January 22, 2014

Tonkotsu Kazan Ramen 豚骨火山ラーメン @ Liang Court ~ A Japanese Volcano Ramen Experience!

A humble meal of soupy noodles takes on a fun note at Tonkotsu Kazan Ramen 豚骨火山ラーメン! Rather than the usual way of simply presenting a bowl of ramen, well, in just a bowl, a server brought to our table a preheated 300°C stone bowl with noodles and assorted ingredients already placed inside, before pouring tonkotsu broth over and covering it with a funnel lid. A great deal of steam is soon released through the top opening, like a volcano going to erupt! That's how Tonkotsu Kazen Ramen got its name ~ 'Volcano Ramen' (kazan means volcano). The origins of its creation can be traced back to Osaka, Japan. Now it can be enjoyed at its two branches at Novena Square 2 and Liang Court in Singapore.

The idea of volcano ramen might come across as a tad gimmicky for some and even I myself questioned if the additional steps at the table actually served to enhance the ramen's flavor in any way. But the heat of the stone bowl kept the broth hotter for a longer time and we did find it entertaining so I guessed the value-added element is still there.

Though it is not considered traditional ramen in strictest sense, I'm not going to start harping on that. Afterall, what we perceived to be traditional now could be considered innovative at their point of inception back then. Who knows, this new and fun volcano ramen might be accepted as traditional or authentic many generations later. So there is no need to be uptight, just loosen up and enjoy the ramen as it is.

And we did enjoyed the volcano ramen! Of the four flavors available, Kazan Shio, Karamiso, Shoyu and Curry, we tried the former two. 

Kazan Shio is a lighter base broth that allows us to taste the essence of the broth, extracted from the finest pork bones after long hours of simmering and enhanced with a special blended salt paste with seafood. It is not as full-bodied as some tonkotsu base I've tasted, but also comparatively less salty and oily in a good way.

My only complaint is that the medium-thin flat noodles, which is freshly made in the restaurant, got soggy too quickly. The resultant texture reminded me of Hokkein fried noodles from those zhi char stalls. Still, casting conventions aside, the ramen when mixed with fresh seafood and generous amount of vegetables like Chinese cabbage, carrots, leeks and beansprouts was overall very comforting, delicious and slurp worthy.

In Kazan Karamiso, homemade spicy miso paste is added to the original tonkotsu broth for those who like it spicy. Not really to the sweat inducing kind of fieriness but nevertheless competently satisfying. The accompanying chashu can perhaps do with a longer braising time for better tenderness.

Serving for the ramen was definitely generous and value for money! The small bowl at $15 should be more than sufficient to curb a growling tummy and the bigger bowl at $18 might even be enough for two people with small appetite. But if you're like a cow with a big stomach holding four compartments, maybe the rice which comes free with every order of ramen will fill you up. Best way to enjoy it? Add the rice to the leftover soup to make delicious Soupy Rice!

We do not have a cow's stomach but ordered the Hot Stone Fried Rice ($6) anyway. True to the server's recommendation, it was indeed delectable! We 'fried' the rice ourselves by giving all the ingredients such as shredded pork and egg in the sizzling hot stone bowl a good mix, before adding a final touch of chilli flakes.

Among the side dishes, we decided on the Tonkotsu Soup Gyoza ($8) for a change. The plump dumplings served in pork broth wasn't too bad but I somehow prefer the usual pan fried version. So with this, I made a mental note to try the Yaki Gyoza ($5) next time, as well as the chicken wings ~ Nagoya Tebasaki ($6) and fried chicken ~ Karaage ($5) too!

If the volacno ramen resembles an volcanic eruption, then the Matcha Shiratama with Ice Cream ($8) sure looks like a huge icy mountain! Dessert is of secondary concern when I'm in a ramen house, but the shaved ice topped with red beans, mochi, ice cream and drenched with macha syrup and sweet condensed milk is welcome as a refreshing end to our meal.

For ramen with a difference, try Tonkotsu Kazan Ramen. Have fun!

Thanks to Tonkotsu Kazan Ramen 豚骨火山ラーメン for the hospitality.

Tonkotsu Kazan Ramen 豚骨火山ラーメン
Website: http://tonkotsukazan.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TonkotsuKazan

Liang Court Singapore
Address: 177 River Valley Road, #01-10, Singapore 179030
Contact: +65 6336 8698
Opening Hours: 11am - 10.30pm Daily

Novena Square 2
Address: 10 Sinaran Drive #02-68/69 Square 2, Singapore 307506
Contact: +65 6397 6636
Opening Hours: 11am - 10pm Daily

1 comment: