Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Ramen Hokkaido Santouka - Awesome Pork, Decent Ramen.

So anyways, after the previous blogpost on what I thought to be the best Ramen we've tried so far, I had a question on how it compares to Hokkaido Ramen Santouka. Santouka is another pretty accomplished ramen chain, with dozens of outlets in Japan and a dozen more in the USA, Canada, Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia.

Having never been there, the darling and I head over to the outlet in The Central, hidden away in a 2nd floor corner behind a Nasi Padang shop to try. Like any Singaporean food outlet worth its salt, there's a queue to get in; but thankfully this one is rather short at about 15 minutes (on a weekday night).

What's made Santouka rather famous is of course its' Tokusen Toroniku Ramen, which is slices of tender braised pork cheek (the advertising materials claim that each pig only yields 300gm of this prized meat) in your choice of shio (salt), shoyu (soy sauce), miso, or spicy miso soup base.

I have to admit that the pork cheek was uber tender, and with a layer of fat that just melts away in your mouth. Extremely awesome, and by far the best pork-meat-type accompaniment I've ever had with a bowl of ramen. However, the 'edges' of the pork (the brown areas in the photo) are very salty, and so depending on your level of sodium resistance it could very well be too salty.

The noodles and soup flavor, however, falls short of the brilliance of Ippudo. You do get a lot more soup and a lot more noodle, but the noodles turned a little too soggy for our tastes halfway through, and the shoyu base that we tried was also a tad bit on the salty side.

At SGD19.50 per bowl (add SGD1.00 for spicy miso flavor and another SGD1.50 for an egg), Santouka doesn't seem cheap but it's got comparable value for money due to the generous serving size. The braised pork cheek also doesn't disappoint! Definitely go with the miso soup base though, because the saltiness of the pork combined with the saltiness of the shio and shoyu bases resulted in the darling and I having a slight sodium overload.

Overall we liked the generous serving size, the pork and the relatively short queue; but for overall taste and quality our vote still stays with Ippudo as Singapore's best Ramen (for now).

Hokkaido Ramen Santuoka has two outlets in Singapore - one in The Central (Clarke Quay MRT) and the other in Orchard Cuppage Terrace (Somerset MRT). Non Halal.

Our Ramen Rankings:
Superb!: Ippudo & Santouka
Delicious!: Nantsuttei, Tampopo & Keisuke Tonkotsu King
Solid: Shin-Sapporo, Keisuke, Gantetsu, Gensuke, Riki, Ikkousha & Bario
Below Average: Marutama, Menya Musashi & Menya Iroha


  1. We liked Santouka in KL too but Goku Raku is our fave now!

  2. Goku Raku? According to the website, only one outlet in Mid Valley, no? Gotta go try it next time I'm in KL :D

  3. Goku Raku Ramen's soup (both signature and tonkotsu) rather oily, similar to Marutama but slightly worse, and the large portion is just about the small/mid size portion of Santouka. Taste wise, it doesn't have the classy taste like Santouka, noodle doesn't absorb the soup like Santouka either. What's weird about Goku Raku is that there're some black pepper like stuff under the soup (pork bone debris? lacking proper filtering?).

    Santouka is still the best in KL compared to Goku Raku and Marutama, well, IMHO.

    1. I'm not sure if the KL outlet tastes exactly the same as the SG outlet, but in my last couple of trips to the SG outlet I thought the soup base was getting WAY too salty. The pork cheek also salty, soup also salty was a bit too much salt ...