The Ramen Stall
Open till 5am, there are plenty of Japanese options here—besides ramen—to choose from. Noodles wise, they have common favorites like cha su ramen and pork belly ramen, but the most expensive on the list will have to be the abalone seafood ramen. Other offerings include dons (rice bowls), kushiyaki, sushi and sashimi.
Before you groan about yet another ramen joint (the furious ramen frenzy that’s hit our shores shows no sign of letting up), take heart. At least there’s more than just oodles of noodles here.
A few doors down from the Rochor Beancurd institution, the set up here is fairly typical. The first floor has just four wooden tables and a long black sushi-kushiyaki counter that seats eight, affording it a most cozy feel. Upstairs, you’ll find enough space for another 40. Nothing elaborate, just your standard white paper lanterns, but then we weren’t there for the ambiance.
Ravenous, we dove right in with the agedashi tofu. Four cubes of lightly battered, deep fried silky smooth bean curd were a good start, which we continued with the pork belly ramen adorned with seaweed, corn, chashu and a tamago egg. While the noodles were very fine and firm, the pork bone-based soup was mild and less salty than most other broths in town, but lacked the depth of flavor we were craving. The egg itself had spent a little too long in the pot, evidenced by a much too firm center, not quite the just-set yolk we were hoping for.
The smell of the kushiyaki easily enticed us into ordering a range of grilled items such as quail eggs and chicken soft bone. Noteworthy picks include the golden mushrooms wrapped in tender beef slices and crispy-skinned, lightly seasoned chicken wings (great with a Sapporo). We also thoroughly enjoyed the trio of dipping sauces that escorted them; tangy and spicy kimchi, miso and sweet teriyaki. Unfortunately the pork belly with onions lacked the luscious layer of fat we expected and was too aggressively sprinkled with chili powder for our tastes. And the service is nothing to shout about, though the servers are adequately competent.
But we’ve saved the best bit for last: They’re open till late—really late—scoring them some major brownie points. We can definitely see ourselves stumbling in here in the early hours, half-drunk after a vigorous night of partying no doubt (perhaps sometime in the near future). Fortunately, the space is refreshingly devoid of harsh white lights, so fret not, should you decide to do the same.
♥ ramen? These get our loudest slurps.