Famous Tokyo ramen chain Keisuke Tokyo has set up its second Singapore shop at Orchid Hotel along Tanjong Pagar. Instead of offering its eclectic styles of ramen offered at the Parco outlet, Tonkotsu King is a specialist of ramen with pork bone broth.
You're not here to have service, ambience or whatever restaurant bullshit obligatories. You're here for the best ramen in the world (tentative).
I've travelled around Singapore for the best ramen available. Yoshimaru, Tampopo, Marutama, Santouka, Ajisen(is a piece of c***), all stores in Ramen Champion (both Bugis+ and Changi T3), Ramen Play(c*** that's better than Ajisen c***), and a bunch of other forgettable places.
Keisuke Tonkotsu King is hands down the best in terms of soup flavour, serving size and taste. If you're an avid ramen person, you'll know that most restaurants import(if they do) from the same source, so it's a moot point to compare noodles texture. Just pick Katamen (hard noodles) and you'll always be happy. Anything that's not katamen you're better off cooking your own soggy instant noodles.
I've been to the US, and scoured their lands for ramen too. Alas, all Japanese restaurants in the US are run by Koreans (okay, not all but majority) who serve mediocre Ajisen standard ramen. Even the Katanaya in San Francisco with its long queues is at best, the same taste as our Marutama. So Singaporean ramen lovers, you people are a bunch of spoilt foodies.
Then I did a Ramen tour of Japan, eating everywhere from south of Hokkaido to the southern tip of Nagasaki. Because Hokkaido noodles are like our fishball noodles, I conveniently left that out. All the ramen were great, and averaged at the standards of our the Yoshimaru in Singapore. Then I headed to the destination spot for Ramen pilgrimage (technically speaking ramen came from China but just bear with me for the sake of this review), Hakata.
I tried a bunch of Hakata-styled ramen in Hakata itself. Despite all the legends and myths of ramen gods and divine stock, the ramen were only slightly better than the rest of Japan. The bulk of the restaurants source their noodles from the same source, which you can obtain from the Hakata souvenir stores yourself, so the noodles are largely the same. The differentiating factor lay in all the slight twists in soup flavour and pork. These were some serious, hardcore, awesome flavours, ranging from milky to peanut buttery to tinges of sourness. After going through the tasting and expectations, I came to realise none had the soup stock I liked best, all the way back home at Tanjong Pagar.
If the ramen capital of Japan has nothing comparable (close fight though) to this Tonkotsu King in Singapore, I doubt the world would have anything even near its standards. HOWEVER, Japan ramen were pretty much all under S$10, we're being ripped off. WORLD'S BEST COMES WITH A PRICE.
In conclusion, if you don't like the ramen here, go away. To some other dimension or universe.
Personally I prefer the Black Spicy mixed with copious amounts of pickled tao geh, but now that I'm older and my stomach sucks a**, I'll have to settle with the normal option. :(
See other reviews at http://thehungrybunnie.blogspot.com
Having dined at 4 of their branches (Keisuke Tori King, Keisuke Tonkotsu King Four Seasons, Keisuke Tokyo, and Gyoza King), we thought it high time to visit the mothership where it all started.
1) Black Spicy Tonkotsu King ($11.80) with Flavoured Egg ($2): so thick the broth was practically viscous. I couldn't finish this, it was terribly cloying. I should have ticked the 'light' option for the soup base, this needed to be watered down to half its viscosity.
2) Red Spicy Tonkotsu King ($11.80) with the option of Special Topping ($4) comprising a flavoured egg, seaweed, and stewed pork: just as stodgy. And the pork needed more flavour and stewing time.
The best part of the meal was free: the marinated beansprouts that were totally refreshing, lightly spiced and delicious