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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