Saturday, August 29, 2009

Santouka (山頭火) - Central

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).

Shio Ramen

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
Price: $13.5-20.5
Rating: 9/10

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Amazing Instant Ramen Youtube Channel

I was watching "Amazing Asia" on ChannelNewsAsia today, and they reported this amazing Japanese guy who operates a YouTube channel on just instant noodles!

From the serial number of the video, it appears that he has reported over 4000 types of instant ramen.... yours truly here still has a long way to go!

Tontantin gives a comprehensive review of the instant noodle, from the shape of the container, the noodle, the soup to the ingredients and the indicative cooking time. He also gives his personal opinion and a score to each ramen he tries.

He reported our home-grown Koka noodles too! He gave our Singapore Fried Noodles flavour a 2.5 out of 5.

Its interesting to observe how he makes his instant ramen - always with cabbage and sausages!

All I can say its amazing! It really shows his love and respect to instant ramen.
It will be better if we can see at a glance which are his recommendations.... most of his collection that I went through are all in the range of 2-3 stars out of 5.
And I'm a bit worried about his health... we are always told since young that its not healthy eating instant noodles.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Menya Kaiko (麺屋 開高) - Ion Orchard

Riding on the ramen craze here in Singapore (is there one? haha), there is another ramen stall called Menya Kaiko (麺屋 開高) from Japan that landed in Singapore, in the Ion Food Hall, B4 of Ion Orchard!

Stall exterior

Googled a little and confirmed that the source is really from Hokkaido. Kaiko has several stalls there in a city call Obihiro, as well as inside the New Chitose Airport that you will fly into if you visit Sapporo.

The Japanese ramen chef greeted me with a smile and an "irrashaimase", and asked if I want to try his ramen.

But because I already had my lunch at Aoba, I didn't manage to have the stomach to try Menya Kaiko as well. Zannen! Next time!

Kaiko serves hokkaido-style ramen (i.e. miso based) with pork and/or chicken toppings and price ranging from $12-16.80. What jumps out from the menu is this King Crab Ramen which costs $29.8! From the sample, falf a king crab is submerged in the ramen soup. The price is a little steep to try though unless a big bonus is coming (not in this economic climate...).

Will do my reporting another time!

View Singapore Ramen Map in a larger map

Ramen Data - Menya Kaiko - ION Orchard
Address: B4, ION Orchard
Types: Hokkaido Ramen (miso)
Price: $12-16.8, King Crab Ramen $29.8

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