Category Archives: ^ Cuisine – Japan

Bario (Ramen Champion @ Iluma)

This is my second visit to Ramen Champion at Iluma. During the first visit, I tried Tetsu. If you are clueless on Ramen Champion, can read my 1st post.

This time, as we arrived early, there was a short queue (3 people) at Bario (during the previous visit, this stall had a long queue). Hence, decided to try this stall.

More garlic or chilli?

Bario Menu

Bario Menu (Bario Ramen)

Within 5 minutes of queuing (3 people), it was my turn to order. I ordered the Bario Ramen(which is their signature dish) and added a Flavored Boil Egg. In return, I got a ‘land mine’! Another round of waiting!

Land mine

Waited for 15 minutes before the land mine exploded vibrated, signaling that my bowl of ramen is ready.

Bario Ramen $13 + Flavored Boiled Egg $1

Overcooked Flavored Boil Egg

Curly Noodles

The serving of Bario Ramen is not for small eaters. 3 pieces of Char Siew, curly noodles topped with a very generous serving of beansprouts. The beansprout seems much more than the noodles. The beansprouts was crunchy, but with such a big serving of beansprouts, I got quite sick of eating it towards the end. The noodles was thick, hard and curly. Being hard and curly, extra care has to be taken to ensure that my shirt will not be stained. Felt that more noodles could have been given and that each strand could have been thinner. However, to the chef, thick means manly.. The Char Siew was fatty, fragant and with a melt in the mouth sensation. Of course, I did not take all the fats, just one small bite to try as it way too sinful! The Flavored Boil Egg was a disappointment. Way too overcook, yolk was not runny.

The soup based was interesting. Should be pork broth with several other ingredients. But it was overpowered by the flavour of garlic. or should I phrase it that way too much garlic was added by the chef. (you can request for no garlic).

Overall, I am not won over. For the price, it was so-so. Could have been much better. Beats me why there was a long queue previously and during this visit. My  guess is everyone wants to try. But once everyone has tried once, will it be sustainable? Well time will tell. I will try other stalls soon and review them too! If you know any that is nice let me know.

ps: The six Ramen restaurants:
1.IROHA from Toyama
2.BARIO from Tokyo
3.GANTETSU from Sapporo
4.TETSU from Tokyo
5.IKKOSHA from Hakata
6.TAI SHO KEN from Tokyo

Bario (Ramen Champion @ Iluma)
201 Victoria Street
#04-08/09/10 Iluma (Bugis)
Tel: 6238 1011
Opening Hours: Daily 1130 am to 1030 pm

Tetsu (Ramen Champion @ Iluma)

By now you might have heard that there is an ‘Ultimate Ramen Champion Competition‘ happening in Singapore. Six of the best Ramen restaurants from Japan have set up shop in Iluma (Bugis) selling their signature dishes. They will be here for 1 year (1st July 2011 – 30th June 2012) and are competing to be the Ultimate Ramen Champion. 

The six Ramen restaurants here are:
1.IROHA from Toyama
2.BARIO from Tokyo
3.GANTETSU from Sapporo
4.TETSU from Tokyo
5.IKKOSHA from Hakata
6.TAI SHO KEN from Tokyo

Like Marche, a card is given to every singe person who enters. This card is used to pay for your orders at the different stalls. There are 3 cashiers located at the exit and that is where you pay the bill. If you lose the card, you will need to pay $200.

Inside, its free sitting. There are lots of seats available. During lunch time (weekday), it can be quite crowded. There is a queue at almost every stalls. Surprising, it was when we were exiting that had the longest queue. With 3 cashiers (max capacity) operating, the queue was still slow moving.

With 6 different stalls, it is hard to decide what to eat. But no worries, they are here for 1 year. I am sure I will try the rest soon enough. Queues at  Ikkosha, Bario and Iroha were too long. As I was feeling hungry, I decide to go for Tetsu which had a slightly shorter queue.

Tetsu is a Tsukemen stall from Tokyo and was listed as best Tsukeman Ramen by Tokyo Times. It’s concept is to serve the ramen and soup separately. The ramen is then dipped into into the soup. Having been around for 5 years, it has expanded to 15 outlets.

