Monday, September 26, 2011

The Ultimate Ramen Champion Part II - Bario Ramen and Hakata Ikkousha

This is the second part of my Ramen Champion trilogy, so let's get on with the review of
Bario Ramen and Hakata Ikkousha.

Bario Ramen

For some reason, everytime I’m here, Bario has a long queue and was sold out on my first visit. This ups my curiosity even more and I headed straight for the Bario-queue immediately after arrival.


Bario Ramen

Bario brands itself around masculinity and to them, being masculine means big on portions. The bowl is served on my tray which the soup was spilled over the bowl due to overpacking in the bowl.
Bario serves Jiro-style ramen with a pork shoyu broth that is heavy on flavor, with a layer of suspended fat to add to that. It is topped with crunchy bean sprouts and is definitely here to fill you up. The soup flavor is strong and garlicky, so avoid this ramen if you want some sugar from the ladies or guys after.
The thick and flat noodles here are made of bread flour, is definitely hearty and shows how serious Bario keeps to its theme of manliness by all things big, strong and thick. Texture wise, it stands in the mid point between udon and the regular ramen noodle variety. You really got to try it for yourself to see if you like it or not, for I enjoyed it but still prefer the regular ramen noodles.

Thick chunks of chashu with clearly defined features. The lean part was extremely lean and the fats were a tad hard, the flavor did not seep through deep enough and this makes for a pretty tough piece of chashu that is not really worth the calories and step towards coronary implications. The egg was also a disappointment with not much taste despite looking otherwise. It was pretty much hard boiled. Maybe they are trying to keep to their theme of manliness again by having a hardboiled egg too? 

If you can empty the whole bowl of noodles here, you'll see a message saying
It means "Thank You, You are a Man".

Score: 3.75/5.0 

Hakata Ikkousha

Hakata Ajitama Ramen

Hakata Ikkousha is hidden in a corner and can be easily missed if there is no one queuing. It comes in a small black bowl with a milky pork broth. The presentation is appealing and feels classically oriental.
The broth is thin, light and swirls in your mouth nicely and does not try to overpower you with taste. 

Joined hand in hand with the special thin noodles here that offers a fine bite. The noodles here is like the vermicelli of Ramen noodles, which are usually thick. Being thin and fine, it offers This is also a very acceptable bowl of ramen for Singaporeans who might find ramen to be too heavy on taste or salt.

The egg sat in the hot water for too long, but yet is devoid of any flavoring. Chashu here is two thick cut with nice proportion of fat and meat and is pretty tender. However, the flavoring could do more with being a bit heavy for it tasted a tad bland.

Ikkousha is being let down by its own egg and chashu, otherwise it would be a bowl of ramen that is much more satisfying due to its wonderful soup and unique thin noodles.

Score: 4.0/5.0

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