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Jan 13, 2012 03:53 PM

Santouka Ramen @ Central, Singapore

I was not familiar with this Japanese chain which has several outlets in the U.S (wish we had one in Boston!). We found ourselves in Central one late afternoon and quite hungry. B spied the sign for this place and we found it, tucked in behind another restaurant in the mall. The kara miso ramen (spicy miso) was quite good! Springy, toothsome noodles; milky, spicy broth. B got the ramen set with the side of rice that is meant to dump into the broth once you have finished the noodles, which he gobbled up despite being rather warm from a morning of walking around the city.

I usually shy away from chains, but if we had anything this good in Boston, I would frequent quite often.

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  1. Always good to hear accolades for a place which sometimes we Singaporeans take for granted. BTW, my go-to place for ramen in Central is Marutama-ramen - it's got a more pronounced flavor and the kurobuta (black pig) pork yielded a deliciously sweet flavor which lingered in one's memory long after one's meal there.

    If you have time, diga, and hanker for more good ramen experience in Singapore, do check out these two very good ramen spots congregated on the same 3rd floor at Parco Marina Bay (attached to Millenia Walk), 9 Raffles Boulevard:

    - Nantsuttei

    - Keisuke Tokyo

    Some Singapore foodies swore by Sapporo Ramen Miharu at Gallery Hotel (near Robertson Quay) - which served that Hokkaido-style ramen where they put corn kernels and a lump of cold butter atop the steaming bowl of noodles. You let the butter melt and create a mini-Exxon oil slick on your ramen's soup. Personally, I didn't quite prefer that, though tastewise, it's perhaps the most authentic-tasting bowl of ramen I'd ever had here in Singapore.

    I used to salivate over Ippudo Ramen at the Mandarin Galleries, Orchard Road - that is, until one day when i got this sodium or MSG or whatever overload, and started drinking copious amount of water after an Ippudo lunch. Never gone back there since, perhaps a bit unfair on my part since their food (with MSG or otherwise) were very, very tasty indeed. Don't miss the buta-no-kakuni - slow-stewed pork belly, melt-in-your-mouth tender.

    7 Replies
    1. re: klyeoh

      Nantsuttei is the one with the black garlic oil, right?

      1. re: M_Gomez

        m_gomez: yes that's right. yumyum.

        had santouka recently. is it just me, or has the stock lost some of its original robustness? i don't remember enjoying it as much as i did a while back.

        my go-to place for ramen (in sg, not just central) is marutama too. i alternate between ordering the spicy ramen and the 7-nut ramen.

          1. re: FourSeasons

            i know of two camps re: santouka. one camp likes it because they find the broth very flavourful. the other camp dislikes it because they find the broth too salty.

            the best tonkotsu ramen i've had is at tampopo. but the quality is very hit-and-miss (at least at the liang court branch).

      2. re: klyeoh

        klyeoh's recommendations sound fabulous! Thanks for them - future trips beg to try these out!

        Sorry for posting about a place so pedestrian as Santouka but hell, that was part of our Singapore food experience. In Boston, we don't have anything nearly that good so my Singapore friends should realize that the ramen situation here is quite dire. Makes me sad but hopeful for future ramen ventures!

        1. re: digga

          no worries! and santouka is definitely not pedestrian, given that it's 15 dollars for a bowl of noodles (versus 3 dollars for noodles at the hawker centre). heh.

          anyway, the ramen craze in singapore is really recent (about 4 years old?). before that "authentic" ramen was confined to only a few spots here. certainly nothing as ubiquitous now.

          btw, i'm surprised that tsukemen is not making more of a headway here in sg.