Ramen Champion is a new ramen concept "food court" in Singapore. The whole concept is that 6 famous and authentic ramen shops in Japan are invited by a Japanese operator to open their shop within this ramen food court. Diners can eat from any of the stalls, and at the end of the meal diners will vote for their favourite ramen shop. The whole thing last for one year till June 2012, and the winner will be able to set up an overseas branch here in Singapore with the help of the operator.
The first Ramen Champion actually started in Bangkok. Singapore is the 2nd place with such a concept. Before coming, I did some research and found out that the most popular and longest queue ramen shop in Japan is actually Tetsu.
The craze of eating Tsukemen ramen began a few years back in Japan. The Japanese slowly began to appreciate how flavourful and delicious such ramen is. The noodles is QQ and you dip the noodles in a ultra rich stock. The process is similar to eating cold soba, but the flavour and taste is totally different.
The ordering process is simple and similar to how you will order in Marche. When you enter Ramen Champion, the staff will hand you a card. Hand the card to the stall owner when ordering.
After ordering from the stall, they will give you an electronic buzzer. When your noodles is ready, the buzzer will light up, vibrate and make a buzzing sound. Bring the buzzer to the counter to pick up your food. After finishing your food, go to the main cashier and give the card to the cashier for payment.
The number one ramen in Tetsu is the Very Rich Paitan Tsukemen (S$11) from Tetsu which originated from Tokyo. The concentrated dipping soup stock is made from both pork and chicken. Soup had toppings of Char Siew (1 piece), Bamboo Shoots and Leeks. They have another even richer version made from Seafood, Pork and Chicken.
And I can say that this Tsukemen is THE BEST ramen I have ever tried. It's different from the hot soup + noodles kind of ramen we are all familiar with. The texture of the noodles here is chewey. Although the noodles is served cold, but when dipped in the hot broth, it's very very tasty. And the thick rich stock suits me well. It's not for drinking, but strictly for dipping only.
I also ordered the Big Fried Chicken (S$3) and Gyoza (S$5 for 4 pieces) - All from Ikkousha which originated from Hakata. I like the fried chicken and will certainly order it from Ikkousha again, but not sure about their Gyoza.
This is my first time having Sapporo Beer (S$7.50 for 334ml) with ramen, and it went very well. The hot and cold combination works. We also ordered Ice Coffee (S$3.80).
It was after reading this ramen blog http://ramenwalker.blogspot.com/2011/07/tsukemen-tetsu-tetsu-ramen-champion.html that I found out that halfway through, you can actually request for a hot stone from the stall. The guy will bring it to your table and throw it into the soup to make it bubbly hot again. And after finishing the noodles, you can dilute the rich stock with Dashi Stock from their counter, and drink the diluated but very flavourful soup. Shall do it the next time I am there again!
The Juicy Yaki Gyoza (S$6.90 for 6) from Tetsu is delicious. The gyoza is first steam, and then seared and pan fried for a while. The base of the Gyoza is crisp and the top is moist and juicy.
The last ramen we had was the Negitama Ramen (S$11) which is a black shoyu ramen from the shop Menya Iroha from Tokyo. Personally, I didn't find anything special about this shoyu ramen. Perhaps I was too excited over the ramen from Tetsu, that this Negitama ramen paled in comparison. If there is something nice about this ramen, it will be the char siew. The other toppings are the egg, seaweed, leeks and bamboo shoots.
I will definitely be back for Tetsu again.
201 Victoria Street,
Iluma @ Bugis