When Neon Pigeon extended an invite for us to come by for brunch, I took a quick glimpse at the menu and saw a Duck Confit Ramen — and I was sold. Specifically at the “foie gras paitan broth”. Their chef very patiently explained how the duck-based dashi was boiled for 8 days, finished with some homemade chicken tare, then served with mushrooms, spring onions, napa cabbage, and the tare-glazed chicken. Took my first sip of the broth and oooooh was it utterly sinful, creamy, rich, and concentrated. It was SOOOOO good. And most importantly, it came piping hot. The noods were qq and bouncy, shrooms and crisp veggies added a lovely crunch, and the chicken had a great char and caramelisation (though it was a tad dry at parts). Now, this was a fan-fucking-tastic bowl of noodles; but it wasn’t a mindblowing bowl of ramen. At least not in the “omg this is so shiok imma pour it down my throat” sorta way. It lacked a little je ne sais quoi that’d make an insane ramen, but that’s not to say this wasn’t good. Cause it was a bloody good bowl of noodles. I will not come here looking for good ramen, but I’d make a trip for this The Duck Confit (I don’t wanna call it a ramen cause it’s in a league of its own) Ramen-not-ramen.

I have to admit I’m not the biggest fan of tsukemen (dipping ramen), as in I’d never pick this over the classic ramen, cause I’m a huge fan of having my noods just sitting and nua-ing in the piping hot broth and slurping all that up 🤤buuuuut that said, I gotta admit this Tom Yum Tsukemen was pretty darn good. Noodles were cooked right and held a nice bite; there was a good variety of ingredients for $15.90++ (they had quite a few bamboo shoots!!!); and oof that tom yum broth: serious punch of spices and heat. It genuinely lasted like tom yum which was just 👌🏻👌🏻 I did find the broth a tad too salty though, which makes the messy slurping not as pleasant. Not a major issue though if they could tone down the salt, so I’m defo giving my 👍🏻 for this! The Tom Yum Tsukemen’s limited to 10 a day if I’m not wrong, so be early if you’re planning to have this!

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I kid you not. Among Tokyo’s most popular maze-soba (Japanese dry ramen aka nihon bcm) chain, Menya Kokoro officially landed in Suntec on the 12th this month, dishing up their signature maze-sobas and a couple of Singapore exclusive creations. Each bowl of maze-soba comes topped with their housemade udon noodles, savoury and melt-in-your-mouth slow-braised chashu maze-soba sauce, ground saba fish, oozy creamy poached eggs, nori, chopped garlic and other crunchy veggies. There’s no other way to eat this than to shove your chopsticks in there and just toss it all up: it’s messy, hearty, and downright delish. Keeping this short: go for the Spicy Maze-Soba if you can take the heat, the Original if you can’t, and skip the sides (or get the Takoyaki if you need another chow). They’ve got these bottles of kombu vinegar on each table, take my advice and add a little to your maze-sobas. They add a lovely zing to each bite, keeping it from getting too jelak after awhile.

Take their ramens — this Bone-in Short Rib Ramen in particular. Seems a rip off at $42, but ooooh trust me this hefty portion feeds two and is definitely well worth the buck for the quality you get. I mean seriously take a look at that huge slab of meat?! Red wine-braised short rib that's fall-off-the-hugeass-bone tender and moist, sitting in a rich tonkotsu broth, with springy noodles to help you sop all that goodness up. The only chance you won’t dig this is if you don’t like thick broths.

It's not one for the purists that I can assure you; Sumo Bar Happy's tonkotsu broth's unlike any I've tried elsewhere: it's thicker, richer if possible, shockingly akin to that of Taiwan's 牛肉面. Noodles are cooked 👌🏻 though a tad on the soft side, mix that up with the rich broth, spicy house-marinated beansprouts, toasted seaweed, black fungus, and mmmm epic beyond words. And...free-flow ramen eggs?! Awww man 😍 I tried both the Sumo ($23) and the Oxtail ($21), and though both are very generous with the meats and ingredients, I'd say go for the former so you can have a little of everything.

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The interesting thing about Machida Shoten is how they've built their reputation around "iekei" (meaning "home") ramen. That means thicker noodles reminiscent of our hawker yellow noodles (cooked well nonetheless), spinach, and a tonkotsu-based soup that's hearty, comforting, without feeling too cloying and...well, atas. The Shoyu Tonkutsu comes highly recommended, but I'd say go for their Miso Tonkustu instead: some may find the former a tad too salty, and really the earthy nutty aroma of the latter's excellent 👌🏻

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I've had my fair share of shoyu broths and never found them to be particularly good; but this, I take my hat off to. The clear soup's immensely earthy, fragrant from the abundance of clams and seafood used in creating the dashi base, and no less rich than a tonkotsu base — quite like a good consommé.

Must say I fell head over heels in love with the homely shio soup too! It tasted like something Mama would've made if she were a badass Michelin chef: hearty and comforting. Die-hard Tonkostsu fans, don't knock them till you've tried them.

The Singaporean that I am got super curious about the daily long queues at Buta Ramen; so here's my first go at it. The Spicy Boss Rib Ramen ($14.90) was a bowl of well cooked noodles in a pretty decent tonkutsu broth, with a side of grilled pork ribs topped with yakitori sauce. With that quality at such a reasonable price I can see why it's so popular with the working crowd.

Spending all my time eating (and eating) cause what else is there to do in small 🌞🌞 Singapore?

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