Tar Pau Nation: What to order in

Covid-19 stay-home guide: Soba so good

In this daily series, Senior Food Correspondent Wong Ah Yoke digs into delivery options and rates them for you

Tsuta's Mala Tonkotsu Soba (left, top), Shio Soba (left, above) and Aburi Niku (right). PHOTOS: WONG AH YOKE

Tsuta is offering a "one-for-one" ramen promotion until the end of this month, making this the best time to check out its various broths.

I have a favourite, Shio Soba, and that was what I would order when I used to dine in at the ramen shop.

For delivery now, it costs $17.20. But for $18, I can pick a second bowl of noodles. So it's not exactly one-for-one, but let's not quibble.

Since it was just 80 cents more, I thought I would go out on a limb and try its Mala Tonkotsu Soba, a bold hybrid of Chinese and Japanese flavours which was launched late last year.

The food arrived hot with the stocks packed separately in paper bowls. Though the noodles had clumped together, it took me just about half a minute of vigorous shaking in the liquid to loosen them up.

But for better results, bring the soup to a boil in a small pot before adding the noodles and toppings. This will get the dish even closer to how it would taste at the eatery.

I didn't do that and the dish was still not too far off. The thin noodles were firm and smooth, and the soup for the Shio Soba was just the way I remembered it - full-bodied with the distinct sweetness of clam juice.

It also had a strong smell of truffle oil, which some people enjoy but I would prefer to be lighter.

The dish came with just the basic garnishes of chopped onion, sliced leeks, green olive puree in truffle oil and bamboo shoots. There was a slice of char siu, but anything else costs extra.

For example, an ajitama or flavoured egg is $2.20 while black fungus is $1.60. To save costs, I'd suggest sharing extras between the two bowls.

The pork bone broth for the Mala Tonkotsu Soba was covered in red oil made with Sichuan pepper and fiery dried chillis, among other spices. It was potent and addictive.

The noodles were topped with mala minced pork, crushed peanuts, sliced leeks and goji berries, plus a slice of char siu.



    Go to order.tsuta.com. Minimum order of $20.


    $10. Free for orders of $60 and more.


Put together, it was a wonderful dish for rainy weather and one I would pick again.

Instead of adding toppings to meet the minimum $20 requirement, I decided to try another dish instead.

Aburi Niku ($7.30) was a good choice. The torched pork cubes, packed with a small salad, tasted good with or without the accompanying onion sauce. Or you could add them to the noodles and have an extra topping.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 20, 2020, with the headline Tar Pau Nation: Soba so good. Subscribe