Where’s the elusive prawn stock ramen?16 January, 2011 by Yan
Normally I’m not too keen on featuring something that is not available anymore, yet Keisuke’s ramen is worth investing some amount of time and effort to be introduced to readers who may have missed it or who simply want to savor the memories of the prawn ramen that they used to feature in their menu.
In a nutshell, Singapore has in recent years caught up with the ramen culture concept from Japan and new ramen shops have been popping up at an insane rate since last year. The good thing is many of the famous ramen names in Japan have decided that Singapore is a good place to start their first overseas outlet so fortunately for us, we get the chance to try out these popular shops without having to pay for the air ticket. Keisuke Ramen is one such place.
Takeda Keisuke（竹田敬介) , the owner and chef of Keisuke Ramen is famous in Japan ramen scene in his own right. Each of Keisuke’s Ramen shops offers a different style of ramen from one other, a rather innovative idea. The original Keisuke no. 1 shop does the black fish miso, Keisuke no. 2 has prawn ramen, Keisuke no.3 offers Chinese-style red oil ramen and Keisuke no. 4 does a spiny lobster tsukemen. Perhaps with the impression of how Singaporeans love their seafood or prawn noodles, Keisuke decided to bring over his no. 2 specialty shop ramen into Singapore.
Singapore’s Keisuke Tokyo Ramen offers their signature Ebi Ramen, with the addition of a miso version and a spicy miso version as well. A simple chicken stock tokyo ramen was offered as well for I guess diners who might be allergic to prawns. As most can already guess, the majority of their side dishes feature prawns as the main ingredient, for example prawn wontons and gyozas.
If I were the judge, Keisuke’s ebi ramen would certainly receive full marks for presentation. They serve the ramen in a tilted bowl which looks like a wine goblet. The unique design is chosen so as to trap the fragrance of the prawn broth but diners will have to be extra careful while slurping, as any carelessness will easily result in a mess.
Taste wise, Keisuke’s ebi ramen is a totally different genre from the usual tonkotsu, shoyu, shio and miso ramen that I have tasted during my adventures around Singapore sampling all the available ramen shops. As a testament to Keisuke’s training in French cuisine, the ebi ramen soup comes across like a prawn consomme, which includes a complexity of flavors not found in our usual prawn noodles. Certainly worth a try for everyone at least.
Sadly, the ebi ramen was not as well received as Keisuke could have hoped for and I would see only a small handful of people dining inside each time I were to pass by. As opposed to the long queues for the adjacent Nantsuttei for their tonkotsu style ramen.
Sadly, after a couple months of operation, Keisuke Ramen decided to cease serving their signature ebi ramen, likely due to poor sales. When a ramen shop stops serving their signature ramen, things are bound to head towards hell. Yet Keisuke have decided not to give up on their first venture overseas and have decided to try another approach, aka serve-what-Singaporeans-like-their-ramen-to-be-like. I’ll give a more detailed introduction to their new menus on my follow-up post.
Fortunately, Keisuke Tokyo Ramen is still alive and well. But for those looking to try their signature ebi ramen will be in for a disappointment. As skimmed upon mentioned, Keisuke have done a total revamp to their shop and menu (even the shop’s name was slightly changed and all traces of prawns have been removed from the shop). Now they are serve the 4 mainstream flavours (tonkotsu, shoyu, shio and miso) ramen instead. While I welcome the changes to their menu, Keisuke’s ebi ramen will be dearly missed.
Most likely I’ll have to make a trip to Japan someday just to savor the taste of the ebi ramen.
KEISUKE TOKYO RAMEN
9 Raffles Boulevard
#P03-02, Parco Marina Bay
Addicted to film, Yan shoots with a black Nikon Fm3a. For special occasions, Yan shoots with a Mamiya Sekor TLR.