(Photo gallery here) – Reviewed by Michelle Tan
30 November 2013, Singapore – We were honoured to be invited by Ramen Champion to the opening of their new branch at Great World City to taste what is said to be the best the Japanese had to offer in ramen noodles. Ramen has gained a lot of popularity among Singaporeans as a significant dish in the Asian food culture.
There were 4 brands of Ramen being sold in Ramen Champion, like a form of food court within a restaurant setting. As you are led to your seats by the welcoming staff, you will see the 4 types of Ramen from different parts of Japan being sold in stalls. Self-service is required but not unwelcome as you feast your eyes on the tantalising ramen variety.
This review is for the 4 types of ramen sold at each store and I believe, this is the best place for picky ramen eaters!
The review will cover the 1. Noodles 2. Soup Base 3. Compliments 4. Sides
So let’s start!
1. Bishamon Zero – For the beginner level Ramen eater
Sapporo Miso Special Ramen – $14.80
Bishamon Zero’s broth is made up of mainly pork and chicken, together with many other natural ingredients such as seafood and greens. The flavourful broth is boiled every day and this assures that each individual bowl of ramen is fresh and wholesome.
The pork belly cha shu is boiled in its base broth for 2 hours and later cooked in a special cha shu sauce,made from Tamari Japanese Soy Sauce for a further 3 hours. This gave the meat a very tantalizing and fragrant flavour which is infused into the meat.
The food arrangement within the bowl came looking inviting and without delay, we were tearing into the bowl with our chopsticks. The noodles were chewy and cooked well. The soup was tasty albeit salty. You would definitely be looking to drink a significant amount of water after this bowl of ramen. The saltiness is understandable considering most ramen being salty due to the Japanese living in a chilly climate. The meat was well done and had a smokey flavour akin to being grilled to perfection. Being a self-professed ramen lover, I believe the ajitama or the soft-boiled egg, in a ramen plays an equally important role in complimenting the dish. The egg yolk was slightly over cooked and less runny than expected.
Overall, a satisfying bowl of Ramen for those who wish to try this very common form of ramen being sold in many places. Rating: 7.5/10
2. Tonkotsu Itto – For the Ramen connoisseur
Special Tonkotsu Ramen – $16.50
Tonkotsu Itto’s Ramen tastes of rich, milky,pork-bone tonkotsu and prepared in the traditional way where the pork-based soup is cooked for several hours to allow the essence of pork bone to infuse into the broth, giving it a very decadent and filling feel when paired with thin ramen noodles.
Ramen and condiments likewise were arranged deliciously and inviting to the eyes. Hakata ramen as it is called is less chewy but comes in different textures depending on how long it is cooked. Served in fewer ramen competitors in Singapore, this type of ramen when done well, hits a peak in the ramen selection. the ramen by Tonkotsu Itto was cooked to the soft texture and the soup was similarly salty as with the previous bowl. However, it tasted richer and more fulfilling due to the pork base that was used to cook the soup base. However,this meant that the soup would also be oilier and you may have to fight the urge to drink it all at the end. The meat was thinly sliced and meatier in taste as it marinates in the soup, infusing more flavour into each slice. The ajitama was better cooked in this bowl with the yolk runnier and the white softer.
This ramen was well done and possibly a good contender with the competition of Ramen brands outside of Ramen Champion. Rating: (8/10)
3. Miyamoto – For the hungry Ramen monster
Pork and Vegetable Ramen – $16.00
Doubled boiled with pork and chicken, every bowl of Miyamoto ramen looks rich but tastes light. An additional topping of minced garlic is placed at the side to pair with the vegetables as well!
This ramen monster was served in a huge bowl with over-flowing bean sprouts, cabbage and bamboo shoots. The meat was thickly cut as was the noodles. The noodles looked like mee pok on steroids. You would have a hard time getting to the soup until you devoured a significant portion of the top layer. The noodles were chewy, even more so than the first bowl. the soup base was tasty but nothing to shout about though. The egg was not sliced in half but served whole. There just is something more appetizing about a halved egg with runny yolk displayed in its full glory than a hard boiled egg.
This ramen was not to inviting to look at but very much value for money with its heaps and heaps of veggies, chunky meats and thick noodles. An appropriate choice when you are hungry but not wholly into experiencing the complex taste a bowl of ramen may provide. Rating: (6.5/10)
4.Butaou – For the adventurous Ramen foodie
Special Sukiyaki Ramen – $16.00
Butaou’s Broth is cooked from pork bones and vegetables over a long period of time to achieve the great taste. Inspired by Sukiyaki, a popular dish topped with sliced meats, marinated with soy sauce,sugar and sake. This gives the ramen a very interesting twist and definitely would be a hit for those who would like to try something out of the ordinary.
A very unique ramen taste that moves away from the conventionally salty to the interestingly sweet. The noodles were textured well and its sweet soup base would definitely attract both opponents and proponents. Not surprisingly, the meats that came along with it were also sweet to taste. The egg this time came in a form of a soft boiled version sitting atop the noodles that look like coffeeshop runny eggs that had been cooked for too long. Having said that, this egg was not too bad afterall. It unique look and texture complimented the bowl of ramen. I would think it would also go well with the salty ramen types too.
Ultimately a decent ramen that takes you on a different type of journey into the ramen world by breaking the standard conventions. Hopefully, taking this plunge will have more hits than misses. Rating: (7.5/10)
Each individual Ramen store In Ramen Champion serves a variety of sides to complement their Ramen, along which, is great for sharing as well!
Okonomiyaki Gyoza (5 pcs) $5.80 – with bonito flakes
Mentaiko Gyoza (5 pcs) $5.80
Two sides were served prior to the ramen namely, the Okonomiyaki gyoza and Mentaiko gyoza. What differentiates them were their sauces and the toppings on the gyozas. Both were basically similarly pan fried and crispy.
The meat was marinated well and adequate within the skin. Both were tasty but the teriyaki gyoza imparted a stronger, saltier flavour due to the Bonito flakes compared to the mentaiko gyoza which left an easy palate. You can choose from salty and smokey teriyaki or the cheesy and creamy mentaiko. Rating: 7/10
Tori Karaage $4.80
A huge hit among many! The dish was served hot and the chicken was deliciously crispy. It was very tender and soft on the inside while piping crispy hot on the outside. This would be good for non-spicy eaters but being spicy food lovers, we would have preferred the Spicy chicken from Butaou. Rating: 7/10
Spicy Chicken (3 pcs) $5
This would definitely be a dish which would leave you wanting more. Delectable chicken wings fried with a covering of special sauce, topped with Japanese chilli powder and sesame seeds. This was definitely something unique and not quite easily found in other Japanese ramen outlets. The concept of this spicy chicken would be similar as Korean fried chicken but I would feel this was better and it imparted a nice crispy yet grilled flavour. I suggest to those who would not be able to take spicy foods to steer clear of this side! We gave it a point down because of the quantity! Rating: 8.5/10
Great World City
1 Kim Seng Promenade, Great World City #01-22,
Opening Hours: Daily 11.30am to 10.30pm
Tel: +65 6235 1295
201 Victoria Street,
Opening hours: Daily 11.30am to 10.30pm
Tel: +65 6238 1011
Changi Airport – Terminal 3 (T3)
65 Airport Boulevard
#B2-58 Terminal 3,
Singapore Changi Airport
Opening Hours: Daily 10.30am to 11.00pm
Tel: +65 6214 2958