Daikokuya Japanese Ramen Dining

As I said OK to this invitation, I was thinking, Man—what a bumper year for ramen lovers. After the debut of last year’s Ippudo, another new ramen restaurant has surged up from seemingly nowhere. Daikokuya is the brainchild of the good peeps that brought us Illuma’s Ebisboshi Shotengai. Located in Paragon’s extensive basement that houses everything from Thai to Taiwanese restaurants, Daikokuya has for its neighbor the popular DTF—so to find it, do like I do and just head for DTF. I was quickly led through the Unique Selling Point (USP) of the restaurant—it sells four different types of ramen available in soup bases like miso, shoyu, shio and spicy miso. So right off the top of my head, here are the four types: Sapporo ramen (with chicken broth and curly noodles); Tokyo-style ramen (a lighter chicken-based version with springy noodles); super-rich Kyushu-style Tonkotsu ramen with straight noodles; and the straight-noodled Kogashi ramen—a Kyushu specialty (this one is definitely spesh, I’ll get to it later). I had a shot at all four of the above—and I must say I’m a big fan of springy, Maggie-mee-like noodles and a light broth. But heck, I am a ramen fan, and it can’t go very wrong for me. My fave’s the Tokyo-style chashu shoyu ramen which is just light and flavorful enough for me. If you dig miso, the Sapporo miso ramen will be heaven for you. I kind of liked it, but would have preferred less saltiness. I quite liked the so-rich-it’s-cloudy Kyushu tonkotsu shio ramen—the richness was the bomb! But I’m not a fan of garlic, so I must say the mini Kyushu Kogashi shio ramen fared a little less well in my books—fans of garlic and super strong flavors will breathe in the mayu (read: Black aromatic oil made from charred crushed garlic) scent with abandon. I went gaga over the caramel parfait with mango syrup dessert—it’s a caramel dream! Give this place a shot—it’s a physical ode and true tribute to the wonderful Japanese dish called ramen. Belinda Wan

♥ ramen? These get our loudest slurps.