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拉面 La Mian World

the quest for the perfect noodle

Ramen is the Japanese version of La Mian. Although there seem to be different schools of thought whether the word Ramen is actually derived from the Chinese La Mian or some other words of Mandarin or Cantonese dialects,  fact is, it is a fantastic dish. In the very rare case I might get tired of La Mian, Ramen is a perfect substitute.

Ramen comes in a very wide variety. The soup base can be predominantly pork (Tonkotsu), “all in” (Shio), Soya Sauce (Shoyu), Miso or a combination of the before. The noodles may have different shapes and the toppings of the soup may include seaweed, flavoured eggs, corn, spring onions, ground sesame and many more. Basically every Japanese region, subregion and town seems to have its own version of Ramen.

Singapore is a very good place to eat different versions of really good, original tasting Ramen. One place is the Ramen Champion that features different famous Ramen stalls in one spot and I talked about before. There are many, many more:

The other day I walked through Mandarin Gallery on Orchard Road. This up-market mall is usually quite empty and you rarely see the usual long queues during lunch or dinner at the restaurants. This particular evening I ventured to the end of the fourth floor and was met by this massive line of people waiting for a seat in Ippudo Ramen Noodle Restaurant. I just learnt from a friend that in Singapore people sometimes queue up for what they think must be an amazing food stall, only to stand in front of Tom Cruise for an autograph after some hours of waiting.

Since I was sure that this line would guarantee me some good Ramen I was taking my place at the end of the corridor. Only forty-five minutes later I was shown to my table and I ordered the Ippudo Original Tonkotsu Ramen Shiromaru Motoaji with flavoured egg. I love eating my Ramen with loads of sesame on top. At Ipudo they have one of this mini pepper mill like sesame grinders, so I could add and add and…

I ordered my noodles hard. They came fairly al dente but could have been a bit more to the point for my taste. All in all the broth was very tasty, the egg o.k. and I finished it almost to the last drop.

To the last drop finished and additional noodles (kaedama) ordered is what happened at another, and for me the best, Ramen place in Singapore: Tonkotsu King Keisuke. Talking about queues this is the place you can witness lunch queue craziness every day of the week. I outsmarted the long wait (with a special VIP pass) two days in a row because the food is just so fantastically tasty.

This small restaurant is very simple and down to the basics. Only Ramen, Tonkotsu based, and in just some little variety. You get presented with a small piece of paper where you mark your choice of dish, choose how strong you want your soup, how oily and what consistency the noodles shall be in. Then you can use the waiting time to grind some sesame in your grinding bowl, eat some free eggs or watch the chefs preparing your bowl of wonderful Ramen. Wow, I love it!

Ramen Champion, Iluma Bugis Level 4 and Changi Airport Terminal 3 Basement 2, Singapore

Ippudo @ Mandarin Gallery, 333A Orchard Road, #04-02/03/04, Singapore 238867

Keisuke Tonkotsu King, 1 Tras Link, #01-19 Orchid Hotel, Singapore

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