Marutama Ramen, Singapore
It's about time that some more shops opened at the Central! While the majority of units are still boarded up, at least a few more Japanese places have opened up, including this apparent transplant from Saitama called Marutama (6 Eu Tong Sen Street #03-90, 6534-8090). They did a lot of things differently here. Rather than the usual shio, shoyu, miso, and tonkotsu broths, these guys largely offered a chicken-based one that admittedly I wasn't a huge fan of, despite the heavy shot of oil and salt that they loaded into it.
What did get me really excited though was the aka ramen, whose rich broth is apparently brewed from seven different kinds of nuts (really??). More importantly, the noodles here were surprisingly thin (in a good way), reminding me a bit of Cantonese egg noodles. And how many times have you ever received a bowl of ramen topped with not the usual chasyu, menma, and negi, but rather cilantro, some kind of fishballs, and even a squeeze of lemon (yes, lemon). This mildly tangy yet rich concoction totally rocked, even before topping with a sprinkle of the garlic chips that they kept on the table. Yum.
This was also my first exposure to the concept of kaedama, which basically is a means for you to order a refill of noodles for just S$1 (US$0.65). The condition is that you must have some broth remaining in your bowl, presumably since that is what gives the noodles some flavor. Even then, they were accompanied by some salty sauce and even chili pepper flakes on the side. It's too bad that I couldn't rave as much about the chicken-based one though (it was fine, but I guess that I just don't like chicken that much). In the meantime, I'll probably focus my attention on that aka ramen...I'm still salivating over it.