Saturday, August 10, 2013

Event & Contest: Ultimate Ramen Champion 2013 Singapore

Earlier this month, I attended the Ultimate Ramen Champion 2013 Singapore media event which was held at Bugis+. Yet another round of Japanese food tasting! I'm happy I could still taste yummy Jap food even back here in Singapore~ ^∇^

THREE NEW CONTENDERS TAKE ON IKKOUSHA as the ULTIMATE RAMEN CHAMPION 2013 SINGAPORE kicks off
Singapore, August 2013 - IKKOUSHA defends its title of ULTIMATE RAMEN CHAMPION for Year 2012 – 1st August 2012 to 31st July 2013. The reigning Champion moved 118,500 bowls of ramen to emerge the clear winner.

Come second is Gantetsu, who sold 64,300 and they were followed by Bario who sold 60,600 All in all, the 8 competing brands sold a total of 423,300. Such numbers underline the steady popularity of ramen amongst food-loving Singaporeans.

This August marks the exciting 3rd edition of the ULTIMATE RAMEN CHAMPION SINGAPORE. The 2013 edition sees 3 new competitors from Tokyo: Muso, Menban Yamagishi Kazuo and Buta God. These brands have stormed into Singapore with their own speciality ramen; Muso’s Special Cha Cha Ramen, Menban Yamagishi Kazuo’s Special Ramen and Buta God’s Nikumashi Ramen have come to stake their claim as Singapore’s best. Muso’s broth is rich in pork fat and gives it a unique flavour that appeals. Buta God’s broth has a hint of sweetness while Menban Yamagishi Kazuo’s broth doesn’t stick to the noodles. Each of them believe that their special blend will provide a stern test for the champion.

All eyes will be eager to see if the new contenders can derail the champion and claim the title for themselves. The fresh challengers provide an element of mystery and give this year’s competition with an interesting edge. Alongside the newcomers will be experienced contenders: Gantetsu, Bario, Taka No Tsume, Keishoken and Riki. Double champions or no, Ikkousha will have a hard fight on their hands if they want to keep their title.

Over the period of a year, from 1st August 2013 to 31st July 2014, these 9 stalls will strive to sell as many bowls of ramen as they can. Taka No Tsume, Keishoken and Riki will have stalls based out of Ramen Champion’s outlet at Changi Airport Terminal 3 while the remaining 6 will compete from stalls in the Bugis+ outlet. 

Despite facing eager opposition, the reigning champion is quietly confident. “There is a lot of competition this year and it is refreshing to see so many chefs compete for the title. However, every chef has their distinctive ways of preparing their signature ramen dishes,” says Chef Kousuke Yoshimura. “For Ikkousha, we believe that as long as we put our hearts and soul into making a bowl of good ramen, the rest will fall into place.”

The unique element of voting puts a unique power in the hands of the customers. Fully aware that Singapore is a food haven, there is keen interest to bring the best to the locals’ discerning palettes and it is no doubt that each ramen brand believes theirs to be the one to intrigue and entice taste buds, allowing them to emerge victorious in this year’s championship.   
 

Here are the 6 stores at Bugis+: MUSO, BARIO, GANTETSU, IKKOUSHA, MENBAN YAMAGISHI KAZUO & BUTA GOD
 

The background looks so awesome! I always loved Japanese traditional vector graphics done in the modern way~ (and the traditional way too~) ^_^ Maybe because I'd read a lot of Ranma 1/2 & many other Jap manga last time that made me love basically almost everything about Japan & its culture. ^,^

Interviewing the three contenders - Muso, Menban Yamagishi Kazuo and Buta God.

Bario, Gantetsu, Ikkousha waiting for the announcement of the winner of the Ultimate Ramen Champion 2012.

The six chefs with Tashiro san, Producer of Ramen Champion Singapore.

 Winner of the Ultimate Ramen Champion 2012 is Ikkousha!


Ramen Tasting for 6 Contenders @ Bugis+
Time to dig in! ^o^

MUSO Special Cha Cha Ramen
From Tokyo. An unrivaled ramen chef crowned Number 1 in Tokyo and Hong Kong
-    Served with thick cuts of chashu, bean sprouts, spring onions and soft boiled egg
-    Ramen broth holds plenty of pork fat which makes it rich and unique in flavour
-    Noodles are bouncy and perfectly cooked
-    Chewy noodles and broth complement each other well
-    Chashu is tender


