Monday, October 13, 2014

Ikkousha Hakata Ramen, Chijmes, Singapore

Ramen, staple of the working class Japanese. Like making an omelette or egg fried rice, making a bowl of ramen is not difficult. However, it is not easy to make a bowl of good ramen. The springyness of noodles, the intensity of the broth, the consistency of the chasu, must all come together. 

Since its humble beginning in Fukuoka, Ikkousha had expended into a chain of 8 outlets in Japan and 22 outlets overseas. 3 of the 22 outlets are in Singapore. I recently visited their latest outlet located in the refurbished Chijmes. Seating place here is a bit cramped, maybe to emulate the confined spaces of Japanese cities, but in no ways uncomfortable. In some eateries, you get peanuts or some finger food for appetizers. Here you get a basket of hard boiled eggs and you can have as many as you like.  

Appetizers - Hard boiled eggs


Ordering here is no frills. You get an order chit and you tick what you want. The good thing about this place is that even though the menu is not extensive (basically of consisting of various type of tonkatsu), customers is able to customize the texture of the noodle from soft to very hard (sounds a bit obscene) and the taste of the broth in 3 levels (light, normal and Japanese taste). I would also recommend that you go for the large portion for an extra S$1 as the portions are not too big. I went for the light one and it was already potent enough. I would not recommend to go Japanese on this. If you check their Facebook page, there is a competition of the spiciness level going on if you order the spicy tonkatsu. Apparently, the record now is Level 13. 

I do not know much about ramen, but apparently the one served here is the Hakata variety Tonkatsu ramen.
The broth (as I mentioned earlier I went for the light version) is quite agreeable to my palette. Not the super heavy broth that you get in some of the wannabes ramen outlets. According to my server, even if I ordered the normal or Japanese style, the consistency of the broth will still be the same just that the chef will add in more secret recipe sauce into the broth, hence increasing the saltiness.

The noodle itself is springy and chewy. Just nice that you can slurp it in without wanting to bite it halfway, like how you are supposed to eat a bowl of ramen. It does not feel like you are eating a pile of overcooked goo.

The Chasu is made of thinly sliced lean pork belly. Not too thick the cut hence it does not overshadow the noodles and other condiments. You can tell that the chef uses the freshest and best cut of pork that he can find. No dreaded freezer after taste which one tend to get from some ramen outlets (namely Ajisan ramen and mind you, the prices are not too far apart).

A Satisfying meal here would cost you a little south of S$20 which isn't too much taking into account the quality of food you are getting. A meal at Menya Mushashi Ramen might cost you a few bucks less but I am telling you, the taste of sodium bicarbonate in their noodles is overwhelming. I would highly recommend this place if you happen to be near any of its 3 outlets.

Changi Terminal 3, #B2-58 (Inside Ramen Champion)

Block 7, Tanjong Pagar Plaza, #01-104, Singapore

30, Victoria Street, #F1-07, Chijmes, Singapore