Perhaps you do not need to fly to Hokkaido just to try their authentic ramen anymore.
Ichikokudo Hokkaido Ramen has arrived at Suntec City Mall, and it is also the first Halal-certified Hokkaido-style ramen restaurant in Singapore.
(Click PLAY for highlights of Ichikokudo Hokkaido Ramen.)
Located at the basement near the Fountain of Wealth, the restaurant serves not only noodles, but an array of donburi, teishoku, sides, desserts and drinks to get you all filled up.
The other good news is, prices are considered affordable and value-for-money, with a bowl of Original Ichikokudo Ramen priced at $9.90. Hard to find in this downtown area.
Ramen has been named as one of the “Hokkaido Heritages” that the Japanese people need to treasure and preserve.
So, you may wonder what is the difference between Hokkaido ramen and say, Hakata style ramen.
While different regions have signature styles, Hokkaido ramen generally has a thick, creamy broth, seasoned with soy sauce, salt or miso-based sauce for those added flavours, whereas the Hakata-style typically has a tonkotsu broth.
To keep the taste of their bowls as authentic as possible, Ichikokudo Hokkaido Ramen uses noodles produced exclusively using Hokkaido wheat for that the noodles are firm with a pleasant texture; kelp from Hokkaido is used in the soup stock for that added umami; butter directly-imported from Hokkaido; and adds aosa seaweed to evoke the feel of the Hokkaido sea.
The menu is really extensive, so here are some of the 10 recommended items you can try from Ichikokudo Hokkaido Ramen: (Prices are subject to GST & service charge.)
Ichikokudo Ramen – Original ($9.90)
I like to start with the most basic signature bowl if it is my first time in that ramen shop, and the original Shoyu Ramen happens to be one of my favourites as well.
The rich broth is cooked by slowly simmering chicken bones daily. Sit by the counter as you can see one of their chefs painstakingly stirring the whole container of broth, and smell some of that soup aroma.
Because there is shoyu added, along with that ‘sea flavour’ present in the broth, some diners may find it slightly on the salty side, though the creamy base helps balance that off.
Another component that I enjoyed was the noodles itself – long and thin (my preferred type), with a satisfactory chewy bite. Not too heavy even if you finish an entire bowl.
Hokkai Jigoku Smoked Duck Ramen ($15.90)
“Jigoku-dani” is the name of a famous volcano in Hokkaido, and this ramen is so named to reflect the fieriness of the bowl.
So it came in that vibrant red-coloured soup cooked with spicy miso.
The moment of truth. I actually thought the spiciness was quite manageable, say a level 2 out of 5? If you need to feel that shiok-ness, mix in more of the accompanying chilli powder.
Another reason why there are other vegetable-based ingredients such as corn, black fungus, boiled vegetables, shredded white leek is to balance out the heat.
The noodles used are different – thicker (which reminded me of Hokkien mee), so that it works better with the red-hot soup base.
Other than the original Hokkai Jigoku Ramen, you can choose the recommended Smoked Duck version, or signature “Gifts from The Sea” which is a bountiful bowl with crab leg, shrimps and scallops.
Ichi Beef Ramen ($12.90)
For beef lovers, this Shoyu-based bowl comes with Sukiyaki-styled beef slices and seasoned bamboo shoots (menma), added with a delicious flavoured ajitama egg with a slight-runny centre.
Hokkai Clams Ramen ($14.90)
This was the favourite ramen choice of a couple of friends, reason being that the soup base had this sweet seafood-freshness; and the creaminess of the Hokkaido butter beautifully complemented the flavours.
Have it with clams (there are plenty of them), shrimps, hotate (shell-on-scallops), or “Gifts from The Seas” which includes crab leg, shrimps and scallops.
Daichi Tomato Ramen with Cheese ($12.90)
Compared to the rest, this is the more Western-tasting, and perhaps funky bowl that could remind some of pasta due to the tomatoes.
The soup base is added with tomato puree and fresh tomatoes to provide that tanginess and sweetness, elevated by fried garlic chips.
That is not all. You can choose the ‘safer’ ingredients such as fresh clams or beef; or be unconventional by adding that fluffy scrambled egg (in soup) or the cheese version with shredded cheese, parmesan cheese and chicken chashu.
Japanese Style Beef Yakiniku Don ($12.90)
Since Gyu-Don is one of the trendy food items in Singapore this year.
This bowl contained Japanese-style grilled beef slices, on a bed of Japanese white rice drizzled with a special blend of sweet sauce. Break that runny soft-boiled egg which further moisten the meat.
Hokkai Salmon Ikura Don ($16.90)
For salmon lovers, this contains ‘salmon 3-ways’, including fresh salmon, lightly broiled salmon and salmon roe (ikura).
Also included are pickled ginger, shredded dried seaweed, chopped green onion, shredded white leek and miso soup.
If Ikura is your thing, get the Hokkai Special Ikura Don ($19.90) to satisfy your ultimate roe cravings.
Chicken Cutlet Don ($10.90)
The family-favourite and comforting choice of fried breaded chicken cutlet cooked in a sweet and savoury dashi broth, further thickened with egg.
Japanese Special Tartar Sauce Karaage Don ($10.90)
Other than ramen, Ichikokudo also provides a range of donburi.
It seems like Chicken Karaage is one of their strengths, with the offering of 3 related bowls – Japanese Garlic Karaage Don, Korean Spicy Karaage Don, and Special Tartar Sauce Karaage Don.
Indeed, their deep-fried chicken which is freshly fried-to-order, is more chunky than usual, and rather moist and juicy.
Even if you do not order it in a donburi, I would recommend ordering the Karaage as a side (add on $4.50) to complete the meal.
Other sides available include Boiled Gyoza, Grilled Gyoza, Big Ebi Fry, Hokkaido Butter Clams, and Chicken Wings.
Assorted Hokkaido Milk Ice Cream with Warabimochi and Red Beans ($4.90)
A meal is only complete with desserts, especially when Hokkaido is well-known for its quality dairy products.
Get the trio of Vanilla, Strawberry and Matcha ice cream made with 100% Hokkaido milk, with chewy jelly-like chilled warabi mochi and red beans.
One thing good about Ichikokuko Hokkaido Ramen is that it has quite a large space, to even accommodate families and big groups of friends.
There are also various seating arrangements, from the ramen counter bar where you can watch the chefs in action; the long tables behind; or in the Tatami corner to make you feel like you are in Japan – just remember to remove your shoes!
Ichikokuko Hokkaido Ramen
Suntec City Mall #B1-135 North Wing, 3 Temasek Boulevard, Singapore 038983
Tel: +65 6273 0048
Opening Hours: 11am – 10pm, Last Order 9pm (Mon – Sun)
* This entry is brought to you in partnership with Ichikokuko Hokkaido Ramen.