9 January 2013, Singapore – Ishiyaki 石焼, literally rock-cooking, is commonly used to roast chestnuts or sweet potato in Japan. Tonkotsu Kazan Ramen at Novena Square 2 claims that their noodles do not turn soggy while sitting in the hot stone bowl and promises to entertain our eyes before the food hits our tongue. Challenge accepted.
The decor of the place reminded me of those ラメン屋 (Ramen Shops) at the back alleys of Shinjuku Ni-chome. The name of this shop literally means Pork Bone Volcano Ramen, nice. We were shown to our seats as we stepped in and given the menu. While the rest of the team decides on their food, I secretly took out my stopwatch. Yes, the timing begins (again).
I tried to be a little annoying(didn’t had to try very hard), pretending to be really fickle and no, that didn’t even make the waiter lose his smile. Still patient and also very helpful, he served us plain water promptly. Maybe he just wanted to shut me up.
So, orders taken and the food came promptly. Again, the waitress that served us was really polite and gave us an explanation of the Volcano ramen.
The ramen comes with the pre-heated stone bowl and they’ll pour the broth in it, cover it up with that cute little red cone that forces the steam to come out from the top. Voila, you got your “volcano ramen” When my one minute was up, the cone cover was removed and the first whiff was, ewwww… cabbage soup. Taking a whole mouthful of broth, my tongue screamed cabbage soup. The entire bowl of noodles had enough cabbage to feed a pair of sexually charged rabbits for a week. It took me 7mins and 43 seconds to remove every trace of cabbage and it filled up an entire rice bowl.
The noodles were supposed to be 太麺 Futomen which simply means thicker noodle. It wasn’t very thick and lacked the bite and texture you would expect from ramen that thickness. Next, was the challenge of their noodles not turning soggy. I waited for 35mins before I removed the noodles I left behind for this experiment, and it turned…. soggy. Pfft.
To summarise the 2 Kazan Ramen we’ve tried, the noodles were too soft, broth was too cabbage-y and even the curry broth did not impress. As my fellow foodie casually put it, “Should have ordered something else.”
To be fair, we didn’t just order the ramen, we had to try some of the fried items and see if they were up to par. After smelling our next table stir their Hot Bowl Friend Rice, we ordered one for ourselves as it smelt so delicious. When ours came, we couldn’t wait to dig our spoon in it and after one mouth, we reached for the chill powder and shoyu(soya sauce). It was a little disappointing and I still prefer my Pepper Lunch. The rice wasn’t grainy enough, and the flavor was a little lacklustre in my opinion. After adding alot of chili powder and shoyu, my second team member said, “I think the fried rice is pretty ok!” (Right….)
The Chicken Karaage reeked too much of frozen meat and the gyoza simply was too dry and it reminded me of the cheap halal siew mai I had from Geylang. The saving grace was their Nagoya Chicken wings, but I have no idea why is it called Nagoya chicken wings as it tasted just like any fried chicken wings with tare sauce.
Tonkotsu Kazan Ramen, you have fantastic service staff with great attitude, delicious fried chicken wing and your Hot Stone Fried Rice smells really good! (2013 is the year I am going to be nice) But am I going to visit you again? Nope, not even when I’m stuck in that mall, I might just crawl over to Tan Tock Seng Hospital canteen, they have quite yummy food there.
*Special thanks to Rae-Jung and Shude for helping me finish up the rest of the food.
Tonkotsu Kazan Ramen
Japanese Style Noodle Shop
10 Sinaran Drive #02-68/69 Square2
Note: This is an incognito tasting. (Cost of the meal is paid by the reviewer)