Saturday, 28 September 2013

Mia's Review: Kaixo

Middle of this month, I successfully planned a surprise birthday celebration for J at Kaixo by gathering all the girlies at a rather short notice. And yup, J and I settled for Kaixo because somehow we were having the same craving for Churros and Paella. Plus, Kaixo is just one street away from her workplace. So I guess, why not? :)

 Menu can be found here without pricing. 

In case you're unfamiliar, Kaixo is a Spanish restaurant that offers mainly cuisine influenced by the Basque region (Northern Spain) and their dishes are generally tapas. 

We didn't even wait for J to confirm our order (because if there were only J and me, we only need to order Paella and Churros) and we went ahead to get a black paella for 2 and risotto off the main menu to share. We also ordered a Kurobuta (black pork) Pork Collar with Pisto Bilbaina and Raxor Clams in sauce Vierge off their special menu. Not forgetting two servings of Churros with hot chocolate dip! 



Just showing the interior of the small restaurant and the cute candle table lamp! 

Ginger Ale - $4.50

The difference between Ginger Ale and Ginger Beer is that Ale is more dry as compared to Beer, that's all (as according to the server). And as per their explanation, this glass of ginger ale is a mixture of slight sweetness, tangy-ness of the lemon, a pleasant subtle spiciness of the ginger and the distinctive dryness of the ale. Coming from someone who enjoys a can of Asahi Super Dry from time to time, this $4.50 is a well spent. :)

Razor Clams - $16

I can see that the rest of the girls has the exact same "Huh!" look that was on my face when the dish was served. We've all overestimated the servings of tapas. It seems that there really is just ONE clam's serving in this dish. (Yikes!)
The clams were cooked to an extremely chewy texture, yet not 'rubbery' at all. You can guess from the generous amount of chopped tomatoes that they tasted sour, pleasantly sour, and makes a very good appetizer course. The only thing bad about this for me was, why so little? :(

Kurobuta Pork Collar - $18

Looks like beef, eh? But it's really pork collar! 

The pork is cooked to amazing tenderness, yet still has the chewy texture that gives the meat a very good bite. Every bite is flavourful and savoury with a hint of spices, brilliant. I'm not going to deny that I'm really not a fan of pork, but this is good! 

Risotto (Creamy Bomba Rice with Mushrooms & Peas) - $18

I shan't deny that I got pretty turned off when this was served. Look at the amount of peas! When I dug my spoon in, I was further turned off because it seemed extremely mushy and gooey. Alright, by now you should know I was never a fan of risotto.... But my views changed upon the first bite. Although it seems mushy and gooey, the rice were actually still pretty hard, which added on a very distinctively bite and gave a great contrast to the gooey cream sauce the rice was generously drenched in. Very creamy, with a subtle savoury flavour to it. I've carefully avoided all the peas so please don't ask me how they tasted, yeah? And erm, because a small serving for 1 was actually shared among the 6 of us, I didn't manage to fish out any piece of mushroom. However tasty, I can forsee myself being unable to finish even the small serving due to the creaminess of the dish. I'm not exactly a cream person, that's why.

Black Paella for 2 (My apologies for the blurred picture) - $20 per pax ($40)

First impression, serves 2? Really? The serving of this paella is almost like the risotto for 1! 
However, the rip-off serving aside, first bite of the paella was heavenly. The rice was cooked till the point whereby those rice crusts are forming (think of claypot rice, those last bits of rice at the bottom?), hence it's a brilliant blend of soft mushiness with crusty hardness, all in a mouthful of rice. The pleasant surprise of the texture is further sweetened up with a flavourful savoury taste that was slightly peppery. Just now I liked it! However, the seafood were less promising. They're generally overcooked, with the squid so terribly done I felt I was chewing some rubber tyres. In the end I totally gave up and swallowed it all, almost choking on the huge chunk of unchewable squid.
The strong flavour of the rice also got to me after a while, so much so that I felt they're too salty to stomach with my final bite. I guess this is why they're meant for two. The strong flavour makes it impossible to finish this plate of paella alone. 

