Ramen Showdown: Tampopo

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Tampopo at Liang Court gets mixed reviews for its ramen. Some people rave and others despise it. It’s my friend’s boss’s favourite and also near her office, so we met there for lunch.

We ordered their specialty,  Shabu Shabu Black Pig Ramen with Chilli. It arrived incredibly fast. Instead of the usual chashu, it comes with boiled kurobuta (black pig) slices, menma (preserved bamboo shoots) and spring onions. No egg, no seaweed.

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A spot of hasty half-hearted food-styling later, I finally got to taste my noodles.

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I liked the noodles very much. These Kyushu-style noodles were springy and almost crunchy. Excellent. The toppings were OK. The black pig to me tasted like decent pork. I don’t see why we should especially rave about black pig since regular pork should be good too. The fact that this pork is better than regular stuff in the market just means that our importers are bringing in the everyday stuff from inferior sources. The response should be to pressure our shops to stock better sources than to especially shell out for kurobuta.

Soup-wise, this version was only up to standard. It was strong on umami and salt, and was overall rather tasty. My friend commented that it was a bit too porky for her. I disagreed. Something was missing and I realised that it wasn’t rich enough. It needed either more collagen like the tonkotsu-style, or a bit more oil.

Overall, it was a bit telling that neither of us could finish our noodles. Surprising for her because my friend was famished; shocking for me because this Noodle Monster never leaves noodles in her bowl.

We ordered a sashimi plate to go with the ramen and oddly enough, it came quite a while after the noodles. The sashimi itself was awful as it wasn’t fresh. We couldn’t even finish it.

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Now the gimmicky-fun bit about this place is the conveyor belt. It’s not just any old conveyor belt because it links all the way to the table. There’s a little indicator light on the table to show that the food is arriving. Too bad we were too engrossed with catching up and analysing the ramen to notice our sashimi sliding up onto our table till it was too late!

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It’s a cute touch though a bit of a waste of manpower and technology. The moment the sashimi arrived via conveyor belt, a staff member stepped up and removed the metal disc from under the plate and set it down again. How bizarre. Why not just take it straight out from the kitchen by hand?

Anyhow, there’s still some fun with Japlish stuff: Please don’t put your hand in the conveyor tunnel all the time. I suppose it’s OK if you do it sometimes.

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Tampopo
177 River Valley Road #01-23/24
Liang Court Shopping Center
Singapore 179030
Tel: 6338 3186

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