Ramen Champion has opened yet another outlet at Great World City. It occupies the spot previously helmed by Ebisboshi Shotengai. There are 4 stores here at Great World City, a smaller outfit compared to the 6 at the Bugis+ branch. but you still get to traverse the Japanese islands with their signature Tokyo, Hakata, and Sapporo variations of ramen. And now that the rainy monsoon season is well upon us, it is most comforting to dig into a steaming hot bowl of soupy noodles.
As with all of my invited tasting reviews, we returned for a revisit with my family, and the food was just as good, if not better, due to the sheer numbers of bloggers attending the mass invited tasting earlier in the week. My and the Hubs' favourite's the pork & vegetable ramen from Miyamoto, while my shoyu-loving littlest brother's pick was the special sukiyaki from Butaou, and my not-so-little brother's choice was the Sapporo Miso from Bishamon Zero. Clearly, there was one ramen to suit each of our peculiar preferences.
Bishamon Zero has the most varieties of side dishes and rice dishes apart from the staple ramen.
We kicked off the tasting with the Okonomiyaki Gyoza, topped with airy bonito flakes and dressed in mayo and sweet tare.
At the revisit, the Okonomiyaki Gyoza ($5.80 for 5 pcs) was well-received for its unique twist of bonito flakes, juicy fillings and chewy skin.
The Mentaiko Gyoza ($5.80 for 5 pcs) is another unique variant, but I didn't quite like the overwhelmingly creamy mentaiko. This is strictly for mentaiko-lovers.
At the revisit, we mistakenly ordered the Original ($4.80) instead (thanks to my dumbass brother), and while it looked a little over done, the burnt ends were delicious in their caramelization.
The Tori Karaage was pretty good, succulent on the inside, crackling crisp on the out.
At the revisit, the littlest mentioned that the Tori Karaage ($4.80) marinade tasted a little like the Colonel's secret recipe spice seasoning, and I quite agree. Little wonder this was so addictive and wolfed down in seconds.
The Sapporo Miso Ramen will please miso lovers, the pork and chicken based broth was sweet and complex.
At the revisit, I loved the combination of toppings in the Sapporo Miso Ramen ($14.80). It had my favourite buttered corn, and awesome bamboo shoots, but the raw garlic was a bit too startling. I would have preferred this sans the sharp bite of raw garlic. The not-so-little brother loved this though. He said the raw garlic gave this a subtle heat and brightness.
Pops wasn't feeling up to ramen, and ordered the Bishamon Curry Rice ($14.50) instead. This was pretty good, with moist, dense meat packed into crisp battered crust, and a mellow peppery and sweet curry sauce.
The Special Tonkotsu Ramen is reminiscent of Chinese mee sua. The broth was the plainest of them all, with thin mee sua-like noodles dunked in a watery milky broth, julienned black fungus, eggs that were 2 seconds too cooked and tender cha shu.
At the revisit, we thought that while the tonkotsu broth was the weakest, the Special Tonkotsu Ramen ($16.50) had the best cha shu. It had that most meltingly tender, sumptuously fatty texture of all 4 ramen shops. Also, the egg was done better this time compared to the fully boiled one at the tasting.
Ah, this was mine and the Hubs' favourite. The Pork & Vegetable Ramen was generously loaded with beansprouts and stewed cabbage, making for a sweet and rich soup base.
At the revisit, I asked them to lay off the garlic from the Pork & Vegetable Ramen ($16). The broth was sweet, having simmered generous amounts of cabbage into the base, and loaded generously with pork cubes and cha shu. A heap of crunchy beansprouts cut through and balanced out the rich sweetness of the stock.
The shoyu-based Special Sukiyaki Ramen balanced the fatty pork belly, marinated sukiyaki-style, and cha shu.
At the revisit, the Special Sukiyaki Ramen ($16) was most favored by the littlest one, a shoyu loyalist. I thought it was a tad too salty. That said, the sukiyaki streaky pork belly was sinfully awesome.
The Spicy Chicken, with a liberal dusting of chilli powder, was surprisingly spicy. My tongue went numb after the first bite, and I was left with a runny nose thereafter.
At the revisit, they'd forgotten to sprinkle chilli powder on the Spicy Chicken ($5 for 3 pcs), which was fine by me. This was decent, if a little forgettable.
Thanks to Malcolm of Ramen Champion & Joanne of Brand Blitz PR for the invite and hosting us all!
1 Kim Seng Promenade
Great World City #01-22
Tel: 6235 1295
Open daily from 11.30am to 10.30pm