Churros - $14

Yes, $14 for 5 sticks of fried dough covered in cinnamon sugar and a watery chocolate dip. MAJOR RIP OFF. 

If you're interested, you can check out my post on churros recipe, which I've done recently. This $14 Churros basically just looks prettier than mine, made thicker than mine, more generously coated with cinnamon sugar than mine, and comes with an additional dish of a very watery chocolate dip.
Major disappointment here. Need I say more?

All in all, the 6 of us spent $160 in total at Kaixo, and left the place still very hungry and heading directly to a dim sum place over at Chinatown for 2nd round. 
The food was tasty, no doubt, but the price was too high for comfort. I guess I'll go back to Medz for paella for now, and will make my own churros. :p

Kaixo is located at 96 Tanjong Pagar Road and is closed on Sundays and Mondays. 

Till then, 
Mia

Monday, 23 September 2013

Mia's Update: Orbis Focus Group

Just recently, with the help of Airmeli, I managed to get a place in the focus group by Orbis. 

For those who find this name extremely unfamiliar, ORBIS Inc., established since 1984,  is a leading company in mail-order cosmetics and is also involved markets such as health food and women's lingerie. ORBIS Inc. is well known for its 100% oil-free skin care and has seen its customer's numbers increase dramatically beyond 8.5 million since the introduction of its popular 100% oil-free skin care. Currently, Orbis has sucessfully entered the Korean, Hongkong and Taiwan market and is finally coming to Singapore this October!

And yes, you didn't see it wrong. We're given a $55 worth goodie bag for attending this focus group! If you have no idea what's a focus group, it mainly is some kind of a 'market survey' whereby the staff will introduce their range of products to us and let us try out a sample before asking us to state our feedbacks. And now I'm going to share with you some of the products that made a strong impression on me. :)

First up, we were introduced to the 5 ranges of their basic skincares. The AquaForce range for hydration, Clear range for acne prone skin, Whitening range that is pretty much self-explanatory, Excellent Enrich range for anti-aging, and Excellent White for a combination of whitening and anti-aging. We were given the lotion and moisturiser to test out and I really like the Clear and AquaForce range, especially their moisturisers. The texture is like a clear gel lotion, and is extremely spreadable and light. I need barely a pearl size sample to spread thoroughly over the back of my hand. And while spreading the moisturiser, it gets absorbed into my skin very quickly, leaving a non-sticky and refreshing feel to it. For the other 3 ranges, although slightly heavier in comparison to Clear and AquaForce, are still considered very light and non-sticky as compared to most of the skincare products currently in the market. 
We were also given their aqua peeling gel and bubble masks to try out, out of which I really liked the peeling gel. It's very thin and near watery texture makes massaging the product into the face extremely easy, no tugging on the skin at all. Best of all, despite the watery texture, it took out a great deal of dead skin from the back of my hand (rather embarrassing with the Orbis staff staring at it) and left my skin visibly brighter, softer and smoother to the touch.
Moreover, with their products priced at a very affordable range of $20s, I'm definitely running to the Orbis retail store once I'm out of my current skincare products. 

Next up, we were introduced to their Special Care series, which is basically sunscreen.
We were given both to try, and I really love the UV cut foundation! Even though labelled as a foundation, it's extremely lightweight and blendable, reminding me of a tinted moisturiser, and with SPF50 PA+++! Even though I cannot be sure of it's coverage, Daisy, the Orbis staff, assured us that it can cover some slight blemishes. The other product, Sunscreen on face light, is supposedly one of their best sellers and we even had the product-maker seated in with us, coming over all the way from Japan! The texture is even lighter than the foundation (like, duh!), is slightly tinted and doesn't give a sticky feeling at all, unlike many sunscreens available in the market right now. In addition to these, we were also introduced to their sun powder pact (two-way foundation) and loose powder compact.

