20 best underrated ramen shops in Singapore for a steaming bowl of umami goodness

by Evan Mua and Christabel Tan

Anyone have serious ramen cravings recently? The cold rainy weather, coupled with a lack of travel to Japan (soon, we hope!) has got us hunting for the best ramen in Singapore to warm us up during gloomy days and also to curb our wanderlust pangs.

If you’re bored of slurping on the same old tonkotsu broth from cult favourite spots like Keisuke, Santouka, Ippudo, and Marutama, and want to know where to find hidden gems and/or not-so-popular spots, we’ve come up with a list of the best and most underrated ramen shops in Singapore that are oh-so worth those calories.

1. Menbaka Fire Ramen

best ramen singapore menbaka
Photo: Menbaka Singapore

As one of the most IG-worthy ramen places in Singapore, you’ve probably seen Menbaka Fire Ramen on your social media feed. Customers are treated to a glorious pyrotechnic show, during which the chef pours hot negi (green onion) oil to make the ramen burst into bright flames right in front of them.

Their signature Shoyu Fire Ramen (S$17.90) is made by simmering chicken bones for hours to extract the flavour, then it’s topped with lavish amounts of negi to give it a sharp, fragrant punch.

Make your reservations here.

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???? 8 Grange Rd, #05-03, Cineleisure Orchard, Singapore 239695
???? 12pm–3.30pm, 5pm–10pm (Mon to Thu), 11.30am–3.30pm, 4.30pm–11pm (Fri to Sun)

2. Enishi Ramen 

Photo by Confirm Good

Enishi is an authentic brand that originated from Kobe, and is even on the Kobe Michelin guide. It used to be one of the best-kept secrets in Singapore, but not anymore. The two unique menu items — the intensely rich Dan Dan Noodles (S$19.80) and a delicate Dashi Broth Ramen (from S$18.80) — have drawn snaking queues, and for good reason.

Most people go there for their dandanmen, an umami atomic bomb that explodes with hefty cashew nut and sesame flavours. But my personal preference is for the dashi’s gentle but deceptively rich profile, scratching the itch for a strong broth without feeling too greasy.

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???? 10 Anson Rd, #02-85A International Plaza, Singapore 079903
???? 11am–3pm, 6pm–9pm (Daily)

3. Hakata Ikkousha

Photo: @oatlyyummy/instagram

As an international brand with over 40 outlets all over the world, Hakata Ikkousha’s quality and authenticity are up there with the best. Their specially-made Hakata style ramen are thinner than the average ramen shop in Singapore, which gives them a springier texture.

Those sleek strands are perfect for the creamy broth of their Tonkotsu Standard (S$13) to cling onto so every slurp is loaded with porky richness. In addition to the ramen, they are also super popular for their birthday gyoza promo, which entitles you to the same number of complimentary gyozas as your age.

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???? 30 Victoria St, #F1-07, Chijmes, Singapore 187996
???? 11.30am–9.30pm (Mon to Sat), 11.30am–8.30pm (Sun)

????  Blk 7 Tanjong Pagar Plaza #01-104B, Singapore 081007
???? 11.30am–9.30pm (Mon to Sat), 11.30am–8.30pm (Sun)

4. Torasho Ramen & Charcoal Bar

Photo: Torasho Ramen & Charcoal Bar

If you and bae can’t agree on what ramen to eat, don’t worry. Torasho is where you can go for an eclectic range of ramen choices, including Tonkotsu Broth, Dipping Ramen (Tsukemen), and Dry Ramen. You can have it either dry or in a soup — your choice.

While the Tonkotsu Ramen (S$12) is undoubtedly good, it’s their indulgent Uni & Chashu Dipping Ramen (S$20) that you have to get a taste of. It’s an indulgent and luxe “bak chor mee” of sorts, chock full of umami flavours — you’d probably find yourself slurping it down like a madman.

Make your reservations here.

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???? 32 Tras St, Singapore 078972
???? 11.30pm–3pm, 5.30pm–11pm (Daily)

5. Sapporo Nishiyama Ramen

ramen singapore
Photo: @prettypekish/instagram

Sapporo Nishiyama is a hidden gem frequented by chefs serving up some of the most authentic and unpretentious Hokkaido-style ramen you can find on our shores. First-timers must slurp down the hearty and savoury Miso Butter Corn Ramen ($19.80). The sweet corn pairs wonderfully with the robust miso broth, which is further enhanced by a knob of butter for extra creaminess.

Another unique selling point is that all vegetables (beansprouts included) and minced pork are wok-fried, which imparts a delightful smokiness to each bowl.

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???? 1 Kim Seng Promenade B2-107 Great World City Singapore 237994
???? 11am–9pm (Daily)

6. Kajiken

best ramen singapore kajiken
Photo by Confirm Good

Ramen doesn’t have to be just soup-based — there is also Mazesoba, a very popular dry-style ramen that many in Singapore liken to a “Japanese bak chor mee”. Kajiken is the first in Singapore to sell these sauce-filled bowls of ramen which give the same comforting gratification if you’re not in the mood for soup.

