Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Ramen Champion at Iluma: Iroha

Ramen Champion at Iluma, Singapore

Ramen. Pulled noodles, in broth. Delicious. Those are the words that come to mind when one mentions ramen. The mecca of this evovled cuisine (the Japanese adapted and improved on the Chinese creation of the pulled noodles...also known in Mandarin as La Mien) is no doubt Japan. Tokyo, Osaka, Hokkaido et al, have their own interpretation of this delectable meal in a bowl. Ramen Champion is the innovative itenerant setup...where 6 famous Japanese ramen stalls compete for the prize of Ramen Champion rolled into Singapore in July 2011, after a successful stint in Bangkok.

The setup is simple and quite ingenious. Take 6 of the best ramens from Japan. Put them together in a large food court. And create a system for patrons to sample all and vote on who they think is the best. After 6 months of operation...so as to allow the original masters who were here for the launch, and for the skills of ramen making to be fully absorbed into the local cooks who dish up these bowls daily, I visited for the first time.

I tried Menya Iroha as the first stop.

Looking much like a typical ramenya in Japan...especially those under bridges near railway stations, where a hot, steaming delicious bowl of ramen is probably the cheapest eats in town. It is not unusual to find standing only ramen-yas selling a bowl for Y300 or Y400.

The most famous and award winning style of Iroha is the Negi Tama ramen, which I tried.

The broth was black, thick...flavourful. Perhaps too flavourful...well actually not...but way too salty. It tasted like the base stock was indeed salty shoyu, and reduced by hours of simmering with the soup's ingredients of mixed seafood, chicken and vegeables. For me, this was the killer. Too salty to enjoy.

On the other hand the chasu and egg was excellent...the chasu was very tender. And the egg was almost runny inside, but nice and firm surroundings. It was also marinated completely, and totally infused with the flavours of the shoyu sauce.

The noodles were like the lor mee we use locally. Thick, but nicely cooked. Smooth and goes down well. Quite satisfying.

Not a bad bowl of ramen, but I think this is seriously too salty. I cannot imagine tHat it is not detrimental health effects if you drink up the bowl.

I will be back to sample the others. But for me, this is the last time for Menya Iroha.

Menya Iroha
Ramen Champion
201 Victoria Street
4F Iluma
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