First published on 2 Feb 2010. Updated on 2 Sep 2012.
Ippudo, Mandarin Gallery
Star dish: Akamaru Modern
Of the four pork-based versions on offer, we like the red Akamaru Modern with chashu (roast pork) most. This has the oomph of Ippudo’s secret recipe, ‘umami-dama’ miso paste (which we suspect gives the broth a hint of whisked-in, hard-boiled yolk), a generous drizzle of dark and robust garlic oil, and sweet, pliable chashu slices. #04-02/04 Mandarin Gallery, 333A Orchard Rd (6235 2797). MRT: Somerset. $15.
Miharu Sapporo Ramen
Star dish #1: Gyokai-dashi
The opaque, wavy medium-thick Sapporo Nishiyama noodles resemble a hybrid between konnyaku (jelly) and egg noodles – a perfect foil for this ramen house’s bolder broths. Made with scallops and other seafood, it’s fresh and toothsomely briny. $14.
Star dish #2: Miso Tonkotsu
Miharu’s so overloaded with mouthwatering broths that it’s scored not one but two entries in our High Five. Who knew one ramen house could produce such diverse personalities? No less voluptuous than the Gyokai-dashi is this special-blended miso pork-fl avoured soup, with tones of fried shallots and ginger. $13. #01-11 Gallery Hotel, 76 Robertson Quay (6733 8464). MRT: Clarke Quay and walk, or take a taxi.
Star dish: Marutama Ramen
Marutama believes in noodles – heaps of them, thin and springy. Before the kaedama (refi ll) charge was implemented, it was free if you had some broth left in your bowl, so rationing was always the game. Now, the bowl holds just enough liquid for the mound of noodles – fair enough, we are in a recession after all. The thin but pungent, almost-clear chicken broth is gentle and soothing, and a perfect complement to the equally thin, evenly rolled disc of pork and delicate jade-green seaweed that tops it off. #03-90/91 The Central, 6 Eu Tong Sen St (6534 8090). MRT: Clarke Quay. $12.
Star dish: Tokusen Toro Niku Shoyu
On first slurp, Santouka’s cloudy pork-bone broth comes off a tad bland. But couple this with the sweet, simmered pork cheeks (toriniku) and the light shoyu soup comes alive: the liquid takes on a slightly sweet aftertaste, and its once-subtle spices become less shy. The tender cuts of meat soak in the sugary fl avour of the broth, too. #02- 76 The Central, 6 Eu Tong Sen St (6224 0668). MRT: Clarke Quay. $19.50.