And after stacking literally a ton of product on the back of our hand, we were finally given their cleansing liquid to try out. Unlike a normal cleansing oil, which cannot be used with wet hands and required to be emulsified with water (massaged with water after first dry application) before it can be washed off, Orbis's cleansing liquid needs nothing of those burdensome steps. Just pump into our hands (regardless wet or dry), massage onto our face to dislodge all the makeup, dirt and grime, and wash off with water. Viola, cleansed skin! There, another Orbis-must-get added to my shopping list. 

And then, we finally moved on to the diet and health supplement range, and we were given the full range of their diet Petit Shake to try out. 
And as stated, there's 5 other flavours apart from strawberry and I vaguely remembered them as white grape & aloe vera (my favourite because there's aloe bits inside!), peach, orange, pink guava and banana (my least favourite).
The shakes are recommended to be mixed in milk and drank cold. The consistency served to us are like a mix of yogurt and smoothie. Or perhaps you can simply call them, smoothie with very smooth texture. No doubt, very tasty and offers 6 flavours for you to have them throughout the week with 1 day of indulgence. However, I can't advise on how filling these shakes are, I can only confirm on their tastiness. :)

Finally, we were given a small sample cup of Orbis 12,000mg marine collagen to try out, pineapple flavour. First sip and I cringed at the acute sourness. However, the entire group of us later on concurred that we got used to the sourness pretty quickly and it's actually quite an enjoyable acquired taste. I'm not a collagen supplement fan, but after hearing from Airmeli that Kinohimitsu's collagen taste nothing but fishy, I'm pretty sure I'll turn to Orbis if I decided to take collagen supplement one day. :p

And then, to show off my $55 worth goodie bag from Orbis!

This is the paper bag of goodies given to us.

 And within, I found a full sized Cleansing Liquid, one full sized bottle of 6,000mg collagen drink

 Travel sized pack of AquaForce basic skincare (to my choice), kept in a super cute not-for-sale travel pouch!

A sample sachet of their best selling UV Cut Sunscreen on face light


And a redemption voucher for 1 box of Petit Shake and a coupon for redemption of a mini Aqua Peeling Gel with $30 spent.

Orbis will be having their first pop-up store at Ion Orchard B4 (before Muji) from 25th - 30th September, and there will be a FREE sampling bar for ALL petit shake flavours! So drop by and check them out for yourself! 
Do check out Orbis's facebook HERE!

Till then,
Mia

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Mia's Recipe: Maccha Marble Castella Cupcakes

Oh yes, it's Sunday again. Which means, baking time! :)
This time, I've decided to give kasutera (AKA Castella) a go, a honey flavoured sponge cake from Nagasaki, Japan. I've also decided to give it a twist and add some Maccha flavour to it and give it some marbling details (even though I kinda failed at that). 
Nevertheless, let's get down to the ingredients we'll need. 

We will need:
1. Eggs at room temperature (very important) - 3 Nos.
2. Caster sugar - 90g
3. Flour (Preferably Bread flour, if not, AP Flour) - 90g
4. Milk - 2 Tbsp. (30 ml)
5. Honey - 1 Tbsp. (15ml)
6. Green Tea powder - 1 Tbsp. (or up to personal preference)
7. Honey glaze (Some honey dissolved in water)


Very simple, right? I bet many of you have all the necessary ingredients lying in your kitchen already! :) This recipe should give you 10 to 12 cupcakes (I got 11). So let's get down to the procedures. 

First, pre-heat your oven to 160 degree Celsius. 

Warm up your milk and dissolve the honey and set them aside. You can do so in a pot over heat or just a simple double boiler (immersing the bowl of milk and honey in a bowl of boiling water). 

Sift your flour 2 to 3 times (I did mine thrice) and set them aside. You can choose to sift once or twice first, then sifting the final time directly into the wet mixture later on. 

Next up, crack your eggs into a large bowl and whisk them until frothy. Make sure your eggs are at room temperature, and make sure your bowl is large enough. The end product of the beaten eggs can be 4x the volume and if your bowl isn't big enough it'll be really hard folding in the dry ingredients. 

Heat up a pot of water until it boils. The pot should be big/small enough for your bowl to sit inside snugly and the water level shouldn't be touching the base of your bowl. This will be your double boiler.

