Sunday, August 23, 2009

Search for Ramen 6: Aoba at ION

with Larry, Prof. Horolographer, SJX

Aoba is a Hokkaido ramen-ya with some repute. In fact, it is Asahikawa's oldest ramen-ya. The characteristic of Aoba is seafood based broth, and freshly made ramen. No tonkotsu stock here.

The Aoba store in Singapore is tucked in the basement of the spanking new ION shopping mall...the shop practices a no-reservations policy, so we trotted downstairs, after having a look see at L'Atelier by The Hour Glass...

The decor was typical Japanese, with menu items written on wooden slats all over the shop. Seating was kind of nice, with booths, and tables. Unlike a typical ramen-ya in Japan, no counter seating was offered here.

We ordered the special Zuwei Kani (snow crab soup) Ramen:

On offer at S$16.80 per bowl, and comprising of seafood broth, egg and no less than 3 legs of Hokkaido snow crab, it looked excellent value for money.

The bowl looks very impressive as it was served. The first slurp of the broth revealed that this was indeed seafood stock, and a bit salty. I was expecting to be assualted by the crustacean flavours, but was instead confronted with a mild seafood flavour. The crab legs were a bit difficult to eat - messy having to deal with shell, albeit shell which has been cut open, so as to facilitate sliding out of the meat. As I tasted the crab, it was apparent that the crab is deep frozen, and not the air-flown chilled variety. As a result, the crab tasted bland, and the meat was not succulent but rather tired and flaky.

The noodles were thick Hokkaido style, freshly made, and tasted quite nice.

We also ordered some fried chicken:

The fried chicken was rather ordinary. Nothing special to note.

The crocquet was also rather pedestrian:

Overall, perhaps because of the hype built by the fact that this was a branch of one of the most famous Hokkaido ramen-ya, and the oldest, the ramen I sampled that afternoon was lack lustre...quite ordinary. And the promise of sweet, succulent crab legs were sorely let down by frozen crabs.

As we left, a long line was forming outside the shop...wonder if they know what they are in for?

Aoba Ramen
2 Orchard Turn
#B3-25 ION Orchard
Tel: 6509 9394
Daily: 11am-3pm, 5pm-10pm
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