This tiny little corner shop in Orchid Hotel has consistently garnered rave reviews for their tonkotsu ramen, but as a result their queues are pretty epic. At almost any mealtime, there are queues of at least 10 people, and when you get there it’s easy to see why. The restaurant seats at most 20, and along the counter you’re packed literally shoulder to shoulder. This is probably the most authentic ramen joint that I’ve been to in Singapore. It almost feels like you’re in a hole-in-the-wall place in Ramen Alley in Sapporo.
They’re really efficient though – you place your order whilst in the queue outside by ticking a series of boxes on order chits. By the time you’re seated and get yourself sorted out, your steaming bowl of ramen appears. You can help yourself to unlimited amounts of beansprouts and hard boiled eggs at each table, and they give you a little pestle and mortar to grind sesame seeds for your ramen.
The ramen is pretty straightforward. You choose between white, red and black tonkotsu varieties, and customise 3 aspects – how al dente your noodles are, the strength of the broth, and the oiliness. They recommend normal for all 3, which is what A had. I decided to pick “strong” for the broth; big mistake. While it packed quite a flavour punch for the first few spoonfuls, it got way too potent and salty thereafter.
The pork was a bit hit-and-miss. One slice was a bit tough but the other was fattier and therefore nice and tender. The onsen egg was good (compared to the free flow eggs which were just regular hard boiled), and the broth was sinfully tasty, with bits of fat floating within.
I’m a really slow eater, yet it took us no more than half an hour from start to finish. So don’t be put off by the queues. I expect the line to move pretty quickly, because I don’t think is a place where people will linger.
Just like Japan. Very authentic. Unfortunately, we don’t have cool Japanese weather so it’s freaking hot inside. It’s probably the best ramen in Tanjong Pagar, but for me I’d rather visit Menya Musashi outlets.
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#01-19 Orchid Hotel
Open daily: 11.30 am – 3 pm; 6 pm – 10.30 pm