Having been to Ramen Museum in Yokohama and kicking myself for not attempting all they had to offer. Afterall I was already in the land of best ramen and only attempting one stall was unforgivable...even on hindsight.
Posters all over.
I was delighted to know that there was a Ramen Challenge going on in the country! Until June 2012 before the winner is declared and is invited to join the likes of Ippudo, Nantsutei, Marutama, Santouka, Yoshimaru and Baikohken for a slurp of the ramen bowl.
Make your order and either queue or come back later.
Cha Shu, Garlic, Beansprouts, Cabbage
Fit for a man, literally with portions like these. The noodles are made from bread flour and are thicker and flatter than the usual ramen I'm familiar with - almost like flat yellow noodle that is used in dark Hokkien mee. The seemingly oily broth is actually very light tasting, not overpowering in miso nor flavouring. Fact is, it complimented the noodle well such that there was nary the dreaded alkaline taste. Strangely or not, when I dipped Tetsu's noodle in the broth, the alkaline taste was evident.
The chashu from Bario was much like pork belly, more fat than meat and lacking in char.
Only the ravenous need apply for Bario.
Very Rich! Special Paitan Tsukemen
Pork, seafood and chicken broth
I was most looking forward to Tetsu since their version of ramen came with a dipping sauce - almost like eating cha soba with sauce. What is amazing about the broth is, while it is too thick and salty to savour by the spoonful but it went so perfectly well with the springy noodles. Loved the rich flavours of the broth, instead of the usual pork bone soup...here's one packed with pork, seafood and chicken! Would have preferred if the noodles were piping hot but these were served lukewarm. The flavoured boiled egg was atad overcooked as well, missing out on the gorgeous orange.
Chashu for Tetsu was least inspiring - lacking in taste.
Big Fried Chicken ($5 for 3)
Thick juicy fried chicken chunks, perfect with beer!
Menya Iroha (Tokyo)
For consecutively two years, Menya Iroha has been Champs in Tokyo.
Chashu, Bamboo Shoot, Leeks, Egg
This was the most ordinary tasting of the lot, homemade and reminiscent of instant noodles. Could be the shoyu-based That being said, the egg was the most ideal - solid on the outside and daffodil orange in the center.
Liked the chashu here though still miles away from that memorable bowl in Kyoto.
Traces of Japan via Qoo, so very deliberate but it was the cutest drink there! I thought they would have stocked up on their Calpis Soda at least!
No doubt it is a Ramen Challenge, I was actually itching for a sweet finish thereafter. Cannot wait to try the remaining three contenders!
The Ultimate Ramen Challenge