|Shoyu ramen (regular size, SGD13.5)|
Nestled snugly in a corner of Takashimaya B2 is Baikohken, a cozy Japanese ramen shop from the Asahikawa Prefecture in Hokkaido. When an overzealous friend described to me the ramen with exaggerated hand flicks and a toss of her hair, I kind of... rolled my eyes. Until I tasted it for myself.
Warning for those with small appetites - there's a reason why there's a half serving size (SGD 10.5 onwards) and a regular size (SGD 13.5 onwards). My female friend and I shared a regular serving size and added one ajitama, that hard-boiled egg you just have to have together with your ramen even when it costs SGD 1.5.
Unlike the strong miso base of Sapporo-style ramen, the shoyu soup base here had a fragrant aroma, thanks to a magical combination of pork and chicken bones, anchovies, kelp and, of course, shoyu. The noodles were curly and springy, and went well with the soup base. The ajitama were superstars on their own, with the familiar semi-runny yolk and white, and a firmer exterior. And nothing tops a wholesome bowl of ramen like tender bamboo shoot and a huge heap of fluffy chopped leek. And Baikohken is really, really generous with its chashu! I didn't taste the chashu, but each regular bowl came with 3 wholesome, palm-sized chashu slices (the half serving had 1 slice, but it was huge nonetheless). When I brought the Hungry Boyfriend there for a second seating, he merrily chomped down 3 +1 slices, on top of a regular serving of shoyu ramen.
Plus I couldn't pick on their service, especially when the cute Japanese chef with the chiseled chin and a slight stubble is taking your order in English with a strong Japanese accent. And he actually served the ramen to us personally on both my visits.
I'll visit Baikohken the third, fourth and fifth time, just to introduce everyone and anyone I know to great ramen. Great place for a meal on the first date, or a girlfriends' corner.
Also reviewed by:
ieatishootipost (nominated as a contender for the Best Ramen in Singapore) (15 May 2010)
yumyumformytumtum (6 May 2010)
Ambience: 3.5/5 (varies according to crowd)
Takashimaya Food Hall B2 #021-4
391 Orchard Road Ngee Ann City
Tel: 6235 3483
7 North Canal Road
Tel: 6534 3808