Best Ramen in Singapore Contender #2: Tampopo: A Tale of Two Ramens

Hokkaido Style Ramen

According to the hungrygowhere Top 10 site, Tampopo seems poised to be voted the top Ramen in Singapore, followed by Santouka, Ippudo, Yoshimaru and Sapporo Miharu.  It seems like no one voted for Yu Sai Shoku and Hakan Nihon Ryori, so I will probably drop them from my must eat list unless some readers really insist that they should be blogged. So what do you think of the results so far?

Tampopo has been around for a while so understandably, they have built up their reputation and have many fans.  It is an Izakaya style restaurant rather than a dedicated Ramen-ya like many of the new Ramen restaurants opening up in Singapore. If you can't decide if you want to head up north to Hokkaido for its curly noodles or down south to Kysshu for the Tonkotsu broth, then Tampopo might be the place to go, because they serve both.

Its amazing that Tampopo managed to get so many votes, even though it is not a dedicated Ramen-ya. They basically have two styles of Ramen and variations on these.  Hokkaido style Ramen is characterised by buttered corn, a clear soy sauce and seafood based soup with curly yellow noodles.  I don't quite enjoy the Hokkaido style soup base, but the imported yellow noodles were fragrant and QQ with no smell of the kansui (alkali). The best part of this bowl of Ramen though, is the Charshu which has that melt in your mouth texture and roasted caramalised soysauce flavour.  

The more popular Kyushu style ramen typically uses the straight thin noodles and thick Tonkotsu broth.  When describing broth, the Japanese use the word kotteri which basically describes a soup which is really thick and rich with bits of fat and protein precipitates in the soup.  The soup here is not kotteri, but it is quite pleasant and light enough for you to finish the bowl.  However, I felt that it was more salty than it is umami.  ie it was salty but it lacked a certain depth and complexity in flavour.

Hakata style noodles

It is said that the Kyushu style noodles are straight and thin because with the thick Tonkotsu broth, you don't really need the curls to hold the soup onto the noodles.  What you want are thin straight noodles which you can slurp into your mouth quickly while carrying enough of the rich broth to excite your palate. The Kyshu style noodles are good but not as special as the curly ones.  It really is too bad you can't order curly yellow noodles with the Tonkotsu broth.  For that, you would have to look for the Asahikawa style Ramen which will be featured in an upcoming post.


There are many other flavours here which we did not try like the very popular Kurobuta Shabu Ramen.  I chose the basic two versions to get a sense of the noodles and soup base. I think that Tampopo gives you a very good bowl of Ramen with an outstanding Charshu but with new Ramen players in town, they will need to work hard to keep ahead of the pack.

Tampopo is currently having a promotion with Standard Chartered Credit/Debit Card at their Takashimaya branch, so you can enjoy a further 10% discount in addition to the 15% cashback! That means your $13 Ramen is effectively about $10 which makes it probably the best value Ramen in Singapore for the moment!

Hokkaido Style:  Noodles:  4.5/5 | Soup 3.5/5 
Kyushu Style: Noodles: 4/5 | Soup: 4.25/5
Chashu:  4.5/5

177 River Valley Road
Liang Court Shopping Centre, #B1-50
Telephone: 6338-3186

391 Orchard Road
B2-33 Takashimaya Shopping Centre
Tel:  62352318

Check out the Ramen Map of Japan at Rameniac!

The Bank's biggest dining promotion is back again till 16 June. This means you can enjoy 15% CashBack on any meal, in any restaurant, at anytime, anywhere is Singapore! So charge your meal to your Standard Chartered Credit/Debit card to enjoy 15% CashBack at all Ramen joints from now till 16 June and another 10% to 15% off (almost 30% off) at selected merchants!  SMS GET15[space]card number to 78722 to register for this promotion!

The list of the Hungrygowhere Top 10 ramens can be found at the Hungrygowhere website. Voting is ongoing now for the 10 best ramens so you might want to cast your vote too!

I shall be keeping an eye on the the voting in order to make sure that I blog at least the top five.

This project is sponsored by Standard Chartered.  You can find out more about their excellent dining promotions at -


Le Marque said...

I think what's good about tampopo is the kurobuta tonkatsu!

Jyoan said...

Hmmm, somehow from this post, it doesn't seems as tempting as people made it out to be. Now I wonder if this will be another disappointment for me. Sigh.

Plebeian Plathian said...

Hi Leslie, I would like to propose you try Marutama Ramen at Central / Liang Court. Ramen purists may have their reservations about this, but this ramen is thin and slightly curly and served with chicken stock instead of the usual pork broth. The egg is delish and very superior (it never disappoints), and the spicy version packs a hidden kick because they use the spice from jalepeno peppers so everything looks ordinary till you taste it. It is a pity that Marutama did not appear in the list of ramen!

ieat said...

Yes I have been there and taken photos already. It will appear as part of the ten ramens I am blogging because many people have told me they like it.

Michell said...

I just went to Tampopo at Takashimaya for their Kyushu ramen. I think it was just normal. No kick whatsoever. Luckily, there is the StanChart promotion.

uLi.佑莉 said...


Anonymous said...

There was a time when I was so crazy with Tampopo that I pop by the branch at Liang Court once or twice a week to eat. Nowadays I am a bit jaded already.

