Ramen Champion has just opened a second, slightly scaled-down, outlet at Changi Airport’s Terminal 3. (Yes, that’s the terminal that’s connected to the MRT’s East-West line.) We were here on Wednesday night for a sending-off mission, and thanks to Ramen Champion, didn’t have to endure soul-less airport food.
There are only 4 stalls here, compared to 6 at Iluma. It’s also a bit of a cop-out because out of those 4, 2 of them are Gantetsu and Ikkousha, which also feature at Iluma. So you’re essentially left with just 2 new contenders – Riki and Gensuke. Riki serves Jiro-style ramen, similar to my favourite Bario, and Gensuke is Hakata style using thin noodles, a chicken-based broth and interestingly, chicken chashu.
I’m not a huge Hakata ramen fan, so we both went with Rika, and I also ordered a side of chicken wing gyozas. The chicken wing gyozas were quite interesting – they were like Thai-style stuffed chicken wings, only the filling was a gyoza filing. Pretty innovative, I thought.
I seriously love the Jiro-style of ramen. It’s topped with a mountain of beansprouts and cabbage, and the chashu is sliced rustically thick, not thin delicate slices that disintegrate by the time you stir everything up. The broth is cloudy with garlic, and I think a hearty dose of some good ol’ pork fat as well.
This is not for the faint-hearted – it packs a serious punch and portions are huge after you’ve made your way through all the vegetables. I really enjoyed this while eating it, and I think it’ll probably appeal to more people than Bario, because it doesn’t have the thick chewy noodles that Bario uses (which I actually happen to prefer). Having said that, the overdose of garlic really affected us after – I was gassy all night, and A even had a minor nosebleed, probably from the heatiness.
And I should also point out that I was mistaken. Earlier I mentioned that I wanted either Bario or Taishoken to win, so that we’d have something new in Singapore in the form of tsukemen or Jiro-style ramen. Well, it turns out that a few old school places do already serve one, if not both, styles – apparently at Menya Shinchan at Robertson Quay and Miharu at Gallery Hotel. Still, that’s just a handful compared to the plethora of miso and tonkotsu ramen joints. Once we recover from this recent ramen overdose, we’ll give them a try.
If you can handle your garlic, then the Riki ramen is awesome. Great char siew too. If I can’t have my tsukemen (dipping style) ramen from Taishoken or Tetsu, then this would be my choice.