Add in the sugar, bit by bit (I did so in 3 additions) and continue whisking until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture turns pale yellow and frothy. Then, add in the honey milk mixture and sit the bowl over the double boiler and continue whisking at high speed until soft peaks form. The point of heating the egg mixture is to allow it to form stable peaks, so do not try to skip the double boiler. The reason why heat is required is because unlike pure egg white mixture, the presence of yolk acts as an emulsifier and it'll be tough to beat the mixture until stable peaks form. Brace your arm and whisk away, I did mine with my hand-held mixer for about 15 minutes at least, in total. 

Add (or sift, if you haven't completed 2/3 times) in the flour and fold the mixture until well combined. Do not stir or overmix as it'll deflate the peaks too much and you might end up with dense, bread like cakes. Remember, there's no butter in this recipe and all the fluffiness is going to depend on the meringue you've beaten up.

Add 1 tbsp. of hot water to the green tea powder and stir to dissolve. 

Separate out 1/3 of the egg/flour mixture into a smaller bowl and add in the green tea mixture. Fold well until fully combined. 


Line your muffin tin or sillicon cups with cupcake liners and spoon the mixtures in tbsp by tbsp to create the layered effect. For lazy people (like me) you can choose to do a maccha surprise centre castella cupcake too, by just adding a dollop of the maccha batter into the centre. 

When all liners are filled up, insert a skewer stick and run it around to get ride of any air pockets within. It can also help to give your layers a pretty marbling effect. Tap the tin/cups on the table for a few times to let the bubbles rise and send them to bake at 160 degree Celsius for the first 5 minutes, before turning down the heat to 150 degree Celsius and bake for another 15 minutes. 
Do tweak either the baking time or the baking temperature depending on your cupcake sizes and oven specifications. I find that my cupcakes are slightly overbaked (lost quite a bit of the distinctive moistness of a castella cake) and I might try 140 degree Celsius the next time I make them, instead of 150 degree Celsius. 

The idea of baking them first with higher temperature is to allow the top to brown first before finishing up with the rest of the baking process. However, if you find that your top has gone too brown and your cake isn't fully baked yet, cover the top with some parchment paper and continue to let them bake until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. 

Once out of the oven, glaze the top of each cupcakes with some honey glaze for more flavour. 

 
Lay your cupcakes out on a wire rack to cool until they're warm enough to handle. Then, wrap them up with cling wrap and let them cool down completely in the refrigerator, preferbaly overnight or at least for 2 hours. This helps the flavour to set while the cake cools. 



And that's how my castella cupcakes turned out, rather spongy with a springy bite, and with strong sweet honey taste and a slight hint of green tea fragrance. I could have doubled my portion of green tea for stronger maccha taste, so if you're planning to try this out, do take note. :)

Till then,
Mia

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Mia's Review: Mooncakes!

Even though I'm not a fan of mooncake at all, I still do buy them every year. :p 
and this year, I decided to splurge a little to buy one box for myself on top of the box I'll buy my grandma every year. 

No brownie points for guessing that I've gotten myself chocolate mooncakes. 

I first came across Chocoelf on bongqiuqiu's instagram, whereby she posted on their sugar-free snowskin mooncakes. Obviously attracted by the name chocoelf, I did some research and also asked for opinions online and got some really head scratching reviews, claiming that they're 100% sugar and sugar substitute free, is not sweet at all, and yet taste very nice. 
Giving up on these reviews, I decided to grab a box and try them out for myself. My verdict? Read on.

 A box of their chocolate skin mooncake comes with 3 round mooncakes and 10 small rectangular ones, priced at $58. Even though labelled as sugar-free, and claimed as free of substitutes by some people online, I've confirmed with their sales person (twice) that Chocoelf uses a sugar alcohol, Maltitol, as their sugar substitute.
The 3 round mooncakes consist of Dark Lotus, Vanilla Lotus, and Cabernet Red Wine Lotus. The minis are supposedly filled with a blend of cranberry & macademia nuts white lotus.
Sounds really good, with an awesome variety, yeah? Sadly, no. Perhaps in terms of appearances and supposed ingredients, chocoelf chocolate skin mooncakes offer us an awesome variety. But focusing plainly on taste, none. I'm sorry to say that all 4 flavours of mooncake tastes almost exactly the same, crumbly lotus paste filled pralines. 

