A new contender for Ultimate Ramen Champion 2012! (You may see a review of the current contenders in this review.) Keishoken is one of the most celebrated ramen restaurants in Gunma Prefecture. The general rule for food is the colder the climate, the more extreme the cuisine is. Which is why Keishoken’s ramen is less salty, oily and thick than Hokkaido’s ramen.
We tried three different flavors: white ramen (pork broth, $10.50); red ramen (chili, $11.50), and black ramen ($11.50). Each bowl comes with black fungus, spring onions, seaweed and a slice of pork. The noodles are done past al dente, which makes it soft (my preferred style of noodles). The texture of the noodles contrasts with that of the pork, which is rather lean and tough but healthy. (I think the weakest part of Keishoken is the pork. Most Singaporeans like that melt-in-the-mouth pork?) Like the light broth, the flavored egg ($2) is lightly flavored and the yolk is done in a perfect molten state.
The pork broth of the White Ramen tastes very local, like a pleasant sweeter version of wan-ton mee soup. The Red Ramen too tastes local, almost like laska without coconut milk and with a tinge of assam.
The favorite of the night goes to the black ramen. It isn’t black pepper but we couldn’t decipher what the secret ingredient is, being complex but pleasing to the palate. The abundant black fungus adds a good crunch to the soft noodles and the excessive crumbs of garlic, enough to kill a vampire, are super shiok.
If you don’t like the thick, greasy, overly flavorful ramen, Keishoken is definitely your cup of ramen. After finishing the food, we didn’t have the jerlat overeating feeling that is often associated with ramen. When we were there, there was a promotion going for only $8 a bowl!!! Super value-for-money! Where can you find ramen at that price? We were contented after the meal.
Keishoken @ Ultimate Ramen Champion
Rating: 3.518/5 stars
PS: Thank you, Darren and Prue, for arranging the tasting.