World-class ramen has come to MBS, and we’re loving the tasty signature broth and (especially!) wallet-friendly prices
Ramen lovers, rejoice! We’ve got not one, but two exciting pieces of news for noodle aficionados: for starters, international ramen powerhouse Ippudo has opened a new location – its ninth in Singapore – at Marina Bay Sands. Whether you’re shopping up a storm or catching a show, it’s another fab (and affordable) option at MBS.
Secondly, Ippudo has opened Asia’s first KURO-OBI, a quick-service, takeaway-only option with its own signature ramen broth. Even better, prices start at just $8 a bowl! You’ll find the super-efficient counter located right next to Ippudo in B2 at MBS, right by the skating rink.
While Ippudo originated in Japan in 1985, KURO-OBI was a foreign initiative implemented in New York City, whose citizens rival Singaporeans with their zeal for eating out.
KURO-OBI sells a unique chicken-based broth called Tori-paitan, which stands in contrast to more traditional pork- or miso-based ramen broths. Noodles are also extra-thick (40 grams heavier than an Ippudo serving!), and in fact even the meat is slow-cooked chicken chashu rather than typical fatty pork chashu.
While counter service is super fast and efficient, customers can still customise orders by choosing the firmness of their noodles (soft, normal or hard), the level of spiciness, soup concentration, stock richness (more oily or less oily), and whether they want less (or extra) garlic and onions. I suppose it depends whether you’ll be coming into close contact with anyone after lunch or dinner!
I ordered the classic “KURO-OBI” ($12), which comes with three pieces of chicken chashu and (my favorite!) an umami egg. I found the dish hearty and robust, with my noodles extra firm (just as requested) and the chashu tender and rich. The egg was soft and rich, perfectly soaking up the shimmery broth.
I love that the menu tops out at $12, with $8 and $9 options like CHA-OBI ($9), which features an extra light, clear vegetable broth alongside a medley of veggies. For $10 you can also go for the AKA-OBI, which is meant to appeal to local palates with spicy notes and a spicy shrimp floss topping.
Obviously KURO-OBI is for ramen heads, but in case you want to round out the meal with a bit more, they’ve got a couple other choice nibbles on the lean and focused menu, including Takoyaki ($5 for 4 pieces/$8 for 8) – piping hot fried octopus balls topped with bonito flakes – and Karaage ($5 for 3 pieces/$8 for 5) – delectably lip-smacking deep-fried chicken nuggets, which incidentally are perfect for kiddos who haven’t hopped on the ramen train yet.
What I love about the KURO-OBI concept is its convenience and flexibility; you can grab it on the go and either stake a table in the food court, or head upstairs to dine outside with views of Marina Bay. If you’re looking for a sit-down experience, stake out a table at Ippudo, which offers a more extensive range of ramens (priced at $17-$20) along with yummy snacks like the best-selling Pork Bun ($5), bite-size chicken Gyoza ($4-$8), and a moreish Samurai Spare Rib ($7-$13) slathered with a medley of special sauces and spices.
Next time you get your shop on mama (or take the kids for a skating session), know that you’ve got a new, affordable, Sassy Mama-approved dining option to hit up with the kiddos!
Opening Hours: Sun-Thu: 10:30am – 11pm (last ramen order: 10:20pm); Fri-Sat: 10:30am – 11:30pm (last ramen oder: 10:50pm)
KURO-OBI and Ippudo, 2 Bayfront Avenue, #B2-54/55 Marina Bay Sands, Singapore 018972, www.ippudo.com.sg