My thoughts: The ramen broth taste quite salty and is a little on the oily side (since it's cooked with pork fat). Noodles taste is nice & Q (Q means chewy in Chinese term). When I ate it together with the spring onions, it enhances its flavour. Chashu is thick, soft yet Q and has a pretty strong taste of pork meat, the way I like when I eat my meat. ^^ 


BARIO Ajitama Ramen
From Tokyo. Listed 50 best things to eat in the world by The Guardian UK, with their special well-balanced Ramen typically cooked over 12 hours!
-    Broth is thick and rich in flavour with the addition of fresh cabbage and bean sprouts
-    Ajitama (flavoured egg) is marinated deep into the soft, liquid yolk
-    Signature Bario noodles are thick and chewy
-    Pork belly contains generous amounts of fat is caramelised to a deep brown

This is the only Ramen that let us add our own spices. Below shows before mixing in the spices.

Below shows after mixing in the garlic.

My thoughts:
The ramen broth taste light, not salty at first sip (before mixing in garlic). After stirring the ramen, the broth becomes creamy and adding the garlic enhanced and complement the flavour too. Though still on the salty side, the broth taste better than the rest. The pork meat is chewy and some parts just melts in my mouth. The noodles at first bite feels thick and slightly hard, I immediately thought that I'll get sick of such thick noodles quickly but actually after a few more bites, it become tastier. By adding the Shichimi tōgarashi (seven flavor chili pepper), it increased my appetite to eat more. However I will still prefer to go for thinner noodles because these thick noodles are very filling, probably good for big eaters! ^_^


Gantetsu King Chashu Ramen
From Sapporo. Taking pride in making the finest ramen, Gantetsu is a strong contender hailing from Japan’s city of Ramen
-    Broth is mild and slightly flavoured by the shredded ginger
-    Seaweed on the side is unique to Gantetsu in this competition
-    Cha shu is tender and well-marinated, easy to chew without overwhelming


My thoughts:
Broth is less salty than the rest of the ramen which is nice to my taste buds as I'd been sipping quite along of salty ramen broth already (lolx~). Noodles is quite Q. The chashu is not thick however it doesn't feels that Q like the rest.


Ikkousha Special Ramen
From Hakata. Nicknamed the “Master of Ramen” with their chef’s personalised twist to their secret traditional ramen recipe
-    Relatively light broth is spicy and slightly sour from the Takana (preserved vegetable)
-    Homemade spicy Takana is crunchy and complements the broth perfectly
-    Pork and noodles are thin and soft in comparison to the Takana


My thoughts:
The ramen broth is also pretty salty (not sure why all of them taste that way..^^"). Though the noodle is thin like the others but appear kinda different. It doesn't taste that Q like the rest but it isn't hard to bite on either, kinda make me think it's like udon but thinner. The pork is sliced thinly, very easy to chew on, good for my grandmother jaw (lox~) and it has a very nice pork meat taste as well. I tried the egg and the yolk taste superb! When I took the seaweed with the noodles, it becomes yummier and taste less salty.


Menban Yamagishi Kazuo Special Ramen
From Tokyo. Reining Ramen Champion winner for 3 years in a row, making their Hakata-style ramen the most celebrated in Singapore
-    Broth is light; blends well with spring onion
-    Cha shu is tender and retains its flavour
-    Maintains the traditional taste from “Master of Ramen” Kazuo Yamagishi



My thoughts:
The broth is slightly thinner, taste saltier but it's less oily. Chashu is thick, Q and has a nice pork meat taste to it. Ramen however doesn't taste that Q. The egg on the other hand taste soft and nice as it's perfectly cooked.


Buta God Nikumashi Ramen
From Tokyo. A promising new contestant specialising in Pork Ramen with a unique Tonkotsu broth
-    Tonkotsu broth is light and flavourful with a hint of sweetness
-    Thinly-sliced marinated pork belly is tender and soft
-    Bamboo shoot present enhances flavour
-    Egg is perfectly poached; adds flavour when mixed with broth
-    Noodles is thin but not too springy


My thoughts:
Quite sweet broth at the same time salty too. Personally by looking at the pork belly I would have thought it doesn't have a strong pork meat taste and will be kinda sweet but I was entirely wrong about it. It is soft, bouncy, Q and has a pretty strong pork meat taste! Yum~ It's thin and easy to bite on. Ramen isn't that Q but is nice overall. The broth with poached egg mixed in becomes slightly thicker and enhanced the flavour a little too.

