Touted as (probably) the best ramen in Singapore, this ramenya sure has a lot to live up to.
Ramen is something quite exquisite. While distinctively similar to instant noodles or bak chor mee of the Chinese, what truly sets it apart is the skill in the preparation of the broth, and the texture of the noodles which are often handmade.
Maybe there’s just something about doing things the Japanese way that reigns supreme. Their attention to detail could almost be termed unmatched.
Over at Ramen Santouka, the chefs spend hours on the broth to get it at just the right temperature, and flavour. So rich is the stock that I would have to say that hands down, it’s one of the best I’ve ever had.
We went on a Tuesday afternoon, just after lunchtime, about 2pm. There were only eight others in the restaurant, so I suppose an off-peak visit would be most ideal for this popular place that can house only a maximum of 36-38 customers.
The featured photo of this post is Santouka’s house specialty: the Tokusen Toroniku (Choice Pork Cheek) Ramen with shoyu stock ($19.50++) together with an additional Komi-Tamago or flavoured egg ($1.50++).
The shoyu broth had so much depth, I couldn’t stop myself from drinking out of K’s bowl. And sure enough, the temperature served was just right for maximum enjoyment. Not scalding, yet hot enough to comfort the insides of your tummy.
I expected more from the pork cheek though. Unlike the buttery legend-has-it-melt-in-your-mouth consistency, it was actually strangely rather dry. Disappointing on all accounts, considering I would pass judgment to say Baikohken‘s normal pork slices are better and I cannot imagine how awesome their pork cheek must be then!
All other ramens go for between $13.50++ to $18.00++.
Not wanting to miss an opportunity to taste the chashu don this time, I was sure to place an order for it.
I tried the version with leeks. Good vegetable accompaniment as the sweetness from the leeks balances out the salty of the chashu. Also, unlike the ones at Ippudo and Baikohken, this one isn’t served with mayonnaise. Instead, something like a barbecue sauce is used.
Other common side dishes are the Chawanmushi ($3.50++) and Pork Gyoza ($6.00++ for 5 pieces).
Parents would also be happy to note that Santouka is family-friendly. At $19.00++, a parent-child set consists of a regular ramen, a children ramen (one-third the regular portion) and a toy to keep your little one occupied and happy. Unfortunately only kids 7 years old and below qualify, or I might’ve been really tempted to order a set 😉
In addition to the good food, the ambience was possibly just the icing on the cake. A scenic view of Clarke Quay and its river through the glass windows is so incredibly enticing; calming, even, on a lazy weekday afternoon.
Yet, the best ramen in Singapore was probably the status Ramen Santouka held two to four years ago when the Japanese invasion in Singapore entered a new phase — restaurant chains taking over the nation’s stomachs by irresistible bowls of ramen.
Unfortunately for this place, if long-lasting quality is anything to go by, the test of time proves to be in Ippudo’s favour.
6 Eu Tong Sen Street
#02-76, The Central
Open daily, 11am to 9.30pm
Tel: +65 6224 0668
Oh, and since you’re in the area, don’t forget to have yourself some ice cream. Azabu Sabo’s Hokkaido Ice-Cream is one of the best you’ll ever have.