We recommend going for their signature Taiwan Mazesoba Nagoya Style (S$14.80++) which comes with a medley of minced pork, soft boiled egg, and chopped vegetables. It’s got everything from texture to a tummy-warming blend of mild spice and saucy umami.

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???? Multiple outlets

7. Bari Uma

Photo: daniellekopi.sg/instagram

This is one of my personal favourites for Tonkotsu ramen in Singapore because of how sexily thick the broth is. If you thought your regular tonkotsu was thick, you gotta get a mouthful of their viscous, almost bisque-like broth.

While such a thick broth may sound very overwhelming, my bowl is licked clean every single time — it’s that addictive. Consistency is also their strong suit, with every component in their Ajitama Uma (S$14.90) executed well, especially the smoky and tender grilled char siu.

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???? 19 Tanglin Road, #B1-01/02 Tanglin Shopping Centre, Singapore 247909
???? 9am–9.30pm (Daily)

???? 273 Thomson Rd, #01-03/04 Novena Gardens, Singapore 307644
???? 11am–9.30pm (Daily)

8. Ramen Nagi

Photo: Ramen Nagi Singapore

Ramen Nagi is a ramen joint with many fans in Singapore, due to their use of premium ingredients air-flown all the way from Japan in each bowl of ramen. Plus, their unique flavours are something to watch out for.

Besides the traditional and classic Butao King (S$13.90), there are also the spicy Red King (S$15.90) and black-garlic loaded Black King (S$15.90) But if you’re here with an adventurous palate, definitely go for the Green King (S$15.90) that’s an innovative medley of parmesan cheese, basil and, olive oil.

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???? 2 Orchard Turn, #B4-54, Singapore 238801
???? 11am–9pm (Sun to Thu), 11am–10pm (Fri & Sat)

9. Ramen九十九 (Ramen 99)

ramen singapore
Photo: @foodforthecam/instagram

Another underrated and affordable gem that non-Japanese aficionados might not know about is Ramen 99, a traditional joint modelled after the “Ramen Mobile Food Stalls” common in Yatai Street, Japan.

The straightforward Tonkotsu Ramen (S$9.90++) is a good choice for a normal tonkotsu but the seasonal Black Ma-yu Tonkotsu Ramen (S$12.80++) beats it handily with its potent dose of black garlic.

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???? 1  Tras Link, #01-14 Orchid Hotel, Singapore 078867
???? 11.30am–11pm (Daily)

10. Ramen Matsuri

ramen singapore
Photo: @foodtraces/instagram

Another Boat Quay hidden gem that ramen lovers will be more familiar with, Ramen Matsuri is actually run by the same people who went on to open the successful Kajiken brand. So they definitely know what they’re doing when it comes to ramen.

What’s special about Matsuri is the collagen-rich chicken broth in their signature Torikoku Ramen (S$14.80), inclusive of a free noodle upsize — perfect for the perpetually hungry. Alternatively, dig into the unique Mapo Mazesoba (S$16.80) for a satisfying treat that has a nice kick to it.

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???? 7 North Canal Rd, Singapore 048820
???? 11.30am–2.50pm, 5.30pm–9.30pm (Daily)

11. Sapporo Misono

ramen singapore
Photo: Sapporo Misono

The first ever Hokkaido speciality ramen concept by Keisuke, Sapporo Misono, has impressed many people with its unique butter miso ramen, which features a wildly different type of broth hard to find at many other ramen shops in Singapore.

The Hokkaido Sapporo Miso Ramen with Butter & Corn Special (S$17.90) boasts a taste profile you may not have tried before — it’s rich and sweet but with a gratuitous dosage of smoke and a dollop of butter for creaminess.

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???? 9 Raffles Boulevard, #02-15 Millenia Walk, Singapore 039596
???? 11.30am–3pm, 5pm–9pm (Mon to Fri), 11.30am–9pm (Sat & Sun)

12. Menya Kokoro

Photo: Menya Kokoro Singapore

Known as the biggest mazesoba chain in Japan, Menya Kokoro is different from Kajiken in that their mazesoba is done Tokyo-style instead. The noodles used are way thicker and feel closer to jjajangmyeon than it is to bak chor mee (AKA the local dish it is typically compared to).

Despite each bowl of Tokyo Mazesoba (S$12++) coming doused in a rich minced meat sauce and ground saba fish to give it a more meaty flavour, it is not as cloying as you might expect. There are even versions with Unagi, Spicy Mala, and even one that’s 100% vegan.

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???? Multiple outlets

13. Ramen Hitoyoshi

Photo: @wherearethecalories/instagram

Say you’re a fan of Keisuke Tonkotsu King but also allergic to those tedious queues that form outside during meal times, where can you go? The closest substitute for that in Singapore will be Ramen Hitoyoshi, which is opened by ex-cooks from Keisuke.

And honestly, they aren’t that far off in terms of quality. A thick and robust soup at its base, springy noodles, and a nicely charred aburi char shiu make this a solid ramen option choice. While they don’t offer free-flow eggs like Keisuke, the sweet corn and beansprouts are equally nice to nibble on while you wait for your piping hot ramen to arrive.

