As Singaporeans, one of the first world problems we face is to decide where to eat! The problem is compounded by foodie sites like HungryGoWhere, ieatishootipost and Makansutra. Contrary to popular beliefs, these sites actually give you a bigger headache, simply because you realize that everything just seems so damn good! So when I decided to ditch the pre-meal ritual of checking out these sites and rely on my sister's recommendation, I thought I was in for a thoroughly ordinary fare. Using my trusty smartphone for directions (some might consider this a first world problem as well), I ended up at Santouka, a hokkaido ramen enclave at the corner of Central, Clarke Quay.
The decor was sufficiently Japanese, while the waitresses ditched the pseudo Jap accent customary of every Japanese food outlet and welcomed us in English instead. When I opened the menu, I was slightly impressed, though not thoroughly convinced that this place is a gem yet. Flashbacks of bland broth from my past ramen experiences reminded me not to get my hopes up too fast. I eventually settled for a Shoyu ramen with the signature gyoza as a side. Singaporeans (including Joanne Peh) might want to take note that this restaurant is extremely generous with ice/warm water, unlike certain restaurants in Plaza Singapura that I shall not mention here. I glanced at the kitchen and noticed 2 definitive Japanese male chefs hard at work preparing the ramen. While waiting for the food, I occupied myself with observing the eclectic crowd, with a decent amount speaking Japanese.
When the food came, I gingerly picked up the spoon and prepared my taste buds for the worst. Somehow, the next few moments transpired from doubt to instant conviction. How did a soy sauce flavoured broth peppered with a hint of salt and spice taste so good is beyond my comprehension. Simply put, I was in gastronomical heaven. Despite rewiring my pesky braces hours ago, I found no trouble chewing on the succulent pork slices and the expertly prepared noodles. I cleaned out the bowl in 15 minutes and attacked the gyoza, which was not as 'wow' as the ramen but still worth a mention.