What makes a good bowl of ramen? Ippudo’s chef gives some insights

The noodles

Of course, everyone has a preference as to how they want their noodles done. But the “perfect” noodles should be springy yet firm in texture, boast deep flavors and blend harmoniously with the broth. Before cooking them, it’s a must to check if they’re well-made. Quality noodles should remain consistent in their weight and thickness for each and every strand.

Our tip: Not everyone makes their noodles from scratch in-house, so for some of the fresh stuff, head to, the Liang Court outlet of Tonkotsu Kazan Ramen.

The broth

A good broth isn’t just about taste—it’s also about texture, scent and everything else. For a tonkotsu (pork-based) broth, quality pork as well as filtered water is used. It’s typically cooked for over 15 hours over a strong fire and then blended over three different cooking stages to achieve a creamy, delicate broth with a light aroma.

Our tip: One of our favorite spots is Keisuke Tonkotsu King. Thick, savory, extremely satisfying, the broth never fails to hit the spot.

The chasu

The meat should always be tender, moist and melt-in-your-mouth. Time and temperature are the most important points when making the perfect chashu. Chef Matsuoka uses the traditional method of tying the pork belly in a roll to lock in the moisture before immersing it into a pot of Ippudo’s house sauce and simmering for three to four hours over low heat. This technique helps to retain its juiciness and ensures the marinade is absorbed into the meat.

Our tip: We love the thick but tender chasu slices at Menya Musashi.

The lava egg

The key to making lava eggs is using the right temperature and timing when cooking them. There are also other variables to consider when cooking these eggs, including size of the eggs used, temperature of the eggs and the number of them in a pot.

Our tip: It’s hard to go wrong with lava eggs. You either get it right or you don’t. We do find places like Ippudo to be rather consistent in putting out silky eggs, though.

The toppings

These vary from place to place—there are items like spring onions, seaweed and black fungus—but ingredients like mentaiko, for example, enhance the flavor of the broth.

Our tip: Tonkotsu King Four Seasons (Bugis Village, 158 Rochor Rd., 6333-5740, www. facebook.com/KeisukeTokyoSG) offers interesting choices like basil and cheese.

Now that you’re (almost) a ramen expert, join in the search for Singapore’s hottest ramen spot by casting votes in the Ramen Revolution contest run by our friends at WAttention Magazine. The voting period is through May 31 and you stand a chance to win awesome prices (hint: lots of food vouchers). Visit www. wattention.com for more info or find out who the contenders are here.