3 other Contenders @ Changi Airport T3
Riki Nitamago Ramen
From Tokyo. Achieved perfect broth that is boiled daily for 8 hours!
-    Milky-white pork broth is thick and hearty with the rich taste of garlic shoyu
-    Curly noodles are thick and chewy, made with Japanese fine flour and tapioca starch
-    Broth is boiled with plenty of pork bones, pork meat and vegetable

Keishoken Ajitama Ramen

From Gunma. Signature “colours ramen” in white, black, red, yellow and orange to reflect unique taste and presentation
-    Rich pork broth topped with flavored soya sauce and Japanese Mirin
-    Home-made egg with creamy yolk that melts in the mouth.
-    Choice of several toppings available – yellow (curry), red (spicy), orange (miso) and black

Taka No Tsume Ramen Deluxe with Sichuan Style Sauce
From Chiba. Creates authentic Japanese ramen with spicy sauce that is unique to only Taka no Tsume.
-    Mildly spicy broth is rich and milky. Unique taste of brinjal adds an interesting taste to the broth.
-    Rich in vegetables such as brinjal, black fungus, cabbage, bean sprouts and spring onions.
-    Thick chicken chop as accompaniment is extremely tender and full of flavour.


Sorry that I can't give a good full review as firstly, I'm not good at describing taste (that's why I'm not a food blogger... only once awhile I'll take on the challenge because I really love the food. Lolx~) and secondly, the ramen came in really fast from the 3rd bowl onwards so I gotta finish quickly in order for them to clear the bowls. ^^" (I'm a slow eater hehex~)


How to Vote
As per previous years, judging criteria include sales takings and vote counts via Facebook and onsite voting.

Onsite Voting using this slip

Fill in the voting ticket and check the stall that you want to vote for.

And drop it at the voting station near exit.

Online Facebook Voting (Click picture to enter voting page)


How to Join “RAMEN FUN WITH ASUS” Photo-Taking Contest
Snap Your Way to an ASUS Fonepad™!
Put your photography skills to the test at the ULTIMATE RAMEN CHAMPION SINGAPORE 2013

In order to spice up the competition for the customers, there will be a photo contest that will run through the month of August. All snap-happy Ramen Champion customers need to do is submit a photo of their delectable bowl of ramen.
The ASUS Fonepad™ is an impressive tablet with a 7” HD display, complete with full 3G phone functions in metallic finish. This tablet doubles up as a smartphone which makes it a must-have. There will be 4 winners announced for this contest; 3 most favourite entries will be selected as the winners and they will be awarded an ASUS Fonepad™ each and the remaining winner will be getting a consolation prize of $50 CapitaVouchers. 

To be eligible for this contest, all the participants are required to ‘like’ both ASUS’ and Ramen Champion Singapore’s Facebook pages. Then, participants can just head down to the Ultimate Ramen Champion locations to creatively snap photos of the ramen or the interior of the store with fun poses and post the photos onto Ramen Champion’s Facebook in order to take part. So share your love for ramen and grab a snazzy new tablet!
(Click the below pic to enter contest page)

The photo-taking contest will be held over a period of a month, from 1st August 2013 to 31st August 2013.



Complimentary from Ultimate Ramen Champion

Nice~ I get to eat all 3 ramen from the other 3 contenders too at T3. ^,^ Who wana go with me?! ^o^/


About Ultimate Ramen Champion
Since it started in 2011, the ULTIMATE RAMEN CHAMPION competition has established itself to be a favorite amongst lovers of Japanese cuisine. Over 13 brands have participated and the spirit of competition has brought about the desire to produce high-quality and good-tasting ramen to the delight of ramen lovers everywhere.
Currently the largest ramen operation in Singapore, it has served over a million satisfied customers from its 2 outlets in Changi Airport and Bugis+. Despite its success, Ramen Champion still continues to strive to provide for the best in order to satisfy the cravings of its customers.


When?
Ultimate Ramen Champion 2013 Singapore
Date: 1st of August 2013 to 30th July 2014

Where?
Address 1: 201 Victoria Street, Bugis+ #04 – 10 Singapore 188607 
Time: 11.30am to 10.30pm (Daily – Bugis +)
Contact no.: 6238 1011 (Bugis+)

Address 2: 65 Airport Boulevard #B2-58 Terminal 3, T3 Singapore Changi Airport Singapore 819663
Time: 10.30am to 11.00pm (Daily – T3, Changi Airport)
Contact no.: 6214 2958 (T3, Changi Airport)

Website

Till then! Cheers! (●♡●)

Items/Names written and coloured in turquoise are sponsored & provided by Ultimate Ramen Champion Singapore to me for review. I am not affiliated to the company. All photos (watermarked) are taken by me. Pictures (non-watermarked are extracted from press release & Ultimate Ramen Champion Singapore FB.
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