Saturday, June 13, 2015

Kyushu Spring 2014 九州春季之旅 - Keika Ramen 桂花ラメん

Visited 20.03.2014

My impression of ramen was changed totally after eating Ichiran ramen in Hakata. Finally I've finally found one that suit my taste in Japan. In Kumamoto, a slightly different type of ramen is served. Similar to Hakata style, pork broth is used as the soup base. What is unique about Kumamoto ramen is fried garlic is infused into the milky pork broth to elevate its rich flavour. 

Decided to indulge in the local ramen on my first night in Kumamoto. Keika Ramen is a local brand that has been around for more than half a decade and has opened several branches in Kumamoto, Fukuoka and Tokyo. Got to know later that they have ventured overseas, with three shops established in Singapore too. On this night, we visited the main shop located in Hanabatacho 花畑町. 

A hearty bowl of Kumamoto ramen.
Ordered their original ramen and a plate of gyoza. The fragrance of fried garlic immediately hit me when my bowl of noodles was arrived. Thick noodles was used and was served together with a few slices of char siew, bamboo shoots, shallots and a half egg (not the usual soft boiled egg). Rich and milky white pork broth was mixed with fried garlic oil, turning the soup slightly golden brown in colour. The first sip of soup did hit the right spot as I am a fan of garlic. However, felt that the soup base was still on the saltier side for me. Nevertheless, this is still a good hearty bowl of ramen to satisfy a hungry stomach. Gyozas was wrapped with juicy meat fillings and so far (at least for me), this side dish has never failed to make the entire meal complete. 

I have also patronised Keika Ramen in Singapore (branch in Takashimaya) on a later date. Was hoping that the flavours could be replicated here (with the saltiness reduced to suit Singaporeans' tastebuds?), but I felt the fried garlic flavor was lacking in the soup and that was to me the most important element behind its delicious taste.   

Keika Ramen (Kumamoto Main Branch) 桂花ラメん 熊本県本店
熊本市中央区花畑町11-9 K-1ビル
Opening hrs: 1100 - 2400 hrs (Mon - Thu); 1100 - 0145 hrs (Fri, Sat); 1100 - 2000 hrs (Sun)

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