Tonkotsu King: King of Ramen in Singapore

Tonkotsu King [1 Tras Link, Orchid Hotel Singapore, near Tanjong Pagar MRT]photo421734860863940550

And so our latest adventure brings us to the city of Tanjong Pagar, just behind the Duxton flats and Tanjong Pagar MRT. Tonkotsu King, in our opinion, serves the best ramen in Singapore. You can see the queue still going strong at 8.30pm.

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While waiting, a waiter will pass you a slip of paper to place your orders. The beauty of this shop is that they specialize in one type of broth – Tonkotsu (Pork Bone).

Why are there 3 options then?

Black Spicy Tonkotsu and Red Spicy Tonkotsu are basically the Tonkotsu version with added Chilli spices (Black or Red Chilli paste). The beauty about one dish restaurants is that they are really good at what they’re doing because they do the same thing day in and day out.

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After a 15 minute wait, we’re ushered through the doors of Tonkotsu King. Okay, we lie. There’s no door, it’s just a cloth that’s taken as a door, just like in Japan.

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Here’s the interior. The table facing the counter takes in about 3 people. There are 2 tables on the left, another 3 tables on the right. No wonder the queue is long.

However it’s a cosy place and it seems to bring you back a few decades. Looking at old Japanese posters, and a Chow Yun Fat lookalike on the left hand side of the picture.. makes you feel like a Japanese digging into a hot bowl of ramen after a hard day work in the coal mines. 

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Before the ramen comes, you’re free to eat as much appetizers as possible. It’s part of the package. We usually don’t eat beansprouts, this is probably the only place we both eat 3 dishes of beansprouts. Not because it’s free, but we like the marination: a mix of chili, sesame oil and salt. It complements and cover the raw taste that beansprouts normally have.

The Green Tea Cola is also a must-order. It captures the same happiness that normal Coke gives, but there’s a tinge of green tea fragrance that comes as an aftertaste. You taste the sugar, and then smell the sweetness of the green tea afterwards. They should sell this everywhere, it’ll be an instant success.

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Soon after, the main dish arrives. As you can see, we spent a grand total of 1 minute taking this photo because we can’t wait anymore. The Char Siew was soft and melts in your mouth (a first!) and the noodles were springy and has adopted the taste of its surrounding soup.

The soup itself has the unmistakeable taste of umami and collagen, produced probably by boiling large amount of pork bones until it melts into a pot of delightful goodness. There is a milky taste behind the initial saltiness, creating another layer of taste and texture. I suppose there’s very little MSG added, because I don’t feel thirsty after drinking the soup.

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Ramen eggs are always special because the outside somewhat taste like a mixture of egg and milk, but the inside is runny yolk. I have a special spot for runny yolks and I wish that this one could have been runnier. Perhaps it had a flu jab. (okay not funny)

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A hearty meal, with all the soup polished off. However, I have to add that one bowl of soup is just right. Anymore, you will feel the gelatness setting in.

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However if you find that you have extra soup left, and extra space left in your stomach, you can ask for a kaedamaOr “add noodles” in Singaporean terms. One full bowl of noodles cost $2, and half a bowl cost $1. They’ll serve the noodles in a small bowl which you will then join them with your remaining soup. A younger me would have done it, but I was full and satisfied with one bowl!

After visiting this place for close to 4 years, I am still convinced that this is probably the best ramen place in town. If you have the time, do give it a try. It’s worth it! We spent $10.80 on noodles and $2.50 for egg. One person should pay about $15. Green tea coke costs $2.50 (discount).

Tonkotsu King [1 Tras Link, Orchid Hotel Singapore, near Tanjong Pagar MRT]

New place, Old taste: Buona Vista Rd Duck Rice

South Buona Vista Rd Famous Teochew Duck Rice [16 Sam Leong Rd, Nearest MRT Farrer Park]

Back when we were studying in University, we used to head over to a small restaurant in Buona Vista Rd near the 99 bends. It is a household name but the owner retired a few years back. So apparently one of the cooks/relatives revived the business and that’s what we ate today!

 This is just at the corner of Sam Leong Rd, near Mustafa. It’s not difficult to find if you were to walk from Mustafa.

 We ordered duck portion for two, tofu and eggs. The rice was fragrant with duck sauce, with bits of yam still present. The eggs were well marinated with duck sauce of course and the tofu was as usual, soft, but pretty much the same everywhere else.

The star of the day is the duck. The special part about their duck is that there’s no chewy texture in which one would associate with duck meat. It had a nice meaty but tender texture, something like well shredded meat. The sauce goes very well with the meat, with a tinge of herbal ingredients combining well with the savoury sauce.  I’m no duck rice expert, but I suppose the main taste was preserved in this new stall.

We paid $16.70 for everything.  One plate of duck rice should cost $3.50.

Note that they are closed on Thursdays and they close by 5pm daily. So come early to avoid disappointment!

South Buona Vista Rd Famous Teochew Duck Rice [16 Sam Leong Rd, Nearest MRT Farrer Park]

Happiness in a bowl of Soup: Kway Teow in Johor, Malaysia

Restoran Xing Ho [24, Medan Nusa Perintis 7, Gelang Patah, Malaysia 81550]

The Kway Teow Soup in Malaysia is very different from the one in Singapore. For a start, it has more ingredients and the soup is more flavourful. My parents discovered this gem of a Kway Teow Stall in Johor, about a 15 min drive from Tuas Checkpoint in Singapore.

It is not difficult to navigate from Singapore. Simply drive towards the Tuas Second Link, go through the necessary documentations, then drive down 4km till you see the Gelang Patah Exit. Just turn left and you’ll see Taman Nusa Perintis. Of course, I’ll recommend you use a GPS and key in the address found above.

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Taken from Google Maps, because I was famished. Tardy, I know.

This is how the place looks like. It is a series of shop houses (with other delicious food), and this is the stall in name. Restoran Xing Ho. The small rectangular metal corner houses the kitchen, which holds some of the most delicious broth I’ve tasted.

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I ordered the Kway Teow Seafood (RM9.50, SGD$3.40) and a bowl of Oyster Soup (RM9, SGD 3.20). As you can see, the Kway Teow Seafood in front consists of Kway Teow, Fish Balls, Fish, Pork slices, Prawns, Oysters, Fish Cake and a piece of Abalone. The Oyster Soup behind is made up of Oysters, and vegetables. All soups are topped up with shallots and spring onions.

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This is the Kway Teow soup taken from another angle. Due to the sheer amount of ingredients being added into the soup, the soup adopts a multi-layered taste. From the umami of the pork, to the taste of the sea from the oysters, the prawns and the fishes, topped up with the fragrance of the fried shallots and spring onion, the soup is a wonderful combination of all the nice tastes you could find in different types of soup. This is a classic example of synergy, different flavours coming together to produce a greater result.

And all these for SGD 3.50! Where do you find so many ingredients housed within the same bowl for that amount! I think if I were to procure these ingredients myself, it would definitely be double the cost! Of course, you get even more savings with the JB fuel for your car after you’re done fuelling yourself physically.

So here it is, one of my most favourite Kway Teow soup places, making its debut into this blog. Do check it out when you have the time to. Once you try it, there’s no looking back!

Restoran Xing Ho [24, Medan Nusa Perintis 7, Gelang Patah, Malaysia 81550]