Tetsu Menu (1)

Tetsu Menu (2a)

Tetsu Menu (2b) - Tsukemen

You might have noticed that there are numbers in the Tetsu Menu (2a) and Tetsu Menu (2b). When you order, you can just say the numbers. I ordered (2) + (9) which is Very Rich!Special Paitan Tsukemen  + Flavoured Boiled Egg. In total (queue and wait my food), I waited for 15 minutes.

(2) Very Rich!Special Paitan Tsukemen $12.50 + (9) Flavoured Boiled Egg $2.00

This is the soup for the Very Rich!Special Paitan Tsukemen. Its pork, chicken and seafood broth. If you notice from this picture, there is a thick layer of oil on top of the soup! As the menu states, this is a Very Rich soup do not attempt to drink it as if you are drinking soup. Try a sip first as it is very salty. Could not taste any flavour from the pork, chicken or seafood which was definitely overwhelmed by the saltiness of the soup.

There’s leek, bamboo shoot and a slice of chashu in the soup. Nothing fantastic about the cha shu.


On it’s own, the ramen is dry and tasteless. You can dip the noodles into the soup. For me, I scooped some of the soup into my ramen and mixed it. It was surprisingly delicious. There’s quite a large amount of noodles. Towards the last few mouthful, I felt thirsty due to the saltiness.

Flavored Boiled Egg $2.00

The Flavored Boiled Egg cost $2.00! It was disappointing. Unlike in the menu which shows that the egg yolk was runny, this was way overcooked!

Overall, I find this meal on the high end. There are certainty other places that sells great Japanese food at similar or cheaper price. In this case, the only item that was nice was the ramen. Soup and egg was disappointing. For the soup, it was too salty, maybe this suits the taste bud of the japanese.

Well despite this, I believe I will be back to try the other 5 stalls! After all, I am a foodie! If you have tried any of the stalls and like it do let me know!

Tetsu (Ramen Champion @ Iluma)
201 Victoria Street
#04-08/09/10 Iluma (Bugis)
Tel: 6238 1011
Opening Hours: Daily 1130 am to 1030 pm

Gindaco Takoyaki (ION Orchard)

Ever since ION Orchard was open, there has always been a perpetual long queue at Gindaco Takoyaki. I have always wonder what the fuss was about as there are many other Takoyaki stalls in the heartland malls.

Gindaco Takoyaki from Japan was brought in by ION Food Concept (Basement 4). It has over 300 stalls in Japan and specialises in dishing out Takoyaki and Macha drinks.

Recently, on a weekday afternoon, I noticed that there was only 6 people in the line. What a short queue and it would be the best time to try this out.


Set Menu

Batter being added to the iron grill

Ingredients being added in

Flip them over (so that the other side will be cooked) and kneed into spherical shapes

After the outer crust has turned golden brown in colour, they are taken out and ready to be served.

Gindaco Original Sauce $3.60 (4pieces)

Ordered 4 pieces of Gindaco Original Sauce Takoyaki. Topped with konomiyaki sauce, mayonnaise and shaved dried bonito. Each pieced was cooked till it was golden brown. Expected it to be very crispy similar to Japan Boat Takoyaki. However, when I ate it, I was disappointed as it was not crispy. Thought that this was just an average takoyaki. Moreover, each piece of Takoyaki cost $0.90 yet I felt that Japan Boat’s one was better in terms of taste, texture and even value for money ($0.80 per piece).

One reason for the queue maybe its ideal location. I certainty will not bother to queue for this if the queue gets too long as there is nothing special about this stall.

Gindaco Takoyaki (ION Orchard)
2 Orchard Turn
#B4-64/65 ION Orchard
Tel: 6509 9038
Opening Hours: Daily 10am – 10pm

Other Branches:
Gindaco Takoyaki (Raffles City)
252 North Bridge Road
#B1-54 Raffles City Shopping Centre
Tel:6509 9038
Opening Hours: Daily 10.30am – 9.30pm

Gindaco Takoyaki (Bedok Point)
799 New Upper Changi Road
#03-37 Bedok Point Mall
Tel: 6241 4081
Opening Hours: Daily 10am – 10pm