The buzz: Hakata-style ramen chain Ippudo’s quick-service ramen bar and takeaway concept, Kuro-Obi is the first outpost outside of New York. It is located right next to the ice-skating rink at The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands and another Ippudo outlet. It’s also the only concept by Ippudo around the world that offers Tori-paitan, a silky chicken soup base that uses specially selected ingredients that are slow-cooked for hours to complement the al dente noodles.

The vibe: The restaurant maintains the brand’s iconic red, white and black color scheme, but also added in a lot of wooden elements to their counters, tables and chairs. Once you walk towards the minimalistic takeaway counter, you will be greeted by the friendly staff and find your choices on the digital menu at the top. You might also occassionally find yourself surrounded by curious tourists. 

The food: All the ramen served at Kuro-Obi comes with slowly-cooked chicken chashu (adapting to the Singapore’s culturally diverse crowd) and served in a takeaway bowl with a pretty cheesy but apt quote, “No ramen, no life. Know ramen, know life,” printed on them. But the best part may just be that you can customize everything from the texture of the noodles, stock richness, amount of oil, choice of having no garlic or onion and add on extra toppings. We tried their signature Kuro-Obi, the classic ramen that comes with an umami egg, three pieces of chashu and seaweed ($12). It’s slightly salty though, but if you prefer something that’s not so strong on the palate, you can choose the light flavor. For something similar but smaller in portion, Shiro-Obi is available for $8, but it’s without the umami egg, seaweed and only a piece of chashu. For the spiced up version, you can try Aka-Obi which comes with spicy shrimp floss ($10). Vegetarians can go for their Cha-Obi with vegetable broth made using cabbage with shoyu ($9). Besides the ramen, you can pair them with snacks like octopus takoyaki topped with bonito flakes and powdered aonori ($5 for 4; $8 for 8) and crispy chicken karaage ($5 for 3; $8 for 5). For those who insist on sitting in for a quick meal instead of takeout, the restaurant next door offers limited single counter seats.

The drink: When it comes to the drinks, don’t expect too much. You can pair your bowl of piping hot ramen with mineral water ($2) or canned drinks ($3). If you happen to grab a quick meal at the Ippudo’s store, try their signature refreshing lemon soda, a combination of lemon slices, mint leaves and soda water that you can refill with the extra can provided ($8). 

Why you’ll be back: Amidst all the fancy restaurants in Marina Bay Sands, the super affordable price for a delicious piping hot bowl of ramen makes it a great option for something quick and easy.