Cheap & Good

Cheap & Good: Gonpachi Ramen serves tasty broth with shishito peppers

The meat in the sweet sake marinated pork chop ramen is tender and juicy.
The meat in the sweet sake marinated pork chop ramen is tender and juicy.ST PHOTO: EUNICE QUEK

The mini foodie stretch in Hougang Street 21 has a new addition.

A stone's throw from Kovan MRT station, the area already has the likes of Thai eatery Nakhon Kitchen, Japanese izakaya Tachinomiya and dessert shop Hatter Street Bakehouse & Cafe.

Just over a month ago, the 38-seat Gonpachi Ramen joined the scene, offering ramen at half of what popular ramen chains charge.

The concise menu features six ramen options, where each bowl costs an affordable $7.80, with the shoyu "pai ling" mushroom ramen going for $7.

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The noodles, said to be imported from Japan, are on the thick side, but have a nice, chewy bite. As for the pork and chicken stock, it is light but flavourful and not overly salty.

The Seven Wonder Ramen catches my eye and it is the only spicy option. But unlike the spicy versions at other ramen shops that use chilli oil, I get a spoonful of blended shishito peppers to mix into my soup. It goes extremely well with the soup and also makes a good dip.

Other ingredients in the soup include diced chicken, which has a tom yam marinade, corn, one prawn, bamboo shoots, black fungus, egg and seaweed. While it makes for a filling meal, I would prefer the chicken to be in proper slices.

  • GONPACHI RAMEN


    Block 212 Hougang Street 21, 01-329

    Open: 11.30am to 2.30pm, 5.30 to 11pm (Thursdays to Tuesdays), closed on Wednesdays (except public holidays)

    Info: Call 6584-1943 or go to www.facebook.com/gonpachiramen

    Rating: 3.5/5

My friends also try the sweet sake marinated pork chop ramen and miso kakuni ramen, which comes with pork belly.

The meats are tender and juicy, and each bowl also has corn, egg and bamboo shoots.

Of course, don't expect to get the same portions of meat that would come with a bowl of ramen that costs double the price. But the food is no less filling, especially when complemented with some side dishes.

We try the boiled pork gyoza ($3.20) with black fungus and chilli oil, crispy fried baby squid ($4), and fried tofu with togarashi crumbs ($4).

The baby squid is fried to crisp perfection, while the fried tofu has a lovely thin layer coating the silky beancurd inside. The only odd part is that the tofu comes with a tartar sauce dip, instead of mayonnaise. The gyoza, unfortunately, is nothing to shout about.

For our party of three, with three bowls of ramen and three side dishes to share, the bill works out to just over $11 each. What a steal.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on June 04, 2017, with the headline 'Thick ramen, tasty broth'. Print Edition | Subscribe