I blame A for my waning interest in ramen. This used to be my default Japanese comfort food, but lately after A declared that he was off ramen, preferring udon and soba instead, perhaps subconsciously that’s rubbed off on me. I find that I’m now drawn towards the clear simplicity of a good udon soup, compared to the oily richness of a ramen. Don’t get me wrong – for someone whose ultimate comfort food is a bowl of instant noodles, I will always appreciate a good ramen. I just don’t have the fervour that I used to, or enough of a craving to join the queues at each newly opened ramen joint on the block.
Which is probably why it took us this long to try the acclaimed Ramen Santouka at Central. Since we were here at about 8.30 pm for a late dinner, there wasn't much of a queue so we took the opportunity to try it. We ordered a shoyu ramen and a miso ramen, and a side order of aburi pork cheek.
I liked the springy texture of the noodles, and I preferred the shoyu broth because it was tasty without being too strong. The sliced pork that comes with each bowl was a bit perfunctory though – tender but not particularly flavourful. I ordered a side order of braised egg, which was also a bit disappointing. The inside of the egg was cold, it didn’t have much of a soy-infused flavour, and the yolk didn’t have that almost set but not quite runny texture.
The aburi pork cheek, which is only available at dinner time, was the star of the show. The pork was meltingly tender without being too fatty, and quite heavily seasoned, though the chargrilled aburi flavour masked any overly salty flavour.
This place is certainly not cheap though. The bowls of ramen are quite small, so a total bill of $46 for 2 small bowls of ramen and 4 slices of (albeit delicious) pork is a bit on the high side.
I dunno… maybe Baikokhen at North Canal Road will restore my ramen fixation. Until then, I think my new quest is a perfect risotto.
Fabulous pork cheek. Everything else was blah. At least the ramen wasn’t super salty like most Hokkaido ramens.
Ramen Santouka (Central)
6 Eu Tong Sen Street
#02-76 The Central
Open daily: 11 am to 9.30 pm
I like Santouka for its springy noodles and tasty yet not overly salty soup. The pork cheek is of course killer tender. :)
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