I can’t believe it has been more than six years since Ramen Champion hosted its first competition in Singapore for the best ramen. Six years on, its flagship store in Bugis+ no longer sits alone on the island; Changi Airport T3, and most recently, Central Clarke Quay are two other locations Ramen Champion is serving piping hot ramen to diners.
In fact, the latest addition to the family distinguishes itself from the elder siblings in various ways. First, it is a full service restaurant. If you aren’t familiar with the original concept of Ramen Champion, briefly, it houses a number of stalls within the premises and is completely self-service. Diners also seat themselves at the common seating area. Second, this outlet offers more than just ramen; on the menu a wider variety of Japanese cuisine can be found, including but not limited to donburi (rice bowl), sashimi, maki roll, and nabe. Third, unlimited servings at the Salad Bar is possible with a top-up of $4, with every order of a main course. Noticeable salad includes mentaiko potato, deviled eggs and marinated bean sprouts. I think it is worth every penny to upgrade your meal this way.
The most instagrammable dish of the night has to be the Salmon Tower Maki ($21.80++). It looks more complex than it actually is. It’s just a twist to the California Roll you usually see. This tower comprises salmon sashimi, ikura, ebiko, crabstick and cucumber. I understand that sashimi and ikura don’t come at a cheap price, but given the quantity, I do feel that it’s slightly pricey, especially when compared to the Fisherman Don.
Hands down my favourite dish of the evening, the Fisherman Don ($21.80++) delivered as well as one would expect from its flashy outlook. I have no doubt this is owing in part to its fresh sashimi cubes air-flown in from Japan’s iconic Tsukiji Market. The other part, in my humble opinion, comes from the novel fashion of completing the course. The small dish at the foregound is a blended sauce of miso, sesame, wasabi and soy sauce. It lends a relatively heavy and rich savoury taste to the sashimi cubes and Japanese rice. The pot on the right, on the other hand, carries the familiar dashi soup made of bonito and kombu; a much lighter taste and body. The “right” way to eat this is to first, add the blended sauce, followed by the soup when you are half-done with the rice bowl. We defied it by mixing both in at the same time. Love it just as much.
Another eye-catcher, the Special Tonkotsu Pink Ramen ($15.80++), features thin noodles, char siew slices, ajitama egg, black fungus and spring onion. If you ask it “where you get that body from”, it will tell you “I got it from my
mama bb” – that is, beetroot and blueberries. Odd it may sound, I am pretty sure their flavour will go unnoticed when slurping up those noodles. All in all then, it is nothing too special, taste-wise.
The same can’t be said for the Magma Ramen ($14.80++), for the sheer fact that it comes with spicy level of up to 20 (from a mix of six different spices – capsicum peppers, Japanese black pepper, chilli padi, chilli oil, Korean chilli flakes and Japanese chilli flakes). We all love the kick and the challenge, so this is one to check off the food bucket list. The kind of spiciness reminds me greatly of the crazy spicy Korean instant noodles, except slightly better because unlike the instant noodles, the chilli oil here does not stay on your tongue forever (or at least what feels like).
What’s worth ordering: