The style of Ramen that is commonly enjoyed in the central part of Japan around Tokyo and Yokohama region is the one with a clear seafood and chicken stock. I have been looking around for a good place in Singapore to enjoy this style of Ramen and I think I found a really good bowl right here at Men Tei. This looks like just another bowl of Ramen, but don’t be fooled by the clear unassuming soup because this a soup as sophisticated as any French Comsomme and strikes such a perfect balance that your taste buds will sing in resonance to its tune.
If you ever peer behind the counter of any Ramen-ya, you will notice that the Japanese do one thing very different from what our hawkers do here. At any hawker stall, you will see one vat of soup stock boiling away. But at a Ramen-ya, there can be two or three different cauldrons of boiling goodness. For example, if you order the Shio here, they would use one stock, add some sea salt and use a whisk to mix it, then add the soup stock from another pot to constitute the soup. For the Shio, they mix a chicken and a fish stock together, then after putting the noodles in, they add this fragrant oil which has been flavoured with leeks and Japanese dried shrimps which gives the soup its complexity of flavours.
Noodles made fresh everyday
Men Tei prides itself for making their own noodles in house. If you visit the restaurant just after the lunch crowd, you can catch a glimpse of the noodle machine just behind the counter. This little machine, which is about the size of a small desk does everything from mixing and kneading the dough, to rolling it out and cutting it. I would really like to see one of our own Bak Chor Mee stalls do this! Don’t you think it would be great to have homemade noodles with thinly sliced Pork Belly lightly blanched in a Mee Kia Soup?
The noodles here are a little different from most places. They make them fresh everyday and they make a point of not adding the Kansui (alkali water). That means that the noodles are not as QQ as elsewhere and has more of a toothy, tender bite, more like fresh pasta.
Tonkotsu Ramen $14
The Tonkotsu here is alright but this soup is missing something that day. I felt that it lacked the richness and punch of the Tonkotsu broth of the other Ramen-yas. The Charshu though is one of the better ones around. They use a belly pork roll, so the meat is tender and juicy and the texture is very good.
Shio Ramen: Noodles 4.25/5, Soup 4.6/5, Charshu 4.25/5
Tonkotsu Ramen: Noodles 4.25/5, Soup 4/5, Charshu 4.25/5
This is the best place to have Tokyo/Yokohama style Ramen. I was told that the Japanese patrons order their noodles extra firm here which is what I shall do the next time I visit because I felt that the noodles could do with extra bite.
Making Noodles at Men Tei