facing the kitchen, with a hook behind each seat to hang one's coat during winter. On the far side of the room across the wall, Marusuke has written down instructions on how to eat its ramen. It is a Japanese attitude that I always respect - its attention to details right down to how the ramen should be eaten.

Stall interior

I ordered its standard specialty, white ramen (白らぅめん, 670yen). And in this stall, we can specify the thickness of the soup and how well we want the noodle to be done, in 3 levels.

Customised to our taste!

Marusuke recommends "thick" for the soup and "hard" for the noodles. As I'm visiting the stall for the first time, I went along with the recommendation.

White ramen

The ramen is a simple one topped with seaweed, a large piece of char siew, onion and black fungus. The tonkotsu soup is excellent!! It is thick, creamy and full of flavour. But it is not too salty that you can't drink too much. In fact, I finished all the soup! The noodle used is straight & narrow noodle, which gives a large surface area for the tasty soup to cling on to.

Following the eating instruction written on the wall, after finishing half the bowl, I added two types of pickle vegetable takana (高菜) and red ginger (紅しょうが) to top the ramen.

Takana and Red Ginger

The spicy takana added more taste to the soup and gave it a different flavour. By adding toppings to the ramen, you can have 2 types of experience with one bowl of ramen!

For those of you who will be visiting Tokyo soon, I strongly recommend you to have one of your meals at Marusuke. Its not too expansive but very satisfying. Compared to the price that you pay for a bowl of ramen in Singapore, at 670yen (about S$10.5), its more or less the same, but the quality is so much better.

View Singapore Ramen Map in a larger map

Ramen Data
- Sandaime Marusuke
新宿区新宿3-11-12 永谷テイクエイト1F
: Tonkotsu
: 670-800yen
: 9.5/10
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