I’m crazy… No… Mad about ramen! When I say Mad, I do mean MAD! I’ve tried over 15 different ramen joints in Singapore and even a few from Japan. My ramen craze began in 2010 when I went to Hokkaido to try their famous Sapporo ramen and ever since, I was completely hooked, line and sinker.
This dish originated from China as La mian but, like everything else, the Japanese had to add a little bit more crazed, obsessed awesomeness to it.
That said, ramen restaurants in Singapore fare rather poorly in comparison. One reason why I visited so many Ramen joints here is because I had not found anything that matches up to the taste and experience of the real Japanese ramen. Also, I hold the cynical view that most Singaporean food operators are just money-making machines. Yes, only here can you find hawkers driving around in luxury cars and food court bosses becoming one of the richest people in Singapore.
I think it is the perfect time to cue, Menya Musashi, my latest Ramen experience and the latest food chain to take a bite out of the prosperity pie.
I heard a so-called fabulous review on the radio regarding the newly opened outlet at WestGate and heard that they fly their pork bone soup stock direct from Japan so that alone made me want to try it.
Once you walk in, you are greeted with a large opened restaurant, very much like other Japanese restaurants here. I can say that they are styled for Singaporeans as all the Japanese ramen joints I’ve been to rarely sit more than 30 people. Anyway, I’m here for the ramen, not ambience!
You are at once greeted by an iPad mini with a menu and you can place your order straight from it. Cool! (Maybe. But cooler if you can play games on it! Or learn Japanese!) Yes, there are still staff around if you are technology-challenged, but I think even a 4-year-old knows how to order from it. I think they know that the local staffing material are not really good, compared to the can-do, walk-the-extra-mile attitude of the Japanese. So, as little contact with the untrained staff as possible.
(As you can probably tell, things are not looking up for Menya Musashi. I beg you to read through the end.)
I was promptly greeted with my bowl of Ramen. Some people commented on the serious expression on my face… Well, ramen IS serious business for me! I want to roll the savoury pork broth on my tongue like fine wine, let the chashu (slices of braised pork belly) melt in my mouth, and even feast on the glistening golden yolk of the seasoned egg with my eyes before chowing down. If you haven’t watched this hilarious video on how to eat ramen the obsessed Japanese way, do check it out now! (http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=L9m6FoSw4jE)
So, now that you are properly educated…. How was my ramen experience? I’ll have to say… Fair. The broth was rather bland (according to ramen standards), still salty if you are a health-conscious housewife. It is not as thick or creamy as an original ramen from Japan. I was expecting something fantastic but was greatly disappointed. I wonder if the extended shipping time reduced the flavor somewhat. The noodles were just right. The seasoned egg was cooked to perfection. And the chashu wasn’t bad either. Just that as a complete dish, I wasn’t feeling the Ramen at all. I would give it a 3 out of 5 stars.
So, besides the woeful ramen experience, I ordered a couple of sided dishes. The golden potato balls were quite too much after a huge bowl of Ramen but the black sesame pudding was delicious, light and just sweet enough.
Anyway, lesson learnt. I’m never going to trust food reviews from DJs again! Haha!
As you can see, this is only part One of my Ramen reviews. In my next part of the Ramen Madness series, I’m going to share a really special, unique and frankly, THE BEST ramen experience I had in Japan which I dearly hope Singaporeans can come to accept and perhaps they might just open a branch here! Stay tuned… Also, drop a comment on where you think is your best Ramen experience.