Nov 4, 2014

Hakata Ikkousha at CHJIMES: Ramen Zen

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If you know my 2 boys, you will know that both of them are as different as chalk and cheese... even their taste for food. The elder one loves his rice, while the younger one relishes slurping his noodles. So when Ash found out we were heading to a ramen eatery located at CHJIMES' Japanese wing, the first thing he asked was, "Got rice or not?"

Funny thing was, he soon forgot all about his question the moment he tucked into a steaming hot bowl of tonkotsu ramen. Yes, it was that good.

Tonkotsu ramen is arguably the most popular style of ramen in Japan. And it seems to be catching on here in Singapore too, judging from the numerous eateries springing up and competing to feed its customers their versions of thin noodles soaked in creamy pork bone broth.

Speaking of competition, Hakata Ikkousha won the Ultimate Ramen Champion title for two years running. And rightly so, as our taste-buds found out soon enough.

Its menu is easy to comprehend with a range of variations that allows for a bit of personal flair. A total of 6 ramen options are available, and customers are able to specify the noodle texture - soft, normal, hard or very hard - and the soup taste - light, normal or Japanese taste - according to one's preferences.

But if you have trouble making up your mind, I recommend going straight for the star attraction, Special Tonkotsu Ramen ($16) which comes with 4 pieces of pork chashu, one ajitama (or flavoured egg), seaweed, fungus, spring onion and its wonderfully smooth and springy noodles.

Holding everything together was the saliva-inducing pork broth, which had an underlying lightness and sweetness. But I should not have been surprised. After all, Ikkousha’s secret to its broth lies in the change of pork bones during the boiling of the broth.

Made from various types of pork bones, the broth is simmered over a low heat for over 12 hours to create that signature creamy texture. This method of slow-cooking draws rich, skin-smoothing collagen into the delicious broth. Ramen zen? Yep, I think so.

Ale though, decided to buck the trend and opted for the Gold Fried Rice ($10) instead.

Flavourful and cooked with just the right amount of wok hei, the Diva enjoyed the fried rice so much that she walloped everything in her bowl... down to the last grain of rice.

To suit Singaporeans’ love for spice, Hakata Ikkousha also offers its popular Spicy Tonkotsu Ramen ($13.50). Not too shabby but personally, I still preferred the original Tonkotsu ramen.

But one other variation that I did enjoy was the Tonkotsu Black Ramen ($13.50), which had fried garlic and black sesame added into the broth.

It hit the all the right spots, with its spoonfuls of smoky yet creamy soup finding their way into my mouth without even the slightest encouragement.

We then topped up our already-bulging tummies with 2 side dishes - Hakata Specialty Hitokuchi Kyoza ($5 for 5 pieces) and Special Fried Chicken ($5 for 3 pieces).

The latter was marinated very well, which came complete with crunchy oh-so-sinful chicken skin. Yes, there are no fat-free dining options here.

The gyoza were a hit with the monkies, with its delicately crisp skin encasing such a juicy minced pork filling that it was tough to just stop at one. The refreshing Yuzu chili paste that accompanied the gyoza sure made the task a lot harder!

Overall, if you are looking to satisfy your craving for a bowl of tasty authentic Tonkotsu ramen, you can't go wrong with Hakata Ikkousha. Just ask Ash the rice-lover, who has already plotted that his next bowl of ramen MUST come with an extra serving of flavoured egg!

Useful Information

Hakata Ikkousha Global Standard at CHIJMES
30 Victoria Street, #01-07, CHIJMES
Opening hours: Mondays-Saturdays 11.30am-10pm; last order at 9.45pm
Sundays: 11.30am-9pm; last order at 8.45pm

Other Outlets:

Hakata Ikkousha Global Standard at Tanjong Pagar 
Blk 7, Tanjong Pagar Plaza #01-104
Tel: 6538-1880
Opening hours: Mondays- Saturdays 11.30am-10pm; last order at 9.45pm
Sundays: 11.30am-9pm; last order at 8.45pm

Ikkousha at Ramen Champion T3
65 Airport Boulevard, #B2-58, Terminal 3
Singapore Changi Airport
Tel: 6214-2958

Opening hours: 10.30am-11.00pm

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