Thursday, July 9, 2015

YOSHIMARU Ramen Challenge 2015 : KEEP CALM AND SLURP

Are you game enough for YOSHIMARU Ramen Challenge 2015?
Hands up if you love ramen like we do! Introducing YOSHIMARU Ramen Bar (a franchise business managed by the Jumbo Group of Restaurants) who specializes in serving authentic Hakata style ramen that is characterised by its thick hearty tonkotsu (pork bone) broth, boiled over long hours. Their bowls of high quality Hakata ramen has won over noodle-lovers of all ages from all over Japan in its 13 branches there since 1994.

Here in Singapore, YOSHIMARU Ramen Bar is also well known for its taste, consistency and quality of its noodles and stock. Seated next to us were a group of loyal Malaysian fans who came down to Holland Village just for their ramen.  And of course it has also attracted local patrons to participate in its annual affair: YOSHIMARU Ramen Challenge.
My spontaneous sister took on the challenge last week where she had to finish one super-sized serving of Yoshimaru’s traditional Hakata ramen — 2 portions of noodles, onsen eggs, slices of char siu and a portion of black-ear fungus in a broth — within 4 min 30 sec.  She managed to finish everything in the bowl despite exceeding the stipulated time limit. Savoury goodness!

P.S.: To all the challengers out there who are at least 18 years of age, the challenge ends on 26 July 2015! Wait no more and let your victory reward you a free meal and a chance to win vouchers/tickets to JAPAN! Failing which, you just have to pay only $25.80++ for the meal.

Apart from the ramen challenge, here’s something for the more adventurous ramen lovers: Karaka Men aka Spicy Yuzu Ramen (almost unheard-of in the already saturated ramen scene in Singapore).  YOSHIMARU has decided to add Karaka Men ($14.90) to the local menu in Singapore a few years ago due to its popularity in Japan as a long-time bestseller using a secret recipe.
The spicy yuzu-flavored broth can be a tad overpowering for some who seldom take spicy food but it sure makes for pretty addictive and refreshing broth that clings on well to the ultra-thin and fine noodles. What a zesty blend of citron flavour and spices.

The char siu (pork belly) was suitably fatty with melt-in-your-mouth tenderness. Other yummy selections include Spicy Miso Tonkotsu Ramen; Toasted Garlic Ramen and Spicy Cold Ramen, etc.
Because having just ramen in a Japanese ramen restaurant is too mainstream, we indulged in the Hakata Mini Burgers Combo ($10.80), which comes in 3 different flavors - Teriyaki Chicken Burger (Chicken burger with mayonnaise & teriyaki sauce); Mentaiko Ebi (Prawn) Mayo Burger; and Spicy Char Siu Karamiso Burger (Japanese spicy braised pork burger). Available at $3.50/ $4.80/ $3.50 respectively.

I like the Spicy Char Siu Karamiso Burger best (for its juicy and tender cha siu slices), followed by the Teriyaki Chicken Burger. Sadly, the Mentaiko Ebi (Prawn) Mayo Burger was rather sub-par since it was lacking the mentaiko kick. The presence of warm mentaiko (salted pollock roe) sauce would be a nice complement to the Ebi tempura and add punch to its overall taste (perhaps because I am a huge fan of mentaiko).

According to Shiho-san (Marketing Manager of YOSHIMARU), this East-meets-West Dish  was introduced due to the need to diversify and meet customers’ changing tastes.  

Since the in-house made braised pork Char Siu has been well-received by diners, they wanted to innovate and develop different styles of serving it — Hakata Burgers, which included more varieties using prawn and teriyaki chicken.

Similarly served at most Japanese ramen restaurants, desserts were ice-cream which comes in 3 flavours – Japanese Yuzu, Goma (Black Sesame) and Matcha (Green Tea) ($3/scoop). Though the ice cream is not home-made, it comes directly from a Japanese supplier to ensure its authentic taste and quality. We had the Black Sesame and Yuzu ice cream and each gave a nice closing note, with delicious sweetness. 

Perfect way to end the dinner!

Yoshimaru Ramen Bar
31 Lorong Liput Holland Village Singapore 277742
Mon-Fri 11am-3pm / dinner 6pm-11pm
Sat, Sun and PH 11am-11pm 
(L.O 30mins before closing)
Tel: +65 6463 3132
Facebook @YOSHIMARUSingapore

[Text and photos by guest writer Kerri]

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