I'm not sure if it's because the lotus paste is sugar-free, but they are really very crumbly and significantly rougher in texture as compared to any other normal mooncakes in the market, which basically kinda 'cheapen' the taste. 
As opposed to reviews stating they're not sweet, I'm sorry to refute them as a load of crap. 
THEY ARE SWEET, just not horribly sweet like some mooncakes in the market that makes you cringe. The chocolates skin basically just taste like any other good quality chocolate, with the dark chocolate being short of the bitterness I was expecting (and would have enjoyed) and the white chocolate being sweeter than the rest. As for the sugar free lotus, they're just rougher in texture, more crumbly, and significantly blander and less sweet in taste compared to a normal lotus paste.

 Cabernet Red Wine Lotus
 Dark Lotus
Vanilla Lotus

As seen from the pictures, all different flavours comes with nuts (all macademia, i reckon) with only the minis and the cabernet red wine lotus having extra cranberries. Even so, there are a good amount of minis I've eaten with no taste/findings of cranberries at all, with meagre amount of chopped macademia nuts within. I can hardly taste the difference between them as well, with the Vanilla Lotus being slightly easier to differentiate due to the white chocolate taste. The Cabernet red wine lotus somehow tasted the best out of the 4 flavours, however with the taste being so remotely similar to the dark lotus that I couldn't put the taste into words at all. And nope, even though named as Cabernet Red Wine Lotus, I didn't pick up any hint of wine taste in the mooncake. It's really just normal chocolate taste combined with some very much less sweet lotus paste, same for all the 4 flavours. 
In addition, the mooncakes are also extremely small. Minis aside, the round mooncakes, which I've expected them to be a 'standard' mooncake size, are slightly smaller in diameter and less than half the thickness.

So, $58 for a box of pralines with 'cheap tasting' lotus paste filling? 
You'll be the judge. 

 Aside to Chocoelf I've bought for myself, I've also bought Peony Jade's Teochew Orh Nee Mooncake for grandma, after seeing their brilliant review on Channel 8 TV show. 
I guess the show really worked its wonder, for when I went to Taka Atrium, they're completely sold out. Undeterred, I made my way to Century Square Atrium and they were only left with plain ones, no yolk no pumpkin paste. :(
I didn't try these out for myself, because it's for my grandma and I'm not a fan of yam paste either. However, feedback from my grandma is that their skin is very thick, which she didn't like. Nevertheless, the yam paste is not too sweet and is relatively smooth. 
She gave me 1 brownie point for buying the plain ones and not the yolk ones (actually is because there's only plain ones left...) for her because according to her, yam paste and yolk makes a horrible combination. 

Grandma has already requested that I buy her Tai Chong Kok baked skin mooncakes for her next year. *rofl*
Helped my parents buy their baked skin from there (my mum asked me buy cheap bengawan solo ones, but I went ahead to buy TCK ones because it's really just a few dollars more with my 20% card discount promo) and my mum was raving about how fragrant they were. It's also a rare chance my dad actually did eat a bit of the yolk inside for TCK's one. He detests yolk because of the raw 'fishy' smell but TCK's yolks apparently were well-done to be able to get rid of that smell.

Now my question is, I know TCK has split up and branched into 2 different shops. So all those hardcore mooncake fans out there, which branch is the better one?
Do leave your opinions in the comment box for my mooncake shopping next year! :)

Till then, 
Mia

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Mia's Recipe: Churros

Last week, I tried to bake some Mickey Mouse vanilla cupcakes with brownie centre but failed miserably as I didn't cream my butter and sugar together well. I ended up with extremely dense, brownie like cupcakes. :(

This week, I've decided to give my all time favourite Spanish snack a go, Churros! I've combined Ochikeron's and Ann Reardon's recipe to get a recipe of my own. So let's get on to the ingredient list. 

