Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Marutama Ramen, Singapore

Kakuni Ramen

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.

Aka RamenWhat 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.


Anonymous said...

This is not a direct comment to the Ramen but rather today I stumbled on this kebab joint at Peace Centre and I can't wait to tell you. It's called Sultan Kebab, run by Turkish brothers, and it has the best Beef Pita roll I've eaten for a while. Believe they serve only sandwich, roll and two other dishes in either beef or chicken. Check it out if you can find the time. Opens from 11am until the meat runs out in the evening

Anonymous said...

Hey I was about to leave you a note about this place but you found it first! I thought you might like the noodles coz it's pretty similar to the type you liked at Mak's.

The owner was there the day I popped by and he explained that he was very passionate about the soup stock being made from chicken unlike the usual pork or shoyu.

Did you like the seaweed topping?

I'm going for the fishball (or is it prawn?) next time!

There's a shop in the same building serving "black pig" tonkatsu. Wonder if it's any good.

Chubbypanda said...

I've never heard of ramen made with nuts. You've got me drooling too.

bma said...

The interesting thing is that it's not like it tasted like ground up Planters or anything nutty like that. It was still a salty ramen broth, but a bit rich like tonkotsu (and in this case, a bit tangy, especially after that squeeze of the lemon).

For the black pig place, I've tried their other location over at Liang Court, and had a good time.

And yes, Sultan Kebab is decent too.

Anonymous said...

just went to Marutama today.
The boss/waiters seem to be all japanese, so quite authentic.

Have to say the chicken-based ramen tasted extremely strongly of chicken, (did they put chicken essence into the thing?!) You can even smell the chicken soup outside the shop. My mum loved this. But i thought it was abit weird to me.

The seven-nuts one was good though. It comes with fishballs indeed, which tasted rough and home-made, but i thought i would have enjoyed it better if i had added chasyu.


Anonymous said...

Visited Marutama last night. I am not a great fan of chicken soup ramen too... And i think S$12 for a simple bowl of chicken soup based ramen (with only 1 piece of meat) is too expensive. I would still prefer nanten. Will try the Aka Ramen next time.

Have you tried other restaurants like the "Sho-u" (correct?)at The Central?

Anonymous said...

Been following your blog on and off for a while now, and I have to say, GOOD JOB! I don't always agree with your POVs, but hey! taste is after all subjective and personal.

Anyway, I'm kinda addicted to the Ramen at this place, but it's a little pricey for a bowl of noodles...

Anonymous said...

I must say you have a nice blog but your recommendations for ramen are the 'crappiest'. I don't blame you-you don't know the standard for Asian noodles.

Anonymous said...

tried this place tonight and thought utterly cheated From food to service and by so called food bloggers aspecially that chubbly hubbly bloke , i swear he is being paid to write good stuff..
but you my man, you are getting warmer ..

omaritosan said...

First time today to eat here..... quite okay.... not that kind of ramen iv eaten in shibuya japan which i am missing....

Anonymous said...

There are many types of ramen and most people poo-poo this one just because these are not as commonly available here. Personally I think this joint serves good quality noodle in just the right texture and the broth tasty. The price is on the expensive side, especially with only 1 thin slice of pork. It is however, one of the better ramen joints in Singapore.

Anonymous said...

I think the expensive price is because of the good quality of their soup base. The effort that the chef have put in for boiling the soup base and their handmade noodle really worth the price.

Edwin said...

The ramen at marutama simply rocks. You should try the Aka tamago (Aka ramen with egg) there too, the side dishes too. They simply simply taste heavenly. The price is a little at the high side, but I dare say that every cent spent is worth.

Noodles in marutama are handmade in a tiny workspace behind its kitchen, which assures its fresheness. There is also a lot of skill involved in the preparation of some side dishes you see in the menu.

I am a regular customer there. Contrary to poplular belief, not all the workers there are japanese. There are people from china, Myanmar and obviously Singapore manning the shop, but this is not a cause for concern. The boss of marutama is trained in Japan in culinery and his many staff are well rotated and trained before you see them in the kitchen preparing the food.

Service wise, there is not much I can say. The staff are frindly and yes, they smile and they are not overly vivacious like the normal japanese joint where the lady outside keeps trying to pick you in. On occasions, you may have to queue a little, and considering the immense popularity of the marutama ramen, there is a possibility of them selling-out even at 8 PM or so, its best to queue up early if you want a bowl of this fantastic broth.

I guess this comment is sufficiently long. But this hardly illustrates the awesomeness of the ramen (esp the aka ramen) sold there. You must try it out at marutama someday!

There are two branches now though, one at Central and another at Liang Court.Visit Marutama soon!