Ion Orchard's basement food hall is basically flooded with new brands. From full-fledged restaurants to snack counters, most of them are noticably Japanese-themed. For my first venture, I had ramen at Men-Ya Kaiko.
This was one of those micro-restaurants lined along with snack counters but had a seating area at the back. The 1st time I walked past it, the chefs were conversing in Japanese so hey, that should be authenthic right? (Stereotyping, I know) So I took a further look through their open-kitchen concept and it sure looked promising! Apparently, they hail from Hokkaido and had several branches in the area, specialising in miso-based ramen.
Usually I didn't comment on such things but this was really wierd. It looked like green tea, but tasted like plain water? I had no idea if it was way too diluted or simply just added with colouring, but definitely not something that I would prefer.
Hard-boiled Egg ($1.00)
I was fairly disappointed with this. It would pass as a normal hard boiled egg but failed to retain the special texture of runny york and solid white that the Japanese were well-known for. Just a tad too long in the boiling water perhaps?
Hokkaido Kaiko Ramen ($12.00)
Having chose a soy sauce based soup, it had a distinct flavour of its origin. But it felt more salty after time and you realised that its really of soy sauce and almost nothing else. It came with a single slice of char siew that was slightly harden and tough in texture, as well as bamboo shoots and vegetables. If you are a fan of soy sauce soup, this should be it for you.
Pork Ramen ($16.80)
We chose white miso for this, and I was expecting the milky white pork bone type. Nope, that didnt come, just a rich miso flavour, thats about it. Then again, I had to give commendation to the noodles. Yellowish and translucent like, it was springy and chewy, giving u that "slurp" factor as it danced on your tongue. There were two large slices of pork with a flour coating to it, lightly grilled before served with the noodles. Fatteningly tender, it was my style of pork!
Total price for two was about $35 after taxes, rather expensive when you considered that these were carte orders but after all, maybe more than half of that money went into the hefty rental already. I would say that the noodles were worth a try but the soup was rather for, purists? A set meal from Santouka would probably fall in the same price range, with a personal preference for its better soup and side dishes. And oh, crystal clear water too.