Shoyu or miso? Char siew or onsen egg? Tonkotsu or chicken broth? The possibilities are endless with this list of ramen joints
It’s clear by now that you don’t have to be Japanese to regard ramen as your comfort food. Ramen has arguably become a staple in many Singaporeans’ diets, and the preferences posed to patrons – like the number of specialty ramen joints popping up on our isle – are plenty. The fattiness of your char siew, the gooiness of your onsen egg, the thickness and texture of your noodle, even the base and colour of your broth; there is pretty much something for everyone who likes raving about ramen. And with these 16 Japanese restaurants that we’ve picked out, we’re sure you’ll have no problems finding your go-to ramen heaven too. Just remember – slurp it like you mean it!
Ramen Keisuke Tori King
The sister restaurant of Ramen Keisuke Tonkotsu King – but just as popular – Tori King is a counterpart that prepares its broth using chicken instead of pork. The biggest draw for us here is how this place serves an entire chicken leg, instead of cut slices. And don’t worry about using your hands; the meat is so tender and soft, it practically slides off the bone with a swipe of your chopsticks.
Ramen Keisuke Tori King, #03-15 100AM, 100 Tras Street, Singapore 079027, p. 6604 6861. Open daily 11.30am-3pm and 5.30pm-10pm.
Ramen Keisuke Tonkotsu King
Long queues are usually a giveaway indication of how good a ramen is, and this king of the ramen jungle doesn’t fall short. Naturally, tonkotsu ramen is its specialty, and the one here is a treasure trove of addictive, umami flavours. Not to mention the decadent fattiness of the sizeable pieces of char siew, and the free flow of hard-boiled eggs that you can dip into your broth – we always have three at least.
Ramen Keisuke Tonkotsu King, #01-19 Orchird Hotel Singapore, 1 Tras Link, Singapore 078867, p. 6636 0855. Open Mon-Sat 11.30am-3pm and 6pm-10.30pm, Sun 6pm-10pm.
#01-04 Paya Lebar Square, 60 Paya Lebar Road, Singapore 409051, p. 6341 6123. Open Mon-Fri 11.30am-3pm and 5.30pm-10pm, Sat-Sun 11.30am-10pm.
Tsuta Ramen Singapore
All the Michelin hype has died down, you say? Not just yet. Just like how the Michelin Guide made history in Singapore with the reveal of the world’s first Michelin-starred hawker stalls, it also awarded the chef-coveted accolade to Tsuta in Tokyo – the first Japanese ramen eatery to join the ranks among the best restaurants in the world. So why does any of this matter? Because this ramen champion has just set up shop in Singapore, proof that the ramen craze here is far from a fluke. Three types of soup bases will be served in Singapore: the shoyu (featuring a decadent and unconventional black truffle sauce), the shio (a chicken-seafood blend with fragrant hints of red wine and rosemary), and the miso (a more traditional recipe for ramen purists).
Tsuta Ramen Singapore, #01-01/02/03 Pacific Plaza, 9 Scotts Road, Singapore 228210
Buta God at Ramen Champion
As you might’ve figured from its celestial moniker, this ramen will suit you if you’re really into meat. Our personal standout stall from Ramen Champion’s bevy of ramen senseis, Buta God’s bowl is sweet and not too thick, with a robust tonkotsu taste provided by the generous servings of sliced pork belly. Indeed, you’ll feel like a champ after finishing this.
Buta God at Ramen Champion, Bugis+ #04-10, 201 Victoria Street, Singapore 188067, p. 6238 1011. Open daily 11.30am-10.30pm.
You can always spot snaking queues outside this modest ramen joint. Unlike many ramen restaurants that use pork as the base for their broth, Marutama’s soup is extracted from chicken, resulting in a lighter, milder bowl that won’t make you feel too full after you’re done slurping all the goodness. It’s no wonder patrons always ask for an extra portion of noodles – or as how you should shout to the chef, “Kaedama, onegai shimasu!”.
Marutama Ramen, #03-90/91 The Central, 6 Eu Tong Sen Street, Singapore 059817, p. 6534 8090. Open daily 11.30am-10pm.
#02-01/02 Liang Court Shopping Centre, 177 River Valley Road, Singapore 179030, p. 6837 2480. Open 11.30am-10pm.
As tradition goes, Ippudo was conceptualised by Shigemi Kawahara to rejuvenate the Kyushu ramen scene in the ’80s. And now, not only has Kawahara-san revived the ramen scene back home, but he’s obviously contributed to the ramen boom here in Singapore too. For a taste of history, we opt for the shiromaru motoaji – a creamy tonkotsu broth served with Hakata-style springy noodles.
Ikkousha Hakata Ramen
Another candidate for best Hakata-style ramen from Fukuoka, this broth is derived from pork bones boiled over several hours, giving it a milky, slightly-fatty consistency that’s sinful but worth the gym sesh after. Though if you like, you can opt beforehand how oily and rich you want your soup to be, and also the texture of your noodles. Try the God Fire ramen if you’d like a spicy wallop to your palate.
Naming its franchise after an Bushido-honouring samurai, you bet Menya Musashi cooks up its signature ramen with just as much dedication. Adding colour to a saturated ramen scene – quite literally, at that – Menya Musashi serves its ramen in red (spicy), black (garlic) and white broths, the last being a rich tonkotsu broth enriched by pork bones. You can even ask for aburi duck slices, as opposed to the usual char siew meat option.
Tonkotsu Kazan Ramen
“There she blows!” is something patrons would gleefully exclaim as they watch this ‘volcano ramen’ erupt in front of their very eyes. Theatrically presented, the ramen is prepared in a pre-heated stone bowl (that’s not the best part), before the calcium- and collagen-infused soup is poured and a lid is placed on top. And once steam starts gushing out, you’ll know your ramen is ready for consumption. You might wanna use a spoon for drinking the soup though; the stone bowl will be very hot.
