The ramen craze in Singapore remains unabated.
Bishamon has made a comeback after four years at Level 3, Suntec City North Wing. The restaurant serves Sapporo-style miso ramen in its signature broth (pork-bone and chicken broth, with a blend of red, white and black miso).
Then on June 12, Hokkaido-Ya opens its doors at Level 2, VivoCity.
This will be a place for Hokkaido-inspired dishes, such as the Hokkaido Butter Corn Chasyu Ramen; and Hokkaido Butter Corn Hotate Ramen. Each bowl of ramen comes with a blob of butter which gives its broth a creamy texture.
And on June 20, Konjiki Hototogisu opens at Chijmes (#01-17).
Each year from 2015, Konjiki Hototogisu has been listed on Tokyo's Michelin Bib Gourmand list. It is lauded for its clam-flavoured broth.
In Tokyo, it is an eight-seater outlet but it should - hopefully - be easier to get a table in Singapore.
And with the influx of new ramen places, it is time to revisit some of my favourite ramen joints.
1. Ramen Keisuke Tori King
Address: 100 Tras Street, #03-15 100AM, Singapore 079027
Opening hours: Weekdays 11.30am to 3pm, 5.30pm to 10pm; Weekends and public holidays 11.30am to 10pm
Almost any concept opened by chef Keisuke Takeda, I have liked. Of course he had some missteps along the way, like the disastrous and (thankfully) limited edition bak kut teh ramen.
But the Tori King Ramen remains my favourite because I love the combination of the robust broth, the almost-crunchy ramen and the juicy chicken leg. The free flow of hard-boiled egg and beansprouts help too.
2. Menya Sakura
Address: 1 Tras Link, Orchid Hotel #01-07 Singapore 078867
Opening hours: Monday to Saturday 11.30am to 10pm
Menya Sakura recently moved from Boat Quay location to its current space in Orchid Hotel. With a smaller kitchen, it trimmed its menu but the kept the fan favourites.
The restaurant specialises in Nagoya-style ramen, which is characterised by hearty soups brewed from meats and seafood. And that combo worked well for the Tonkotsu Tsukemen. The cold thick noodles are dipped into a warm and full-bodied dipping soup that tasted more of seafood than pork.
This is best when you're hungry.
3. Ramen Nagi Singapore
Address: Suntec City Tower 2, North Wing, #01-512/513, Singapore 038989
Opening hours: 11am to 3pm, 5pm to 10pm
Ramen Nagi started in 2004 in Fukuoka, Japan, and has since made its way around the world.
The restaurant made waves with The Black King, a satisfying bowl of ramen in a soup brewed with fragrant black garlic, sesame and squid ink, with juicy chashu, and finished with a ball of minced pork, black sesame and Nagi spices.
Address: 38 Sultan Gate, Singapore 198486
Opening hours: Monday to Saturday 11am to 10pm, Sunday 11am to 9pm
Located at the food court FOMO, the newly-opened Zamza offers ramen that contains no pork and no lard. A staff member told me that they're in the midst of applying for their halal certification.
I ordered the popular clear version. Without the creaminess that comes from pork bones, this becomes a clear but robust bowl of noodles. The toppings may not be innovative (my onsen egg was a tad overcooked) but you'll appreciate the lightness of the broth.
Address: visit www.ippudo.com.sg for a list of its locations
This ramen chain has been a fan favourite since it opened its Mandarin Gallery outlet in 2009.
I recently made a return in time to try its new limited-edition cold ramen, Hiyashi Sugita Shoyu Ramen.
Maybe it's the crazy humidity of the past weeks but the bowl of cold ramen really hit the spot. The cucumber and radish broth was light, and when you squeeze in a splash of lime juice, the dish brightens up completely.