Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Ramen Santouka

Heard many good things about Santouka or らーめん 山頭火 since its opening at Central a couple of months back so popped by for dinner one weekend. Santouka originates from Hokkaido and has a chain of about 50 stores in Japan. Their shio (salted) ramen has been praised by many as one of the best around.


Hidden in an obscure corner of Central just behind Grains, Santouka occupies a small dining area which overlooks Clarke Quay and the river. Sitting capacity probably peaks at about 30 pax so queues are a common sight. Just for the record, I had to wait for a good 25 mins for a table at 745pm on a Saturday evening.

Char Siew Rice Shio

This came as a set consisting of char siew rice, char siew ramen (shio) and an egg. Honestly, the ramen looked like instant noodles to me but thankfully, it tasted a whole lot better - springy and light. The milky pork base broth was rather rich and intense in flavour and had a very distinctive pork taste. Not that its really a good thing though because it made me nauseous after a while. The char siew slices were a little too soft for my liking and it didn't help that they were salty.
The char siew rice was average, but at least the rice helped to neutralise the saltiness of the char siew. As for the egg, I've never eaten such stuff before but I didn't quite take to it as the texture of the egg white was a little jelly like, which turned me off.

Toro Niku Shio Ramen

Toro Niku is precious cheek meat from a pig and is said to have the right amount of fat and tenderness. I agree to a certain extent. Right amount of fat, yes. Tenderness, a little too tender if you ask me. And it was plain salty which made me uneasy after a while. It definitely didn't help that the broth was rich. Salty and milky equals a recipe for nausea, for me at least. As with the char siew shio ramen, the ramen itself was springy and light.

Tokusen Toroniku

This was a side order of the pork cheek, which did seem like a mistake after all. A little too tender and salty, just like the ones that came with the Toro Niku Shio Ramen. And $8 for 6 slices of meat isn't exactly value for money honestly.


Dinner for 2 came up to a nice round figure of $50 and we walked out feeling nauseous. That's too much milky and salty stuff for you. In all fairness, the ramen was actually very decent but I still prefer Tampopo's rendition, if anything, for the pork. For me, once is enough. I really don't fancy queuing up for 30 mins just to have a go at Santouka again.

Likes: Ramen is quite decent
Dislikes: Long queues, food in general not my cup of tea, not cheap

Final Verdict:

Value for money:6/10


Address: #02-76 The Central

Contact: 6224 0668

Opening Hours: Daily: 11.00am - 9.30pm

Website: http://www.santouka.co.jp/


Anonymous said...

50 bucks for just ramen.. is a bit steep. .even for me.

Anonymous said...

Hello Timeless Facade,

I saw your food blog, and you mentioned a couple of ramen restaurants. I read that you like ramen, but don't like salty soup.

Debbie and I (Andy) (a bro and sis pair) are importing some ramen noodles with soup base packs to Singapore, and they are of similar taste to those ramen soup noodles you get from a typical Japanese restaurant.

We hope Singaporeans (maybe Malaysians as well in the future) will have access to value for money and tasty ramen soup noodles at home in comfort and convenience :)
(1 pack is for 2 person).

I wonder if you would like to try some, I can send a complimentary pack for you to taste. :) I've tried salty ramen soup before, but this soup base is not salty.

My email is andy.wong@apexgroupasia.com, and I can send you the photos as well.

-Andy Wong

Anonymous said...

Below $20 for a ramen is market price. If u want something cheaper, u should go to food courts or coffee shops or hawker centres. With our GST & service charge @ 17%, how cheap can the total bill be?

As a chinese saying goes -- u get a cent worth of a cent u pay.

fatpig said...

Hi Anonymous,

tell me, who determines market price? ;) And the value proposition to everyone is different hence what may be reasonable to you might not hold for others.

Cheers :)