Anonymous said...

if it isnt pork it isnt ramen

grazingrace said...

Hi Dr Tay, what a fantastic journey! I wish I could join in this quest as I lurrrvveee Ramen too (but I'm now based in the UK...)

I've embarked on my own ramen quest in Japan since 2008. Last year, I went on a Kyushu quest - and can I just share my fav ramen style with you - KUMAMOTO ramen!?

I'm not sure if they have this in Singapore, read on the papers that it was here on a Japan fair for a short period of time, and Ajisen is supposedly Kumamoto? (Personally I dont really fancy Ajisen...)

Anyway, here's my post about it... hopefully it will intro more people to Kumamoto Ramen!

AbS0lutz said...

Personally, i've tried Tampopo's ramen and i've always felt its just a better version of Sakae sushi. Nothing much to shout about for the ramen over there...

Can't wait to see your reviews of Santouka and Baikohken as they rank higher up on my fav list ;)

Jyoan said...

I hate to say this, but in my opinion, Tampopo ramen = Fail. If you say Tampopo instant noodles, mian2 qiang3 pass.

Ordered the Black Pig Ramen with Dragon Ball. I know, that dragon ball obviously sounds like a gimmick. But first time go, just try.

Well, it is a gimmick. Forget the dragon ball, more like some ways to get rid of pig parts they don't want.

First taste of the soup immediately reminds me of instant noodles. Subsequent taste of the soup reminds me of instant noodles soup in which you have added too much of that packet of seasoning.

Noodles not Q. Fail as a restaurant.

The pork was served in slices, more like minced meat. But I think that is pretty good. Soft. I was searching the bowl all over to make sure I didn't leave any behind.

Also ate salmon sushi. Normal. Meat portion huge, rice small = looks good. Rice not vinegar-y sweet. Do appreciate they use short grain. But I am pretty sure it's not true true zhen zhu mi (I don't expect that in Singapore anymore.)

Salmon not very fresh. Not soft enough.

Red bean ice cream is commendable though. I don't mind going in just to sit down and chit chat eat green tea ice cream.

Tried light cheese chiffon cake. Well, nothing to say. It is as the name suggests... So can't expect much.

Green tea got fragrance, but tastes like plain water.

Service quite good.

Ramen = Fail (I cook maggie mee better).
Overall food = okay.
Overall experience = Okay. In the area can go back to try the rice, but not ramen.

ieat said...

Wha lao, I really pity your boyfriend or future husband! Not easy to please!

grazingrace said...

I think Tampopo tasted the best when it was hidden away at Liang Court Meidi-ya's basement :)

Jyoan said...

lol. I don't complain when it's normal lunch or dinner. Just give me a cup of warm water and normal yong tau foo will do. In fact that's basically what I eat every meal. Throw all the vege in and boil. For flavour, just throw in an egg as well. Or can last minute throw a slice of cheese on the hot soup. =) No food I eat wholemeal bread with cheese spread, drink Nestum. Snack eat any fruit that day on discount in supermarket.

Quite different when going with the intention to review.

If it's good, it's good. If it's no good, it's no good. =) Real gold will stand the test of fire. Like Ippudo and Menya Shinchan.

Anonymous said...

I really like the one at B1 of Meidi-ya, previously Tampopo - Ichibantei. Tonkotsu soup base with noodles that are QQ.

Sabrina said...

went tampopo last friday. the shabu ramen is substandard, the service staff couldn't speak a word of english and gave ambiguous recommendations in chinesem, "this has better soup, this has better noodles". what?! the braised egg was tough, the yolk has hardened, it was badly peeled (you can actually see the fingernail imprints) and served on a discoloured, yellowish old chinese restaurant soy sauce dish. bad food, bad service. never going back again.

Jyoan said...

egg has fingernail prints? =( Don't make me paranoid... Now I feel like checking all my eggs in future.

Anonymous said...

I am one of those who used to adore Tampopo Ramen in its basement days... I would specially bring my friends & family to eat there. Their Shoyu Ramen, in my opinion was the best I've eaten ever. My friends also loved the black pork ramen (spicy/non spicy).

Unfortunately, towards the end of its stay at B1, the standard of their ramen dropped and Shoyu Ramen was never the same again :( After they moved to Level 1, the Shoyu Ramen standard has improved a bit, but it's never the same again.

Anonymous said...

I've tried the shoyu ramen before and I must say it's really nothing to shout about. In fact I went upstairs for another round at marutama because it just wasnt good enough, for me.

Anonymous said...

Can I say that the Tampopo Ramen shop in The Central is the WORST ever restaurant that I have ever been too. The ramen is substandard. The staff knows nothing about the food the shop is selling. AND the service is terrible! They came to our table 10 + times, trying to grab our UNFINISHED dishes in a attempt to chase us out of the restaurant. First of all it's basic courtesy to AT LEAST ASK if the person is finished with the food, and not just snatch it away. The reason why i'm paying $$$ is to have a nice dinner and enjoy quality time with my friends in a nice environment. If I wanted a QUICK dinner, I could have gone to kopitiam can! You DO NOT CHASE your customers out, just because you want to clear more empty tables.

I am definitely not returning back to Tampopo Ramen and in fact urge ALL OF YOU guys to BOYCOTT THEM.

Andy Loh said...

Where to find ramen in clear soups (shoyu)?


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