Who’s the Ramen Champion in your heart?
It was a yummy mid-week for me with an exclusive Blogger Food Tasting session at Ramen Champion Bugis+. For those who have yet been to Ramen Champion, it’s actually like a Japanese version of Marché restaurant, which brings several different famous Japanese ramen brands together to satisfy the cravings of ramen lovers! I am one of the lucky ones who gets to savour the two popular new Tonkotsu brands from Japan, namely Mendokoro Aoi and Tonkotsu Itto, which Ramen Champion has handpicked from Gunma and Tokyo respectively.
We had quite a good start with the appetizers, Prawn Dipping Sauce with Cracker( $4) from Mendokoro Aoi and Gyoza ($6) from Tonkotsu Itto. The Prawn Dipping Sauce tasted quite mild (didn’t really have the prawn-like flavor), but overall it still tasted good with the cracker.
The gyoza was pretty good, considering the fact that it specialize in ramen though I would still prefer gyozas at Osaka Ohsho.
Next up, one of the highlights at the food tasting, Mendokoro Aoi’s Tonkotsu-Ramen Champion ($16.50) by Chef Kazuo Sakuraoka. The presentation of the ramen kind of reduced my excitement of the dish by a little, however the white cloudy ramen broth was nice, light, flavorful and does not contain the smell of pork bones. It’s one of the lighter tonkotsu broth which I’ve tried thus far. If you love tonkotsu but don’t like some of the heavier, oilier versions elsewhere, you might like Mendokoro Aoi. Perhaps one of the few minus points would be it wasn’t hot enough (at least for me, it wasn’t lah). The Chashu was abit overcooked thus a tad too soft for my own personal liking (with the thin layers of fat that literally melts in my mouth). Well, at least the noodles were not too overcooked. Strangely, the Ajitama (flavoured egg) was abit undercooked with runny egg whites. Malcolm mentioned that unlike the traditional tonkotsu, Mendokoro Aoi’s broth is cooked with a big flame over shorter hours, thus resulting in a smooth broth. The added pork and chicken feet also provide extra collagen giving the broth a creamier taste. Spices like garlic, ginger and chilli are added for a mild spicy flavour.
In contrast, Tonkotsu Itto’s Special Tonkotsu Ramen ($16.50) (by Chef Yukihiko Sakamoto) is prepared in the traditional tonkotsu way where the pork-based soup is cooked for several hours to allow the essence of the pork bone to fill up the base. The ramen looks very appetizing (as compared to Aoi) and the portion was generous here, with big slices of tender Chashu conquering half the entire surface of the bowl. I felt a tinge of disappointment after tasting the broth though this Hakata style of ramen (albeit originated from Tokyo) boasts the taste of rich pork-bone tonkotsu broth with rather thin, non-curly, resilient noodles. Personally I would prefer Mendokoro Aoi’s broth as well as its springy and chewy noodles than this (which has the taste of egg noodles that didn't really suit my tastebud). Hence, my vote goes to Mendokoro Aoi’s ramen though I would prefer Itto’s Chashu.
We also had some side dishes after the ramen tasting. Apparently the use of Chashu is not restricted to ramen. We had Chashu Carpaccio($7) from Mendokoro Aoi, a sliced chashu salad garnished with tomatoes, onions and peanuts, which tasted pretty good.
What’s hidden beneath the dried bonito flakes? Takoyaki balls? The answer is POTATO. I love this
Side dish, Garlic Butter Potato Wedges ($5), which I find it a nice fusion food of East Meets West!
The deep-fried Tofu (Agedashi Tofu) with Japanese Sauce( $4) was nice and warm. I like that the Japanese soy sauce wasn’t too salty and would have been better with some dried bonito flakes sprinkled on top. It still tasted nice anyway.
We also had this seemingly familiar side dish from Buta God, Sukiyaki Bun ($3), served with thinly sliced pork belly and lettuce. It reminds me of the Chinese Style Braised Pork Buns, also known as (Kong Bak Bao/扣肉包). Unfortunately, I can’t comment on this dish because I was too full to gobble down the whole thing and too paiseh (shy) to eat just the sliced pork belly. I’m full of regrets looking at this photo right now!
Currently, the 6 ramen brands available now are Tonkotsu Itto, Mendokoro Aoi, Menban Yamagishi Kazuo, Buta God, Gantetsu and Bario! So, who’s the Ramen Champion in your heart?
Special thanks to Komars Group and Ramen Champion Singapore for the kind invitation and great hospitality!
Mendokoro Aoi’s Tonkotsu-Ramen Champion,Tonkotsu Itto’s Special Tonkotsu Ramen
Date of Visit: Oct 02, 2013
Spending per head: Approximately $20(Dinner)Other Ratings: