Monday, May 12, 2008

Ramen at a Bargain

Rice prices has made newspapers headlines in almost everyday. Along with rice, wheat, soy beans, corn, sugar, flour etc have also greatly increased in price. Eat less? Eat cheaper food? I say be wise and eat within your means.

Thank God there are still affordable options out there.

The extended wing of Centrepoint Shopping Centre has a basement lined with food stalls and restaurants. But it's like a maze quietly tucked away in the madness of Orchard Road. And out of this maze, I discovered Sumi Yakitori by pure Singaporean instinct (read promotions).

The light dinner started off with a plate of raw veggies ($1/person including towels). I eat salad but shudder at the raw thick cabbage leaf. Mum enjoyed this though and I was more than happy to pass her my share. The dipping sauce, in which the waitress instructed us to squeeze the lemon into, was like a dark miso-shoyu paste- salty and savoury.

The Tonkutsu Ramen ($8) brought a very comforting feel. It was so familiar. Uncannily like Chu Qian Yi Ding instant noodles with the aromatic sesame oil. But I would have preferred a richer broth and the ramen itself was too cooked for my liking. The thick and juicy cha-siu was a delight though.

I'm not a fan of tomatoes (ketchup is different :p) but decided to try the Momotaro Ramen ($8) anyway. The soup was a clear soyu broth and the cubes of momotaro tomatoes added a slight tangy note to it. This was delicious and it seems to grow on me. As for the purportedly organic momotaro tomatoes, I still think they tasted like normal ones....which is to say, not something I enjoy.

Sumi seems more like a Japanese grill kind of place instead of ramen house. So we decided to order a few grilled items to see what it offers.

The Fresh Tiger Prawn ($3.50) had blackened legs but fortunately the flesh was protected by its shell. The flesh was sweet and firm but a tad too dry.

Shishamo ($2) aka smelt, was average, neither outstanding nor horrible.

The Tako ($3) aka octopus was a stick of small, chew-till-teeth-drop morsels. It was a case of too hard, too chewy for me.

Then comes the Sweet Corn ($2.50) to save the day! Each kernel was plump and burst with sweet juices upon nibbling. The nice smokey aroma by the grilling was evident and complemented the natural sweetness of the corn well. This alone would have erased the damage done by the Tako.

Lady's Finger ($2) could have been another potential winner but it was too heavily salted, over-riding the flavours of the lady's finger and bonito flakes.

Another good item to order would be the Sea Scallops ($6.50). Reasonably fresh and succulent, its saline-sweetness from the sea was boosted by charcoal smokiness.

In a nutshell, don't expect ultra fine Japanese food here. It's more like a budget ramen place with a few stars from the yakitori menu. To put things in perspective, it almost felt like paying food court prices at a restaurant for the ramen. (Refer to Chew On This section below.)

Sumi Yakitori
Centrepoint Shopping Centre
Tel: 6836 0912

Chew On This: Sumi Yakitori is running a buy-one-get-one-free ramen promotion for both lunch and dinner! So this effectively makes a bowl of ramen to cost about $4. I think some food courts would feel the heat.


Anonymous said...

Awesome..!! wished i was back home.. :)

The Hungry Cow said...

mama bok: Wished DHL could take this and other local goodies to you!