Walking along the streets of Singapore’s prime CBD area in the direction of Lau Pa Sat, Men-Tei Ramen hides behind a pillar. Not too fortunate for a restaurant, I reckon.
If you saw this across the street (just like me), you would have been utterly confused. I have absolutely 0 clue as to why the sandwich shop banner is not atop its shop. It also did not help that the lighting was dim as compared to that of its’ neighbour. In any case, Men-Tei Ramen restaurant is situated beside the sandwich shop.
Recently published in the news, Men-Tei’s Founding Co-Partner, Chef Jason Lim fell in love with ramen during a trip to Japan 10 years ago. He subsequently decided to learn the art of mastering the basic yet comforting dish at Yamato Noodle School. Armed with the skills of whipping up bowls of ramen, he opened Men-Tei in 2007. It almost sounds like the perfect love story, doesn’t it? So, I had to go down and try it for myself!
Gyoza is like the must-have side for me whenever I have my dose of ramen. So, inevitably, the Japanese Pork Gyoza was the CHOSEN ONE! 🙂 I didn’t have high expectations for the gyozas at all since nothing much has been mentioned on the article about their sides. But.. BOY WAS I IMPRESSED. SO IMPRESSED.
This plate of gyozas is like the BEST i’ve ever eaten before. I’m not sure if i’m exaggerating but if you happen to go down and try this and you have another place to recommend for better gyozas, do leave a comment down below. IN ALL SERIOUSNESS THOUGH, these pan fried gyozas have thin crunchy skins and the meat within them is so. so. flaVOURFUL! As you dip your gyoza into the vinegar and bite into it, you can taste the slight burst of oil in your mouth followed by layers and layers of sweetness as you chomp on the meat.
The rule of the thumb (usually & generally for me) is if the title states “Original” / “Signature”, the dish should be one that the shop is especially confident in. That is also how I usually make my decisions in cafes/restaurants. The wait for my order wasn’t too long at all, so that’s a plus for me! (although it may be because there were no other customers LOL)
A taste of the broth and you’ll find yourself looking puzzled. Not exactly the typical aroma that you get with a bowl of tonkotsu. This broth is filled strongly with the aroma of pork that lingers. The noodles are thin and hard but of course you can request if you prefer soft noodles instead! 🙂 The texture of the noodles aren’t particularly satisfying though. As for the Cha Shu, the fat to meat ratio is perfect! I don’t usually like the fats as sometimes the fats portion is too thick. However, the layer of fats that surround the lean meat is thin yet sufficient. Tender and soft to the bite, it definitely complements the noodles! The addition of black fungus helps to create a different dimension to the bowl of ramen with its super chewy and crunchy traits. The egg is a little disappointment though as there’s still parts of the yolk which are hard. A little less fire time could have done the trick. As I ate more and more, it gradually hits me that the taste of this bowl of ramen is actually pretty average.
FINAL VERDICT: 3/5
Not the most convenient place to get to (unless you’re working in the Tanjong Pagar area of course!), pretty average tasting ramen with above average cha shu. I’d think that Ippudo or Sanpoutei are better alternatives. Nevertheless, the plate of gyozas will definitely make it a worthwhile visit!
Address: 61 Robinson Rd, Singapore 068893
Nearest MRT: Tanjong Pagar/ Telok Ayer
Opening Hours: 1100-1500 on weekdays