Although you can get both Kyushu- and Hokkaido-style ramen here, the bowl worth guzzling down here is Tampopo’s deluxe black pig shabu ramen. Thin, stringy, fatty and packed with intense flavour, the addition of kurobuta really accentuates this creamy broth. Please toss in an onsen egg while you’re at it; the one here has bliss oozing out of it.
Tampopo, #01-23/24 Liang Court Shopping Centre, 177 River Valley Road, Singapore 179030, p. 6338 3186. Open Sun-Thu 11.30am-10pm, Fri-Sat 11am-10.30pm.
#B2-33 Takashimaya Shopping Centre, 391B Orchard Road, Singapore 238872, p. 6235 2318. Open daily 11am-10pm.
Sapporo Ramen Miharu
Another pride and joy of Hokkaido aside from its breath-taking nature, this Sapporo-style ramen has been heartily assimilated into the local food scene. The strong miso taste of the soup is mildly sweetened with the addition of bamboo shoots and buttered corn, and the yellow noodles are chewy with a pleasant spring to them.
Sapporo Ramen Miharu, #01-06 Millenia Walk, 9 Raffles Boulevard, Singapore 039596, p. 6733 8464. Open daily 12pm-3pm, 6pm-10pm.
Hailing from Niigata, Sanpoutei Ramen hopes to take a stab at the growing ramen competition in Singapore. It’s all about Niigata’s signature shoyu (soy sauce) ramen here, where the clear soup broth is stewed for six hours with a mixture of vegetables, whole chicken, and specially imported dried sardines from Japan. The soft, springy ramen noodles are also freshly churned in-house, using a state-of-the-art machine, so as to achieve strict quality control.
Sanpoutei Ramen, #01-01 Holland Village, 235 Holland Avenue, Singapore 278982, p. 6463 7277. Open daily 11.30am-11pm.
#B1-04-05 Shaw House, 350 Orchard Road, Singapore 238868, p. 6836 4644. Open daily 11.30am-11pm.
Uma Uma Ramen
This famed Japanese joint delivers authentic Hakata-style noodles served in a robust tonkotsu stock – all part of a secret family recipe, no less. While the original Uma Uma ramen (char siew, spring onion, black fungus, egg and spicy miso) hits the spot, the bushi tonkotsu ramen (with white onions, lime and red ginger) adds a refreshing tangy twist, and the tan tan men is a shrewd adaptation of the Chinese dish, Zha Jiang Mian, with sesame-based minced pork and chilli oil.
Uma Uma Ramen, #01-41/42/43 Forum The Shopping Mall, 583 Orchad Road, Singapore 238884, p. 6235 0855. Open daily 11.30am-10pm.
Another esteemed ramen tradition that hails from Hokkaido, Santouka started out in the late ’80s as a perfected family recipe of white tonkotsu soup and shio (salt-based) ramen. In Singapore, you’ll find yet another signature ingredient that makes Santouka stand out from the competition – succulent slices of pork cheek from Iberican pigs, making other conventional char siews pale in comparison.
Santouka Ramen, 21 Cuppage Road, Singapore 229452, p. 6235 1059. Open Mon-Thu 12pm-3pm and 5.30pm-11.30pm, Fri 12pm-3pm and 5.30pm-12am, Sat 12pm-12am, Sun 12pm-10pm.
A brilliant bowl of ramen doesn’t necessarily need to be judged by how divine its soup is; often overlooked when analysing the quality of ramen is the texture of the noodles. But with Daikokuya’s famous tsukemen – consider it a ‘dry ramen’ with dipping sauce instead of soup – you can fully appreciate the springiness and firmness of the noodles. And once you start dipping and slurping from the shio-concentrated sauce, we assure you – you won’t be able to stop.
While ramen is perceived as fast food for Japanese, for others, it is a work of art; art worthy enough to receive a Michelin Star! The brainchild of Chef Yasuji Morizumi, the first ramen chef in the world to obtain such honours, Chabuton is where you can gulp down Michelin-worthy tonkotsu, shio and miso ramens, without having to pay top dollar.
Chabuton, #B2-01 Somerset 313, 313 Orchard Road, Singapore 238895, p. 6636 8335. Open daily 11.30am-10pm.
Ramen Keisuke Lobster King
Fancy a bit of nosh after a night of revelry? This swish ramen joint – brought to you by the senseis behind Tonkotsu King and Tori King – is located right in the heart of Clarke Quay and open ’til 5am! Perch yourself over a flavourful bowl of umami-laden lobster broth ramen ($13.90). and give those tired feet a rest after a night of partying. The broth here is extremely rich, so come hungry for this one!
Ramen Keisuke Lobster King, #01-07 The Cannery, 3C River Valley Road, Singapore 179022. p. 6255 2828.
Ramen Bar Suzuki
Never mind black or red ramen… How about soupy shades of green and pink?? If you’re already bored of conventional ramen recipes, Suzuki offers variations like the emerald green tonkotsu ramen (tonkotsu broth enhanced with fresh basil and cheese) and the sakura pink tonkotsu ramen (the pink comes from the addition of three kinds of shrimp). Otherwise, you can always go for the ‘safer’ options of cardinal red or jet black ramen. What colours will these chefs come up with next?
Ramen Bar Suzuki, 17 Stanley Street, Singapore 068736. Open Mon-Fri 11.30am-3pm and 6pm-9pm.
61 Circular Road, Singapore 049415. Open Mon-Thu 11am-3pm and 6pm-10pm, Fri 11am-3pm and 6pm-10.30pm, Sat 11.30am-3pm and 6pm-10pm.