Ramen Santouka

Approximately three years ago, I recall vividly going to the 'Japan Street' in Pavilion, KL and Stanley, a colleague back in KL, recommended a ramen place that is supposedly 'quite good'. Having only tried ramen at a few Japanese restaurants in KL, I wasn't entirely keen, but still game enough to give it a try.

Oh. my. It was the best ramen I have ever had. The broth was thick and flavourful, but still light enough to slurp every last drop. The noodles were cooked al dente, the pork meat very tender, almost buttery - no chewing required. I could find no fault with it.

I remembered Santouka ramen, it was the first, and the last time I dined there for a while.

Then I moved to Singapore and I was even more spoiled with choices. Ippudo Ramen @ Mandarin Gallery hits the spot but I find that their broth to be a tad overwhelming, unlike Santouka's.

When I found out that Santouka too, had a branch in Singapore, I knew I had to go back there and see if it still excites my tongue the way it did, three years back.

The Central, Clarke Quay. Bit tricky to look for this restaurant. Very well hidden.

Tofu with bonito flakes, spring onions, ginger paste and soy sauce. Tofu wasn't as soft as I expected. It was meh for me.

TY's order of some special ramen with additional topping and 50% more noodles kind of item. It is a spicier variety and I prefer mine, so let's move on.

I ordered the Shio Tonkotsu ramen - which was the same variety I ordered back in KL. My order arrived and I was super excited - it arrived and looked exactly the same way I remembered three years ago! Excellent! (rub palms together)

The pork-based broth is exactly how I remembered it. Comes with strips of bamboo shoots, spring onions, black fungus, little Naruto slice and melt-in-your-mouth pork slices.

Gyoza -  too greasy for my liking. I love the ramen here but I think Ippudo still has better side dishes than Santouka. The pork buns and gyozas at Ippudo are to die for! Also you get to customise your ramen at Ippudo a lot more, additional toppings, done-ness of noodles, etc.

Well, excuse me while I clean the keyboard of stray saliva....

Ramen Santouka
6 Eu Tong Sen Street #02-76
The Central Singapore
Tel: +65 6224 0668

Forty Hands

Shall start the first of 2014 posts with something I love doing - eating. At one of my favourite cafes in Singapore: Forty Hands.

I think I may have had written about this place some time ago, but no harm going there again just to confirm its consistency? Of course.

Photos from phone :/ (meh)

Tucked and almost obscured between shop-houses in the Tiong Bahru neighbourhood. The only aspect that separates this shop from the others is the line of people queueing to get seats! The dine-in crowed can get crazy sometimes. You have to pick a good time to pop in. Once I was there for tea (3pm-ish) and there was a 30-40 minute wait! But on other occasions, I was there for brunch (noon till 1pm) and we usually get seats right away.

Default flat white. Forty Hands' coffee beans lay somewhere on the sour quadrant in the taste section. Strange when I first tried it, I thought their milk had gone bad! But no, it's just the way their coffee beans are.

Another cause of the ridiculously long lines - there's only about enough seating for 16-18 people indoors and a few tables at the back (outdoor setting) of this old-HDB shop lot. They do try to cram in more seats and tables, which is quite unfortunate. There was a time when I went there with TY and his face was literally next to a large female's bum! Thank goodness the next table was leaving so we swapped tables. The patrons that came after that also looked uncomfortable with the unusual seating arrangements and they also requested for another table, lol. But otherwise a nice indie cafe with a laidback atmosphere, really, complete with mismatched tables and chairs. 

Chilli dog with bolognaise, scrambled eggs and bacon - not bad but not as awesome as the Big Boy's Breakfast!

Big Boy's Breakfast - Sourdough with fatty bacon strips (wish they offer back bacon as an option!), eggs (any way you want - I had mine over hard), grilled tomatoes, handful of rocket leaves, bolognaise and sour cream. Oh and two beautifully fried, spicy Chipotle pork sausages which were my favourite! Love them to bits. And no baked beans, thank goodness for that.

I love how quaint and old-school Forty Hands serve their meals in. Like this metal plate, Ah Ma used to have stacks of them - usually for steamed pork & egg custard. Yum.

Cheese, tomato and ham toasties. Simple ingredients but you can never go wrong with them. The toast felt a little soggy though and lacking in the 'crunch' department.

Salad that I can't recall the name. A little Asian twist to it with stripped bok choy, bacon pieces, carrots, feta cheese and macadamia nuts. Spot on, loved the combination. Wished they were walnuts instead of macadamia, though.

There's also a pork belly pau that I've always meant to try but I get side-tracked all the time. Oh well, looks like I will have to do another dreaded trip to Forty Hands, then ;)

40 Hands Coffee
78 Yong Siak Street,
#01-12 Tiong Bahru.
Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Sundays 8am to 7pm.
Fridays & Saturdays 8am to 10pm
Closed Mondays.

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