Best ramen in the world? – Ramen Santouka

Quite by chance one day, I was having a rare Plurk conversation with blog reader Stan and his friends when the discussion led to food.

It’s an interesting phenomenon you might have noticed. Internet conversations involving Singaporeans and/or Malaysians invariably lead to food. Or sex. Sometimes both at the same time.

In this case, it was food.

I was recommended this place called Ramen Santouka, located at Central.

Ramen Santouka

This ramen outlet is supposedly the best in Japan. I was also pointed to a food review written by Mr Miyagi, who called it the best ramen in the world.

I think it’s been in Singapore for a year or so. How come I have never heard of it?!

Anyway, Mr Miyagi’s review was incredibly appetising, so I organised a ramen outing with my friends the following weekend.

It looks like a humble establishment, nestled in an obscure corner in Central, with a seating capacity of maybe 40 or 50.

Because they don’t take reservations, be prepared to wait in line if you go during peak hours.

Ramen Santouka

The menu is rather limited. There’s something like four types of soup bases (salt, soya sauce, miso, spicy miso) and a few kinds of meat to go with the noodles. There are also a number of side dishes and rice dishes.

We all ordered a flavoured boiled egg each ($1) because it looked so good.

Ramen Santouka

Ramen Santouka

It is good! You must order this if you eat there!

Because the salt-based soup (shio) seems like the most highly-recommended, plus it is also award-winning, I ordered that, with the Tokusen Toroniku, a premium pork meat which sells out fast because it is that popular.

Ramen Santouka

The meat comes separate from the noodles, I suppose because it’s special.

Minou and Kerrendor ordered the chashu pork and theirs came inside the noodles.

Maybe I had too high expectations from reading reviews. The soup didn’t impress me as much as I thought it would.

Ramen Santouka

I said to my friends, “I prefer Ajisen Ramen’s soup.”

Immediately, protests came from Morte and the Goonfather, who had ordered the same thing.

According to them, Santouka’s soup is superior. Well, okay, it’s not that bad. But I wouldn’t die for it.

In terms of noodle texture, we all agreed that Ajisen’s is better, in that it’s more chewy and springy.

But the meat… OMG THE MEAT.

Ramen Santouka

You cannot possibly imagine how meat can melt in your mouth until you’ve had a taste of this.

If I don’t remember wrongly, our set of noodles and meat costs about $15. And the chashu combo costs about $13.

The chashu is to-die-for, too, surprisingly. It’s as melt-in-the-mouth as the toroniku and has a taste reminiscent of very good kong ba (stewed fatty pork).

If I had to verbalise the comparison, the chashu has a more fatty taste while the toroniku has a more meaty taste. But both are equally tender and buttery.

While we all ordered just ramen, Wang Wang had to be special and ordered a combo set, which comes with a smaller bowl of ramen, rice and salad.

Ramen Santouka

The combos are pricier, at over $20.

Ramen Santouka
Wang Wang and Morte

Ramen Santouka
Me and Minou

Honestly, I couldn’t personally say whether Ramen Santouka is the best in the world, seeing as I never even used to like ramen until I was introduced to Ajisen. So, obviously, Ajisen is my benchmark but I’m not even sure if it’s a credible benchmark.

Still, I would highly recommend Santouka for the pork slices and possibly the soup. While I wasn’t blown away by it, I enjoyed it enough. And the Goonfather liked it so much that he cleaned up my leftovers down to the last drop.

Definitely worth a try.

Ramen Santouka
6 Eu Tong Sen Street
#02-76 Central
Tel: 62240668

19 thoughts on “Best ramen in the world? – Ramen Santouka

  1. Avatar

    They are known for their soup, but certainly not the best.

    I prefer Marutama Ramen though for their noodles and char siew – the latter which surpassed even the supposedly Tokusen Toroniku in my opinion. However, Marutama’s char siew seemed to shrunk in size over the years.

    The egg I had at Ramen Santouka was a disgrace so let’s not even compare.

    As for Ajisen….. erm…… erm……

  2. Avatar

    Ok, for once I will approve of one of your food posts. I happen to love ramen and I’ll give this one a whirl.

  3. Avatar

    I went to Santouka in Costa Mesa and found the one in The Central hidden behind an escalator. Both had pretty good shio broth. I had the toroniku in Singapore and it was very good! I wasn’t too impressed with the noodles though. Hakata ramen works well with thin egg noodles like mein from Hong Kong. I felt that the Santouka noodles were a bit soggy and lacked the “snap” that they should have.

    When you get to Japan or New York City, try Ippudo. One of the best I’ve had! Practically perfect in every way…

    http://www.ippudo.com/index.html

  4. Avatar

    @Sheylara: Somehow, I agree with the Goonfather:) But mostly coz its kinda hard for me to patronise this place…

  5. Avatar

    Thanks for all your feedback! I will definitely try Marutama next. Never heard of it, either. I guess my group of friends and contacts aren’t really ramen people. =P

    I still stand by Ajisen, though. If I’m not wrong, people don’t like it because it’s too fusion and lacks authenticity, but I like fusion food. =P And I feel that Ajisen cooks its noodles to perfect consistency.

  6. Avatar

    Marutama is also in Central. I believe it’s the one that Ely brought me to some time ago. The decor is darker and cosier than Santouka. Seating also quite limited.

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    Yeap! That’s the one. Honestly I thought the ramen was so-so but RN and Tiger seemed to really enjoy it the last time we went. The sashimi there was really fresh though!

  8. Avatar

    If Ajisen is your benchmark, and this is the Ajisen as in the chain.. then your standards are pretty low.. That’s like making McDonalds your burger benchmark..

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