We were invited but rejected the tasting at Kanada-ya at PLQ Paya Lebar because we wanted to pay an anonymous visit to write an honest review.
The ramen shop has a funny origin. Kanada-san was a professional keirin (brake-free bicycle) racer until a serious shoulder injury ended his athletic career. So he pursued his second love, ramen.
The autodidactic owner experimented with ramen recipes for a year before opening his first shop in Yukuhashi, Fukuoka in 2009. Now there are 13 outlets worldwide including London, Hong Kong, and Barcelona. PLQ outlet is the ramen chain’s first venture into Singapore.
There are several flavours of ramen to choose from but, with the exception of the 100% chicken broth based ramen (chicken paitan ramen), all other ramens uses the tonkotsu pork bone broth as a base.
The pork broth is boiled for 18 hours and then added with a secret sauce, handmade by Kanada-san, in the original shop at Yukuhashi, Japan. Then, it is imported to Singapore. Is the secret sauce called MSG? Haha, just kidding.
Ramens start from about $15 (as do the ricebowl dons). Each ramen comes in basic, regular, or special, differing in the number of chashu and the quality of ingredients. You can further customise them by whether you want your ramen to be al dente, hard, or soft; and your soup to be oilier or less oily.
They say they serve only 20 bowls of truffle ramen ($24.90 for regular) a day. I call on their bullshit. I was there for dinner and still managed to score a bowl. Their marketing is to get people to order the truffle ramen which is about 1/3 more expensive than other flavours.
With the basic tonkotsu broth as a base, they add black truffle oil and black truffle paste. For the regular bowl we ordered, there are 2 slices of chashu, 2 stalks of asparagus, 1 hanjuku egg, and 1 piece of nori.
I can see why the truffle ramen is voted #1 in London. It’s a familiar flavour to white people. It’s heady, you smell it before it arrives at your table. And the truffle lightens and undercuts the heaviness of tonkatsu broth, making it easily to drink. Quite good.
The Kotteri tonkotsu ramen ($18.90 for special) is their original flavour: original tonkotsu broth without any addition. For the special, it has 4 slices of belly chashu, wood ear fungus, spring onion, hanjuku egg and 1 piece of tokudai nori.
Drinking the broth in its original flavour, there is a mild porky gamy taste. Not pleasant but I can do without it. The chashu, my dining companion complained, is too thin. And strangely the egg here is saltier than the egg in truffle ramen, perhaps crying out on a consistency issue.
There is also an interesting spicy yuzu ramen, which we didn’t try. It combines the tonkatsu broth with chicken broth, mixed with yuzu miso and spicy miso paste.
For the sides, I usually would order oyster age (fried oyster) when I see it on the menu. They import oysters from Japan. But the menu recommends the Japanese fried chicken, kaarage ($6.90). No regrets. This is fantastic kaarage: earthy taste, crispy, and so juicy. In fact, it’s so outstanding that I think it eclipses their ramen. It must have been one of the best kaarage I have eaten recently.
This is a satisfactory meal. The ramen is good. Not my top 5 favourite ramen shops in Singapore. But good enough to sate any ramen cravings. We paid $61 for two persons.
PLQ Mall Paya Lebar Quarter #03-30, 10 Paya Lebar Road, Singapore 409057
Tel: +65 6966 0505
11am – 10pm daily
You may be interested in…
–Seizan Uni Ramen @ Picnic Food Park, Wisma Atria: They Use Spring Water from Mt Fuji to Make This Ramen!
–Menya Kokoro, 100 AM, Tanjong Pagar: First Mala Mazesoba and Ramen in Singapore
–Ra Ra Men Men Men, Want Your Bad Ramence: Kajiken, Ramen Keisuke Kani King, and Sō Ramen
–Jimoto Ya, China Square Central: Hokkaido Ebi-Tonkatsu Ramen Created by Michelin-Starred Chef Nobumasa Mieda
Written by Dr. A. Nathanael Ho.