Keisuke Tonkotsu King at Orchid Hotel, Tanjong Pagar


She kept looking up at me, concern in her eyes as I was laughing; grinning like a fool, I was slurping the ramen with tears rolling from my eyes and perspiration off my back.

Happiness in a bowl of noodles.


Keisuke Tonkotsu King seems to serve Yokohama Ramen. If it wasn’t clear in their name, they use Tonkotsu (not Tonkatsu) broth, a milky-white soup made primarily from pork bones and other pork products.

While there were three options, I went for the Black (pepper) Ramen with everything on it. The plain broth sounded, well, plain and the red (chili oil) broth was too provocative.

A small personal Suribachi and Surikogi is provided to grind your sesame powder. I usually find this a pain to do because I have to spend time scraping out the powder from the grooves but I recommend it as a additive to the broth because it does, surprisingly, enhance the broth’s flavor and aroma.

It is easier and faster to hold the Suribachi in the palm of one hand and use the other hand to grind (not pound) the sesame seeds the Surikogi, twisting both hands as you grind.


The Black Tonkotsu Ramen was delicious with the noodles (“normal”) slightly more chewy than the Italian al dente and the pork chasu added another layer of texture and the combination of nori, sesame, black pepper and sesame oil added a punchy flavor that was exciting and comforting at the same time.

I saved the special soyu egg for last after I finished the noodles and pork. The liquid yolk inside thickened the remaining broth which made for a delicious finish.

Keisuke Tonkotsu King at Orchid Hotel is a Ramen bar and not a full-service restaurant, so DIY is the watchword. While it is cramped, noisy and poorly ventilated, I like the little touches like the complimentary ice cold Mugicha for people queuing on the sidewalk, the cold water kettle and the smiles and grins from service staff and cooks alike.

For me, Keisuke Tonkotsu King captures the busy rush hour feel of our central business district with it’s no-nonsense and precise service but somehow manages, amidst the humdrumming turbines of tedium, to serve ramen that goes beyond filling your stomach deliciously, it also warms your soul. Happiness in a bowl.

Keisuke Tonkotsu King is at 1 Tras Link, #01-19 Orchid Hotel, Singapore Tel: +65 6636 0855, Opens: 11.30am-3pm; 6pm-10.30pm.



Posted on 5th Jul 2012 in Bistro/Trattoria, Japanese


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