When I first tried the Nissin instant tantanmen made in collaboration with one Michelin-starred Nakiryu Ramen for the first time (after trying my luck at many 7-Eleven stores in Hokkaido, Japan), I was hooked.
To this day, it still stands as the best and most legit-tasting Japanese instant ramen I’ve ever had.
And now, you will finally get to try the real deal, as Nakiryu has officially opened its first-ever international outlet here at Plaza Singapura.
Nakiryu was the second ramen restaurant in Japan (after Tsuta) to receive a Michelin Star in 2017, and they’ve retained it ever since.
Situated on the second level of the mall, this casual and homely 75-seater restaurant is a far cry from the tiny ramen shop in Tokyo, which sits 10 diners at any given time. It may not be as charming as the OG, but at least you won’t have to wait too long.
Nakiryu is best known for its signature Sichuan-inspired dan dan noodles, so we obviously had to order the Tan Tan Men (S$15.90).
The secret to Chef Kazumasa Saito’s signature ramen lies with the broth, which comprises a mix of whole chicken, beef bones, oysters, and kombu in a single pot. Additional layers of flavour are added in the form of home-grown sesame paste and chilli sauce, along with black and apple vinegar.
The end result? A thick, rich, and intensely nutty broth that is soaked up by the handmade dan dan noodles and minced meat.
Do note that you may start feeling jelak after downing half the bowl — it can get a tad salty for some. We urge you to come extra hungry (and order a piping hot cup of Hoji Tea at S$1.90 on the side) if you want to fully enjoy the creamy broth and generous portion of noodles.
Although you can also order the famous Shoyu Ramen (S$14.90) and Shio Ramen (S$14.90) — a variation with Prawn Wanton (S$17.90) is also available — we decided to go for the unique Hot and Sour Soup Ramen (S$15.90), otherwise known as Sanramen.
Much like the Chinese spicy and sour noodles (suan la fen), this comprised the same springy dan dan noodles in a translucent broth topped with a layer of chilli oil, spring onions, and lots of sesame seeds.
It was well-balanced, flavour-wise, without being too spicy or puckeringly sour, serving as the perfect (and refreshing, even) counterpart to the richer tan tan men.
Ramen aside, you can also find a selection of small side dishes, some more enticing than others.
The Yodare Dori (S$5.90), which translates to “mouthwatering chicken” in Japanese, consists of steamed chicken and cucumbers served chilled in a spicy chilli oil concoction. It definitely helped to whet the appetite and cleanse the palate; I especially loved the gelatinous skin that reminded me of our beloved Hainanese chicken.
We also ordered the moreish Te-Ba Gyoza (S$8.90), fried chicken wings stuffed with a meaty gyoza filling served alongside a sweet chilli dip. They were decent, if not a tad too greasy, but otherwise forgettable.
But if you could only order one side dish, it has to be the unassuming-looking Boiled Gyoza (S$6.90), juicy, plump, thinly wrapped dumplings sitting pretty in a pool of vinegar.
All things considered, Nakiryu is indeed worth the hype, but I wouldn’t queue any longer than half an hour for both the ramen and side dishes. We highly recommend waiting for the queues to die down a little before you visit.
Will you be heading down for a taste of Michelin-starred tan tan men?
📍68 Orchard Rd, #02-35, Plaza Singapura, Singapore 238839
🕒 11.30am–10pm (Daily)
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