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???? Multiple outlets

14. Nantsuttei

Photo: @ooorca_001/instagram

In the mood for black garlic ramen? A few ramen places offer it in Singapore but Nantsuttei, a hidden ramen shop at level 7 of Orchard Central, specialises in the fragrant and garlicky ramen variety.

Nantsuttei pours in a special blend of black garlic and sesame oil into every bowl of their Nantsuttei Ramen (from S$11.90) for that punchy depth and distinct taste profile that stands out from most other tonkotsu broths out there.

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???? 181 Orchard Rd, #07-12/13 Orchard Central, Singapore 238896
???? 11am–10pm (Daily)

15. Tsuta

ramen singapore
Photo: Tsuta Singapore

Famously known for being the first ramen shop to get one Michelin star — a huge feat for a humble ramen shop — Tsuta has become a mainstay of Singapore’s ramen scene ever since it landed on our shores back in 2016.

While their queues aren’t as crazy as they were before, they still serve very hearty bowls of The Original Shoyu Soba (S$16.80) with dashi broth that will warm your tummy right up. Light but with some depth, it comes with an intoxicating kiss of truffle to keep your palate excited. 

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???? Multiple outlets

16. Kanada-Ya

Photo: Kanada Ya Singapore

Hailing from Fukuoka, Kanada-Ya prides itself as offering the No. 1 truffle ramen in the world. The simple yet stunning Truffle Ramen (from S$22.90), which features a tonkotsu base flavoured with aromatic black truffle oil and truffle jelly, is extremely well-loved at its London outposts — a limited number of bowls are available daily.

Don’t fret, ramen purists. For the most authentic Kyushu ramen experience, go for the Kotteri Tonkotsu Ramen (from S$14.90), although I prefer the flavour-packed Gekikara Ramen (from S$16.90), with spicy miso and minced pork — both do a pretty good job in holding their own.

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???? Multiple outlets
???? 11am–10pm (Daily)

17. Tamako Ramen-ya

ramen singapore
Photo: Tamako Ramen-ya

In Singapore, a single bowl of ramen can go up to S$16 or more. In that sense, Tamako Ramen-ya is one of a kind, serving up some of the most affordable ramen you can find.

Prices have increased by S$1 ever since our article was published, but the tried-and-tested Traditional Shoyu Ramen (S$6.80) and Sambal Tonkotsu Ramen (S$6.80) are still very pocket-friendly, served with the customary toppings of seaweed, bamboo shoots, fishcakes, cha shu, and half a ramen egg.

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???? 51 Hougang Ave 9, #01-17 Ci Yuan Community Club Hawker Centre, Singapore 538776
???? 12pm–7pm (Daily)

18. Brothers Ramen

ramen singapore
Photo: @tiara_star/instagram

Brothers Ramen has garnered a loyal fanbase for its generous portions, and thick and creamy chicken collagen-based broth. You can’t go wrong with the Brothers Ramen (S$12.90), which features the signature soup base with pork and chicken chashu, homemade noodles, and menma.

If you’re up for a challenge, the Jiro-style Megamen (S$12.90) is as fun to eat as it is massive, piled with heaps of beansprouts cabbage, seaweed, braised pork, fatty chashu and an oozy-yolked ramen egg.

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???? 10, #01-20 Anson Rd, International Plaza, 079903
???? 11.30m–2.30pm, 6pm–8pm (Mon to Fri), 11.30am–2.30pm (Sat), Closed on Sun

19. Tonkotsu Kazan Ramen

Photo: @bvissar/instagram

A unique dining experience awaits at Tonkotsu Kazan Ramen, which offers an unprecedented style of “volcano ramen”, in which the noodles are placed in a heated stone pot with a cone-shaped lid. The steam from the simmering tonkotsu-based soup rises from the vent at the top — like a volcanic eruption.

Two of the Osaka ramen chain’s most popular hot stone offerings are the Hinomaru Tomato Kazan (from S$15.80), reminscent of the sweet tomato broth you find in hotpot restaurants, and the comforting Kazan Curry (from S$15.80). Portions here are huge, so come hungry.

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???? Multiple outlets

20. Ramen Taisho

ramen singapore
Photo: Ramen Taisho

Formerly located at Maxwell Food Centre, Ramen Taisho is a cosy and relatively hidden neighbourhood eatery dishing out homely bowls of ramen with springy, QQ noodles and juicy chashu. Big and bold flavours take center stage in the fragrant Spicy Black Garlic Tonkotsu Ramen (S$11.80) and Gyokai Tonkotsu Ramen (S$12.80). The latter, a seafood-based broth, is further accentuated by the addition of powdered fish and chilli.

You can also nibble on complimentary beansprouts seasoned with lots and lots of spicy chill oil and wash ’em down with free-flow barley tea as you wait.

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????  4 Bukit Batok Street 41, #01-12 Le Quest Shopping Mall, Singapore 657991
???? 12pm–9pm (Tue to Sun), Closed on Mon

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