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拉面 La Mian World

the quest for the perfect noodle

Tag Archives: bugis

The courageous Swiss races down the steep asphalt alley with his city-bike. I am impressed with the bar tender’s pisco sour in the Grande Bar and the fact that every city shines magically on a sunny day. The glittering rays of light on the surface of the lake. Friends having a sun-downer in a classic wooden motor boat. The mountain peaks covered in some left over ice and the hills close by in the evening light: Zürich. What connects Japan and Switzerland is the tolerance of their inhabitants for noisy train tracks leading through their living rooms.

Berlin feels familiar and far away at the same time. Disgusting, sometimes without soul and then again full of magic and miraculously pretty. At night still creepy Reichshauptstadt. During the day surreal memories of the capital of the GDR at the abandoned orphan’s home in the rain.

The English library in dark wood in the luxury apartment of the friend in Hamburg. Champagne in the back yard while the blackbirds sing a spring song about the absent summer.

A travel through time and three cities. Europe untangles the Ramen for me. Change is slow and sometimes invisible. Back in the Far East things are different. Change is fast and invisible too sometimes due to its speed.

The four seasons don’t exist close to the equator. You can eat them now at Keisuke Tonkotsu Four Seasons at Bugis Village in Singapore. Four distinct styles: spring, summer, autumn and winter, but I still prefer the tonkotsu pork broth Ramen.

Ramen Keisuke Tonkotsu King Four Seasons, 158 Rochor Road, Bugis Village, Singapore

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It seems that La Mian has peaked in Singapore. Anyway an endangered species in China where it originates from, it looks like that it is going downhill with the art of hand-made noodle pulling in the Lion City.

The still beloved Noodle Star opened several outlets during the past year but soon stopped having a life La Mian chef in its Jalan Sultan restaurant and never had one in the Bugis one.

Imperial Treasure La Mian Xiao Long Bao in Marina Square seems to have closed for good and so does Crystal Jade in Suntec City. Now we all know that the Pearl Center is marked to be torn down this August. This will see another two La Mian stalls go.

La Mian World needs YOU to support your local noodle chef! Go out and visit a La Mian Restaurant today wherever you live.

Maybe try the ever popular Ju Hao in Lavender Food Square or hop over to Jakarta to try Imperial Treasure’s La Mian Xiao Long Bao restaurant there. It is located in one of Jakarta’s most glitzy shopping malls, the Plaza Indonesia. It looks and feels almost like in a Singapore shopping center with only a bit more traffic to get there.

Imperial Treasure La Mian Xiao Long Bao, Plaza Indonesia, 1st Fl Unit J 113, Jl. M.H. Thamrin Kav. 28 – 30, Jakarta

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The best La Mian in 2012!

The time around New Year’s is the time of new year’s resolutions, bucket lists, reviews, best-off’s etc. Here at La Mian World we also sat down to look back on the past year of 2012 and collected some statistical facts. This is it:

I ate La Mian in four different countries: Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan and Thailand.

I consumed approximately 50 bowls of La Mian, of these 47 were consumed in Singapore.

I betrayed the cause of La Mian World by eating Japanese Ramen, Vietnamese Phở and Italian Pasta an uncounted number of times.

Running through the list of places I patronized I decided to nominate the top five best La Mian stalls, restaurants, shops and hawkers in Singapore. Just to remember, the La Mian World criteria for excellency in La Mian are

1. Freshness: The noodles have to be hand pulled freshly for every dish served,

2. Craftsmanship: When you look at the noodles you must utter: ‘wow, that is amazing how evenly sized they are, although he just pulled them in front of my eyes’ (bonus points for front-of-the-eye-open-kitchen-la-mian-expert-chef-pulling),

3. Experience: In your mouth the La Mian are blowing you away with their balanced composition of texture, al-dente-ness and flavour of the dough,

4. Composition: Neither the sauce, soup, meat or whatever it is the dish consists of, can dominate over the noodle. The La Mian speak for themself but are complemented with superior sides.

This is the La Mian top five billboard chart hit list:

Which is your favorite La Mian outlet in Singapore or any place around the world?

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Just as I realized my lack of commitment over the past weeks towards the ultimate goal of finding the best La Mian in the world I stumbled upon this article in the Epicure magazine titled Best La Mian in Singapore. This is their list:

ZI YEAN RESTAURANT, which I heard about. But not so much for noodles as more for dim sum,

SHANGHAI REN JIA, which I only knew as the name of a restaurant in Geylang serving very good Beijing duck,

JING HUA RESTAURANT, who‘s noodles did not convince me entirely,

SWEE CHOON DIM SUM RESTAURANT, I have not heard about,

IMPERIAL TREASURE LA MIAN XIAO LONG BAO, to which I never went so far,

LAN ZHOU LA MIAN, which was last on La Mian World’s 2011 Singapore La Mian ranking,

CRYSTAL JADE LA MIAN XIAO LONG BAO, which I love but find the Great World City branch the best,

LAO BEIJING, which has a lot of great northern Chinese food,

SAVOR REY LA MIAN XIAO LONG BAO RESTAURANT, I don’t know,

SHOU LA SHOU BEIJING RESTAURANT, and another one that I did not know.

