Ramen Champion: Next better player.

Nothing works better for quality control than the existance of competition. Here at Ramen Champion, this concept is pushed to the extreme with the congregation of 6 ramen stores under one roof. Residency is determined by a competitive and friendly customer voting system, and diners' votes contribute to seeing who stays and who leaves the arena.

Sounds epic doesn't it?

With 2 new contenders arriving in Singapore, tensions were high as the current residents amped up their game in preparation for the conflict of interests. Would the newcomers pose a threat? We put the freshies to the test.

Kick starting the night, we indulged in a bit of pre-game appetisers. The Mentaiko Gyoza ($7) from Menya Ryu was perfectly delicious, the suppleness of the filling and the racy creaminess of the sauce squiggled over the top made it a perfect snack for the peckish. The Tako Age ($8.80) was okay, slightly overcooked but overcomeable with a generous dip in the mayonnaise.

The Tebasaki with Spicy Sauce ($6.90) appeals to me, the lightness of it's sesame crusted golden amber batter satisfying most of us around the table. Avoid the Deep Fried Gyoza ($5), greasy with an overly thick crust filled with the most pathetic amount of fillings I've ever bared witness to in a gyoza, it adds weak lines to Buta God's stellar repertoire as the front runner in the Ramen arena. 

Returning back to the main agenda of Ramen, my favourite of the night amongst Riki, Shodai Koji and Menya Ryu (the last 2 being the new kids on the block) would definitely have to be the Sapporo Miso Special Ramen ($15.80) from Menya Ryu; the flavorful tonkotsu and chicken soup base with 3 kinds of miso, red, white and black dances cross the tongue with such intensity that I was completely smitten. Texturists would relish in the Chef's varied use of garnish ranging from bamboo shoots to corn to spring onions and a generous mound of greens to further enhance the experience. Refreshing the palate with something crunchy, or something sweet with every alternate bite. This rendition uses curly medium thickness yellow noodles which were perfect vehicles for the aromatic broth.

Coming in second  for today's tasting was the Triple Chashu Ramen ( $16.80) from Shodai Koji.  Where it falls short of victory comes in the form of an overcooked egg and a slightly lighter and less flavorful broth than I'm usually accustomed to. Chef Koji Takano lavishes care on the meat selection (specially imported from Spain), offering an impressive spread of 3 kind of meats, chicken thigh, pork belly and pork collar in this dish, his efforts pay off as the Chashu is meltingly pliable. 

Special Power Ramen ($16.50)  from Riki slips into the back lane with its overly garlicky soup base. Proudly declared to have a broth that is simmered for over 8 hours, it's milky white nature is ravaged by the heavy hand of garlic that totally discredits its true potential. The overuse of beansprouts in this dish proves to be a bit distracting as it reveals a rather woeful amount of thick noodles. The beansprouts having been blanched for too long acquiring a rather limp texture that does nothing for the architecture of the dish. All is not lost though as the small detail of blow torching the pieces of charshu before plating imbues the pork with a heady smoky sensation that gives the dish depth. 

With all that ramen digested and commentaries passed, I shall leave you guys to make your own judgement should you be making a trip down to any of Ramen Champion's three locations dotting the island. And till then... may the next better player win.

Ramen Champion
Bugis +
201 Victoria Street #04-08/09/10
Singapore 188607
T: 6238 1011

No comments: