The famous Kyoto Famous Menbaka Fire Ramen (which is also the world’s first) is located at The Centrepoint mear Somerset MRT station (it has moved out of Cineleisure Orchard Level 5).
This is the brand’s the first and only international outlet.
You would have seen videos of Menbaka Fire Ramen over social media, in which diners sit around the counter in anticipation, with their bowls lighted up with big flames.
Ah, that shocked expressions on their faces. And eye brows remaining intact.
The famed ramen shop first opened in 1984 near Nijo Castle, by ramen master Masamichi Miyazawa who spent many years learning the ropes of ramen making.
The shop is currently is helmed by master Miyazawa’s son, Shin Miyazawa who brings along fiery passion – and he can speak casual English so you can always strike up a conversation if you see him.
Here’s what so special about Menbaka Fire Ramen: it is piled with abundant Kujo-Negi (green onions). After which, signature negi onion oil will be poured over the ramen bowl, which creates this tall, dramatic fire.
Pouring the burning oil just before eating, apparently helps to bring out the aroma and flavour of the green onions.
The ‘instagrammable’ (well technically, there wasn’t Instagram when this became famous already) factor of big flames and its rich, fragrant broth made the ramen a hit, attracting tourists all over the world to visit this humble shop.
Do not worry about the fire, as no diners have ever been injured in their restaurant before. Over in the Singapore outlet, there is a specially-installed kitchen exhaust to draw flames away from the direction of diners.
Your handphones would be mounted on selfie-stands at the back of the counter. The chef will hit record button capturing your expressions (if you need something #forthegram).
Here’s what you can expect from Menbaka Ramen Singapore:
Shoyu Fire Ramen ($17.90)
For this is your first time to Menbaka, that I would recommend trying this signature. The same shoyu used in the Kyoto main store is incorporated, specially imported from Tatsuno in Hyogo prefecture. The brand has been manufacturing soy sauce for 220 years.
As for the signature broth, it is created by simmering chicken bones for several hours.
An original blend of katsuobushi (bonito flakes) and sababushi (mackerel flakes) are also added to create that rich, umami flavour. The chicken would provide that savoury fresh flavour, while the fish gives a light aroma and more layered taste when you take sips.
The noodles are also not quite the usual style we are accustomed to, which is made-to-order Japanese-meet-Chinese style noodles, accordingly lower in hydration. This noodle type is said to match best with the soup.
The two things that stand out for me were the negi and the heat. The green onions are locally farmed, specially sourced from a local Japanese supplier.
There was a pile of it, refreshing and crunchy-sweet which helped balance out any greasiness. The broth stayed almost warm throughout the meal (plus not overly salty), giving the feeling of comfort to the belly.
Diners can add ajitama egg ($3), charred butter corn ($3), extra chashu ($3.50 for 2 pieces) and extra noodles ($3). Or choose any two add-on items for $5.
Vegetarian Fire Ramen ($16.90)
The Vegetarian Fire Ramen works on the same principle, except that the soup had that cleaner taste, with more pronounced flavours from the shoyu.
Kara Miso Fire Ramen (Spicy) ($19.90, additional ajitama egg at $3)
This Singapore-exclusive dish is born out of the locals’ love for spicy food.
The ramen is prepared using chicken and soy bean broth brewed over several hours, added with Kara Miso (spicy fermented bean paste).
I was quite pleasantly surprised with its level of spiciness (would say it is a 7 or 7.5 out of 10), a notch above the average and gave quite a punch at the start.
As I continued drinking, the spiciness didn’t bother me that much anymore, and I liked how tasty and flavourful the broth was – not overly rich or salty, and very palatable.
Tonkotsu Fire Ramen ($19.90)
This Tonkotsu Fire Ramen exclusive to the Singapore outlet, because yes, Singaporeans love that rich and creamy pork-boned broth.
Compared to other more familiar tonkotsu brands, this broth came across more muted and not as thick.
In terms of fondness, those who like that milky mouthfeel can order this; but I found the Shoyu version having more character.
Kyoto Menbaka Fried Rice ($9.90)
You may wonder why come to a ramen restaurant to have Fried Rice?
If you have space or intend to make a repeat visit, order this.
The fried rice is cooked Master Miyazawa’s special recipe, using fluffy Japanese short-grained rice, with fragrant egg flavour and wok-hei (yes).
And the negi works well here, giving it that added crunch.
Charcoal Karaage ($9.90)
Other than ramen, there is also a range of delectable sides to order. I am not sure how black enhances the Chicken Karaage, but the draw was in the citrusy wasabi sauce (instead of the usual mayo) which gave it a bright surprise.
The usual crispy inhouse Karaage goes for $7.90.
The pan-fried Gyoza here were decent – appropriately crisp and juicy. There is also a vegetarian version available.
In-house Chashu Croquette ($5.90 for 3 pcs)
NEW on the 2021 menu is this Chashu Croquette. While the pieces look like the usual potato croquette with golden-brown panko breadcrumbs exterior, it is until you bite on the inside that you realise the magic.
Soft and creamy potato mash added with Menbaka’s specially marinated chashu, best dipped in some of the wasabi mayo sauce.
Kyoto Matcha Beer ($14.90)
For drinks, there are the refreshing Kyoto Matcha Beer ($14.90) and Hot Matcha Latte ($8.90).
Both are made using premium Matcha powder from Uji. I am not the biggest fan of the earthy-tasting Matcha Beer as I enjoy Asahi for its light-body and subtle sweetness, but you can always give this a try.
Reserve a table via WhatsApp +65 8218 9236.
Menbaka Fire Ramen Singapore
The Centrepoint #01-53, 176 Orchard Road, Singapore 238843
Opening Hours: 12pm – 10pm (Mon – Thurs), 11:30am – 11pm (Fri – Sat), 11:30am – 10pm (Sun)
* This entry is brought to you in partnership with Menbaka Fire Ramen Singapore.