Shockingly I had not even heard about or visited half of the places on this list. Time for some serious carbs infusion!

I started with Zi Yean Restaurant. It is a short walk from Redhill MRT station on the ground floor of a HDB block. It is quite sizable with an outdoor and an indoor air-conditioned section. I ordered some dumplings, dim sum and of course a bowl of stewed beef La Mian. It comes in a small bowl and is the perfect size to go with a selection of other dishes. The noodles were nice and good tasting. However, I am not entirely sure if they were made fresh on the spot. I did not manage to see or find the La Mian chef pulling the dough. I will have to review La Mian World last year’s list of the top La Mian places in Singapore. I am not convinced yet that the Zi Yean will make it in the 10 best. However, it would make it in my dim sum list for sure, if I would start one.

To compare against last year’s number one champion, I went to Noodlestar’s outlet in Bugis. It has a minimalistic, casual dining restaurant flair. But to my disappointment there is no open kitchen with the La Mian chef visibly performing his noodle pulling art. However, the La Mian of my bowl with in-house stewed pork rib were as amazing as in the food court stall of the Noodlestar in The Shoppes and in their Jalan Sultan restaurant. The pork was, wow!, quite fatty, but still I loved the dish.

The La Mian with minced pork and mushroom sauce was found to be fairly oily and the overall taste not up to the minced-pork-sauce-mark found in other places around Singapore. Still, the Noodelstar noodles outshone it all.

Now it is off to the gym again before heading to the next joint on Epicure’s list!

Zi Yean Restaurant, Blk 56 Lengkok Bahru, #01-443, Singapore

Noodlestar, 233 Victoria Street, Bugis Village, Singapore

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During my recent trip to Japan I suffered from a Ramen overdose. A serious overdose. Although I spent the day skiing down the Niseko Annupuri mountain in perfect sunshine and acquiring a reasonable appetite for dinner I could not manage the massive portion of Ramen at Asahikawa Ramen Tozanken in Hirafu.

Everything was perfect about the dish of special Asahikawa Ramen. The soup was well-balanced, the pork tasted like the best Bavarian pork roast and the Ramen noodles were excellently cooked al-dente. I could not finish the bowl although I tried Saporro beer and Sake as supporting acts, the portion was simply too massive. So if you are looking at value for money for an outstanding energy boost after a day in the wild outdoors this is your place to go.

Luckily I recovered from this noodle shock in the meantime and I am ready to head back to the Ramen Champion in Singapore. This excellent collection of eight of the best Ramen restaurants (so they claim) from Japan is located at Iluma Bugis shopping centre and in Changi Airport. I only visited the Iluma outlet so far. It is a nice set-up of original styled Ramen shops with the typical flags, counters and lots of steam from the boiling water and soups. Indeed you get some Ramen varieties here in one spot in Singapore that you normally don’t find so easily elsewhere in the city. You should visit a couple of times to try the different Ramen styles – it is worth it.

Once in a while you might want to diversify your diet or just need to eat some really good dessert. Then you should try the J.S. Burgers Cafe in Tokyo. Burgers Cafe does not sound like the right place for dessert but in this case it is. I tried the cheesecake and the chocolate cake. I have no idea what their burgers are like but the atmosphere of this place on a rooftop in Shinjuku is great and the cakes tasted  just outstanding. After two slices of sweet cake I am sure ready for more salty noodles!

Asahikawa Ramen Tozanken, Hirafu, Hokkaido, Japan

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

J.S. Burgers Cafe, 3F, 4-1-7 Shinjuku-ku, Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan (third floor of the Journal Standard fashion shop)

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I am officially something like a Crystal Jade addict (unfortunately I am still not eating there for free). The Crystal Jade La Mian Xiao Long Bao Restaurant at Great World City so far is my favorite. They offer a wide variety of La Mian dishes and what is most amazing: you can choose the style of your noodles. Whether I feel like having thin round ones, square thicker ones, flat long ones or flat short ones – all are available and freshly prepared for me.

Since I had never tried the Crystal Jade outlet in Bugis Junction I headed there recently hoping for the same treat. They do have kind of a different menu,  so I also chose something different this time.

Beef La Mian prepared in the northern Chinese style would probably be considered too boring by most Singaporeans. To spice up my Sunday and live the local way I decided to go for something with an alarming red sauce: La Mian Sichuan style.

The flavor of my meal was great. The soup a bit spicy, but not overwhelming and with a lot of grated peanuts thrown in, made it a very solid base. As always the noodles were outstandingly good. The dish also sported some Wanton dumplings which did not convince me. However, in essence a great and filling meal!

Crystal Jade La Mian Xiao Long Bao, 200 Victoria Street, #B1-04A Bugis Junction, Singapore

Crystal Jade La Mian Xiao Long Bao, 1 Kim Seng Promenade, #02-43 Great World City, Singapore

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