Sunday, May 10, 2015

Men-Tei Ramen - Authentic and Classic Ramen at It's Best

Authentic Japanese ramen is not something that is easily found here, and with the explosion of all sorts of fusion and creatively concocted versions of this Japanese classic happening everywhere, it is almost a relief to find a place that sticks to the original way of making ramen.

This is why it is both comforting and an absolute joy to visit Jason Lim's Men-Tei Ramen at Robinson Road.

Jason, whom I have wrote about before on his ramen classes at the Eureka Cooking Lab, is no stranger to the art of making ramen.

Having learnt the actual craft in Japan for a number of years, he is a man of precision when it comes to his cooking. Nothing is spared, and whilst he still follows the classic way of Japanese noodle making, he has also introduced some modern cooking techniques into the fold.

Shoyu Ramen

All the broth from Men-Tei are made meticulously from chicken bones, smoked fish and a wide array of seafood to produce a flavourful and rich body. This is not powdered stock, which is the bane of many a ramen places in Singapore today.

The laborious effort in making this soup base clearly shows in the final product. It is so naturally sweet and robust that it will linger in your palate. The Shoyu Ramen is further enhanced with 4 additional soya sauces and oils to give it that extra tinge of light and refreshing soy notes.

The noodles themselves are adjusted according to the ramen that you choose, and I like that it has a distinctive bite to every strand and how it soaked up the broth perfectly in each noodle. The char siu was also ridiculously tender and melting.

The onsen egg was cooked to perfection and that creamy yolk at the center was absolutely faultless. In every way possible, this is a perfectly executed bowl of ramen. And unless a true Japanese ramen master flies down from Japan, I suspect you cannot get it any better from a Singaporean ramen maker here today.

Spicy Tonkotsu

For those who need a little bit of spice, their Spicy Tonkotsu bowl might be just the thing. Men-Tei has added Korean Gochujang sauce into the mix just to liven things up. Not overly spicy, but just hot enough to satisfy spice lovers.

Yakibuta Cubes

As for the modern cooking techniques, the Yakibuta Cubes shows Jason fusing new technology into classic Japanese cuisine. At the same time, it does not look out of place among his other ramen items either.

The pork cubes are sous vide for 18 hours to produce that familiar tender texture and drizzled with a dark soy like savoury sauce. They are utterly addictive and totally affordable. They also make a great companion dish to the ramen selections.

Gyoza

Jason is so meticulous that he insists on 0.6mm thickness of the pastry skins when he makes his Japanese pot stickers. The gyoza fillings are also infused with touches of leeks and pork which gives the dish an added injection of flavours. Possibly the best gyozas you can find here.

Yuzu, Black Sesame Ice Cream

Men-Tei imports all their ice creams from a specific supplier in Japan and they are all amazing. In particular, the black sesame and the yuzu ones are the standouts. The yuzu ice cream was so refreshing and had such a fresh and pronounced flavour of the Japanese fruit that it made me yearn for more long after the last spoonful.

Surprisingly, despite being housed in the heart of the business district, the ramen prices are even more affordable that some of the medium ranged ramen shops here. What I like is that you get a good selection of shio, shoyu and tokotsu ramen choices without resorting to fusion gimmicks that is so popular today.

Each bowl is not only well made, they are also superbly comforting and reminiscent of the best ramen I found in Japan itself. This is all down to the hard work and dedication that Jason and his team has put into their food and cooking.

If you have been a fan of Santouka and want an alternative, Men-Tei is not only viable, in some ways, it is also superior.

Men-Tei Ramen
61 Robinson Road

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