We visited 3 ramen restaurants: Burosu Honten at Emporium Shokuhin Marina Square; Buta God at Ramen Champion; Xin Hao Ramen at Bugis Cube. I gave one of them 0/10 but another one is surprisingly good.
ps: in case you didn’t get the pun, “yen” means yearning or Japanese dollars (because ramen is Japanese).
Burosu Honten Ramen @ Emporium Shokuhin
6 Raffles Avenue #01-18 Marina Square, Singapore 039594
T: +65 6224 3433
11.30am – 10pm
Burosu Honten occupies a small space within the Japanese supermarket, Emporium Shokuhin at Marina Square. It’s cute that they serve the food through a small window by the side of the bench.
The signature ramen ($18.80) costs slightly more than elsewhere, and it isn’t clear what the bowl consists. Apparently, there is no egg! Where got ramen no egg one? I added an egg ($1.50) and a piece of seaweed nori ($1). In the end, with a green tea ($2), it amounted to $23.30, about 15% more expensive than other ramens.
The broth is superb with an intense and sweet aroma of prawn. But unfortunately, the pork is cold and hard. Overall: Not bad.
Decor/ Ambience: 6.5/10
Overall rating: 3.094/5
Buta God 豚ゴッド
201 Victoria Street, Bugis+ 4F, Ramen Champion, Singapore 188607
T: +65 6238 1011
11am – 10pm
Buta God at Bugis+ won the most popular ramen among the stalls at Ramen Champion in 2013. But unfortunately, this bowl of $20 ramen is more distasteful than Kanye West’s outburst against Taylor Swift. #taytayforever
The broth is overly sweet—did they add sugar?—and overly thick that it’s more like gravy than broth. The char siew is extremely tough but on the bright side, it’s a gym workout to chisel my jaws.
I hate wasting food but I drank two mouthfuls and pushed the bowl away. Urgh.
Service: NA (self service)
Overall rating: 2.083/5
Xin Hao Ramen 新号
470 North Bridge Road #03-19 Bugis Cube, Singapore 188735
11.30am-9pm, closed Sun
I read that Xin Hao Ramen, opened by 3 Singaporeans, is Singapore-styled before I went so I expected it to be bad. But I was wrong.
Both broths from miso ramen ($11, above) and spicy miso ramen ($11.50, below) are thick with collagen, and will coagulate when left alone for 30 seconds. Ramen should be like Xin Hao’s version: strongly flavored, fully fat, but still viscous enough to sip. If you want something light, go eat fish soup at hawker. Why bother to eat ramen?
They serve two types of pork here: the fatty and the lean. The pork isn’t melt-in-your-mouth tender but I like it a lot. It’s well marinated and there is a nice bite.
My only complaint is the noodles are so little!
Grilled Pork Don
Xin Hao Ramen should be very popular: it’s the cheapest and best ramen in Bugis. Unfortunately, there are a few factors working against the shop.
Firstly, the shopping mall doesn’t have good traffic flow. Furthermore, the 3 bosses are new hands at running F&B business. You can tell from the name of the shop. Xin Hao ramen reminds people of the Korean instant noodles, Xin ramen 辛, and the Chinese name reminds people of la mian 拉面, so even before stepping into the shop, patrons will think it’s not authentic, not nice.
Lastly, you can tell how new the bosses are by their Valentine’s Day marketing. It’s very smart to have a Bro-lentine, a set for 2, for singles. But the photo shows only a bowl of ramen, and not the entire set for 2 (ramen, don, and other sides). So people mistake it’s expensive.
It will be a steep learning curve for the people at Xin Hao ramen. Food these days isn’t solely about food; it’s about marketing.
But their food is quite good. When I rank all the ramen I’ve eaten, Xin Hao comes in 6th, after Bari Uma, Keisuke Tokyo, Marutama, Gyoza Bar, and Tonkotsu King. In other words, Xin Hao beats many other prestigious ramens that came from Japan to Singapore.
Overall rating: 3.833/5
Written by A. Nathanael Ho.
Full disclosure: We paid for all the food except for Xin Hao Ramen. My friend brought me there, and he is an ex-colleague of Xin Hao’s boss. At the end of the meal, after we made up our minds about the food, when we were paying, the boss rejected our payment. We insisted several times, but the nice boss said no.