This is “Tokyo ramen”.
At least right now, it is. Riki, a new entrant to Changi Airport Terminal 3’s Ramen Champion, hails from Tokyo. While Tokyo ramen bears no official definition or style, it is often an extension of a coming together of influences from throughout the country. Just like the capital – as you might expect any capital to be, particularly if you’re considered the alpha world city alongside the likes of New York, London and Paris – is rich and extravagant, and that’s something very visible in the ramen. Crafted for the sole purpose of powering the economy, each bowl of Tokyo ramen is a protein shake designed to give the Japanese salary-man the stamina to work from lunch till midnight without stopping for tea, dinner or supper. Tokyo ramen borrows the north’s thicker, near udon-sized noodles and miso to make it filling. From the south, the tonkatsu broth for flavor and lightness. From the ocean, seafood, either as the main attraction in Keisuke’s case, or as a garnishing in Rokurinsha where bonito flakes are generously topped up.
Personally, I love Tokyo style ramen exactly for its composition, and it’s something I wouldn’t mind eating every day. The northern-style ramen get far too rich with their ambitious portions of miso while the southern-style ramen with all the kurobuta and tonkatsu, tends to be a little too “porky” for my liking. The capital-style neutralizes some of those extremities, fuses the best of both sides together, and the result is quite literally, the best of both worlds. The Nitamago Riki Ramen Miso tasted like a blast from Tokyo. While it’s certainly not the best, but it’s quite close. I expect many Singaporeans however, not to appreciate it exactly because of its composition – a little bit of miso, a little bit of tonkatsu makes for a very filling bowl of noodles.
Approach with caution. But if you do cross the finishing line, you’ll be rewarded handsomely.