We will need:
1. Milk - 150ml
2. Water - 100ml
3. Flour (All purpose, bread, or cake) - 125g
4. Unsalted butter - 115g
5. Sugar - 13g (1 tablespoon)
 6. Vanilla extract - 1 teaspoon
7. Eggs - 3 nos.
8. A pinch of salt
9. Cinnamon sugar

First up, combine 1 tsp. of cinnamon powder with 3 tbsp. of caster sugar (you can use normal granulated sugar if you wish) to make Cinnamon sugar and set that aside. Otherwise, just grab a bottle of the cinnamon sugar from the supermarket.

Combine the milk and water in a pot. 
If you dislike the taste of milk, you can use 250ml of water. Likewise, if you'll prefer a richer taste of milk you can use 250ml of milk as well.
Add in the unsalted butter and bring the mixture to a low boil. Mix well until all butter has melted. 
Add in sugar and salt and mix well until all sugar and salt has dissolved. 
Turn down the heat and sift in the flour. Mix vigorously until the mixture comes together into a dough ball. Keep the pot on low heat and continue mixing for a while until the dough starts to leave a skin on the side of the pot.
Transfer the dough into a clean bowl (or you can do it in the pot if you wish) and continue stirring at it to cool it down. This is crucial as you will be adding in the eggs next and you will not want the hot dough to scramble your eggs. 


When the dough has cooled slightly, crack in the 3 eggs, mix well after each addition. 

It'll look like a slimy mess as above when you first crack in the egg and it seems like it will not mix. But trust me, continue working on it and it'll all come together. 

You know you got it when your batter turns sticky like so. (I apologise for the blurry pic. Gotta take it singlehandedly while I battled the batter) 

Then transfer your batter into a pastry bag fixed with a star tip. The "traditional" churros will probably need a large tip (0.6") but since I do not have one, I decided to make some mini churros with my ~0.6cm tip!


I piped out a total of 70 number of 9-10cm long strips like so. There was still a small amount of batter left in my pastry bag so I reckon I could have gotten 75 of them. 

I've piped about 18 to 20 strips on two large baking sheets to be baked at 190 degree celsius for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown. Just before baking, spray them down with some cooking oil spray or brush them generously with some melted unsalted butter. 
For the other half of my batter, I've piped them onto smaller squares of baking paper that will be a good fit for my frying pot, 4 strips to one square. Then, I deep fried them in the frying pot sheet by sheet (to avoid the churros on two sheets sticking together) till golden brown. When the batter starts to firm and puff up, gently pry them off the baking paper and remove the paper from the oil. 

When the churros (both baked and fried) are still hot, roll them in a plate of cinnamon sugar and make sure they're well coated. 


Fried ones on the left and baked ones on the right. I know they look burnt in the photos, but actually they're not. I've no idea why the photos turned out so dark.

These churros are crispy on the outside and soft on the inside with a pleasant taste of cinnamon sugar. I personally will prefer the baked ones, not only because they're much easier to cook but also very much less oily. They'll definitely taste good with a cup of hot chocolate or with some chocolate dip!

Do try both method out and tell me which is your preference. :)

Till then,
Mia

Friday, 13 September 2013

Mia's Review: Marutama Ramen

 This is an extremely late post, for I've visited Marutama @ The Central with Airmeli after our diamond lash workshop held at Blisshouse. I've long heard about Marutama Ramen, it's always one of the names that pops up alongside Santouka (still my favourite!), Ippudo (urgh, too salty) and Tampopo (not bad) when you ask for ramen recommendations. So when Airmeli led me to the ramen shop, I was really excited and cheered, "Oh yay, Marutama!"


Their choices of ramen flavour is not really extensive. A very typical menu of an authentic humble ramen-ya. I ordered for myself a daikon and their Nama Karashi Ramen while Airmeli got a Tori Dango and their Aka Ramen.

