It's probably considered sacrilegious to worshippers of the house of ramen to mention this, but I have to confess that I don't like tonkotsu broths. I've always preferred my ramen delicate and light, i.e. broths of the clear chicken-based varieties. What can I say, I've got Teochew and Cantonese blood coursing through my veins, so I tend towards the muted and subtle.
So, when I had a craving for something soupy and light, we made a beeline for the Tokyo-style ramen at Daikokuya Ramen Dining, the casual Japanese eatery in the food basement of Paragon. Despite its seemingly deserted premises, the Paragon branch is apparently one of many littered around our island. And the ramen here is surprisingly good. The noodles stay springy to the very last mouthful and the broths have depth of flavour without being cloying or saccharine.
The Hubs, who loves all things spicy, ordered the Assari Spicy Miso Ramen ($13.80) with additional helpings of Sweet Corn ($1) and Ajitsuka Tamago ($2). This was scrumptious to the last drop, with a wonderful balance of the sweet, spicy and salty. The softly boiled soy eggs were faultless, corn kernels sweet and crunchy, and tender bamboo shoots retained a delightful bit of bite. My only grouse was the lackluster cha shu, as these were both a smidgen tough and plain.
I got the Mini Assari Shio Ramen ($8.90), also with additional corn nibblets and a soy egg, was perfectly portioned for those not particularly ravenous. What I loved about this was the soup, very light, very nuanced. I didn't think anything could detract me from Men-Tei's awesome shio ramen, but Daikokuya's rendition definitely made for a worthy competitor.
The Chicken Karaage ($8.90), was ah-mazing, as they'd seasoned the succulent chicken chunks in a KFC-esque spice marinade. Aromatic and just as finger-licking good as it smelled. A real accidental gem of a find.
The Edamame ($4.80), while ordinary, was served warm, a very much appreciated touch.
Daikokuya Ramen Dining
290 Orchard Road
Tel: 6737 5416
Open daily from 11.30am to 10.30pm