 Daikon - $4

Yes, you might feel that $4 for 2 pieces of radish (although they're quite big pieces) is pretty much a rip off, but I didn't really care much for the pricey-ness of it because:

1. I really love daikon
2. They're really damn awesome!

The daikon is served almost piping hot in a rich & flavourful savoury broth, which tastes like tonkotsu/chicken broth, and is cooked down extremely well to be amazingly soft throughout. Each and every bite is 'stuffed' full of the savoury taste of the rich broth. I need not even chew on them, but just pushes my tongue towards the roof of my mouth to mash it up and release the broth that was soaked up within. 
Heavenly. Definitely a must try for all daikon lovers out there. 

 Tori Dango (Chicken Meatball) - $5

The Tori Dango is definitely a disappointment, and yes, it's not worth the $5. I expected the dango to be of, well, chewy dango texture. (duh!) But the first bite brought nothing but disappointment to my face. Nothing in this meat-packed ball is chewy. Instead, the entire meatball is soggy and crumbly. A soft bite to the surface easily breaks the dango in half and a few more bites just literally crumbles them into distinctive separate chunks in your mouth. Not my favourite kind of texture in a meatball. 
However, from a cooking noob's POV, I also wonder if it's because they're using a lot of real chicken meat and very little flour.
As for the taste wise, I can't fault them on it but shan't commend them on it either. It's a "typical" meatball taste, flavourful yet nothing distinctive that screams: I'm a chicken meatball! I guess the only thing that hinted it's chicken and not pork is the crumbly texture.

Airmeli's Aka Ramen - $15

 My Nama Karashi Ramen - $12

It looks just like a normal chicken broth ramen, yeah? But it's actually spicy ramen! This is one thing that is kinda intriguing to me. A 100% non-spicy looking spicy ramen!
The broth is rich, flavourful and has the spiciness level just right for me. 
I think I'm just an average spicy food eater, and I do not like to eat challengingly spicy food as I believe it doesn't do justice to the ingredients and preparer of the dish. :)
Comparing the richness of flavour to Santouka and Ippudo, Marutama is definitely smack in the middle. I feel that their broth is definitely richer than Santouka's yet still manageable for me, unlike Ippudo's, which almost killed me. 
Went Ippudo once, and plans never to return.
I do get a little thirsty while eating the ramen, due to the salty flavour of the broth, but I'm attributing it to the fact that I'm more of a lighter taste person. My preference for lighter taste is blatantly hinted in my obvious dislike for Ippudo's ramen.
As for the noodles, it hovers between chewy and hard imo, deviating slightly more towards hard. I'm a chewy (softer) noodle person, and Marutama's noodles really came this close to making it right for me. It was just a little bit too close to the hard side, but I can still accept it as well made noodles. 
The char siu was also pretty well done, having a good mix of lean and fatty meat, cooked to a savoury tenderness.
I'm also rather disappointed that the ramen wasn't served with menma (bamboo shoots) and it wasn't offered as an additional topping or side dishes either. 

And as seen from the picture, the ramen doesn't come with the flavoured egg (typical of many ramen shops) but need an additional $1.50 for an add on. 


Just look at the pictures, need I say more? The $1.50 is a MUST SPEND! 

I first poked my chopsticks into the whites and pulled off a huge chunk of it to reveal a fully intact yellowy orange yolk. I thought the yolk and overcooked, but how wrong I was! Look at how beautifully the glossy orange oozes out from the puncture I made with my chopstick! The egg is definitely well braised to a rich flavour and the whites is cooked to the point of having just solidifying. There's no obviously semi-transparent runny-ness anywhere in the egg whites, and yet they're amazingly soft, tears apart at the slightest pressure and runs down your throat effortlessly. 
I do feel that Marutama does their flavoured egg better than Santouka and Ippudo. :)

And in addition, Marutama offers Kaedama for those big eaters. With leftover broth and an additional $2, you can get your noodles refilled and eat to your heart's content! I'm not sure if it's a full portion refill though, because there's absolutely no way I can ever go for a kaedama. 
For those who've tried their kaedama, please let me know in the comment box!

Till then,
Mia
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