Tonkotsu King @ Orchid Hotel

It is not difficult to find the Keisuke Tonkotsu King at Orchid Hotel (just beside Tanjong Pagar Mrt) with queues that stretches to the road.  I once passed by at 9pm and the queue was still as long!! What exactly is the lure of this ramen place? I have heard of good reviews from friends and many food websites but I just do not like to queue that long for my food.

We decided to eat there upon a a colleague suggestion and arrived extra early to beat the queue.  One thing to note if you are lunching with more than 1 person –  make sure the entire group is present else you may not get to enter the restaurant. Also, be prepared that you may not be seated together during peak meal times if you do not want to wait too long for a seat.

While waiting for a seat and for the whole group to arrive, we helped ourselves to the free ice cold roasted barley drink outside restaurant. Great way to cool the customers in such a hot weather!

It is not difficult to decide what to eat with the simple menu at Tonkotsu King.  You get to choose from 3 different broth: Original Tonkotsu, Black Spicy Tonkotsu or Red Spicy Tonkotsu. Then you have an option of adding Japanese Seaweed, Flavoured egg or all toppings to your ramen.

The waitress gave us this chit to place our ramen order while waiting for the seat.You can customise the taste of the soup (light, normal or strong), the amount of chicken oil (less oil, normal or more) and the noodle texture (hard, normal or soft). This is definitely tailored to the Singapore market where people like to have a say in how their food is cooked.  If you do not want to think too much, you can just order their signature Black Spicy Tonkotsu Ramen Special or the Tonkotsu Ramen Special if you do not take spicy stuff.  I do not know if the No.3 beside the Tonkotsu Ramen Special refers to it being selected as one of top 3 ramen champion in Japan’s TV Champion series.

Upon entering the restaurant, I finally understood why the queue is always so long! The interior is very small and can seat only about 20 people. That is the view of the kitchen and bar counter from where I was seated.

The lovely posters on the wall that transports you to Japan! 🙂

Every customer is given a mini wooden motar and pestle filled with a mixture of black and white sesame seeds that you can crush and grind and add to your ramen. Love the smell of the crushed sesame seeds and it adds an additional fragrance to the soup 🙂

One of the lure of this place that I have heard about is this – Boiled eggs, beansprouts and bonito flakes are provided FREE  as ramen toppings! WOW! This is the first time that I hear ingredients are being provided free of charge! No one can say no to free stuff! LOL…

The free eggs placed nicely in a basket and semi-cracked for your peeling convenience. Not only are the eggs free, you can  still choose whether you want the normal white ones or the healthier brown ones which is lower in cholesterol.

The Free Spicy Beansprouts in a jar on every table. I love the crunchy beansprouts which is lightly sprinkled with chilli powder. Very refreshing to eat!

The bonito flakes in plastic containers – adding this gives your tonkotsu broth a different flavour so I suggest that you try the soup on its own first before adding it in when your ramen is served. Btw, tonkotsu means pork bone in Japanese hence it literally means pork bone soup which is made by boiling the pork bone for hours.

One of my colleague’s order of the Original Tonkotsu Ramen, $10.80

Another colleague’s order of Black Spicy Tonkotsu Ramen, $11.80.  I guess it is almost the same as the original one except that some black spicy sauce was added.

Another colleague’s order of Red Spicy Tonkotsu Ramen, $11.80 with the grinded sesame seeds added which I ordered as well.

My Red Spicy Tonkotsu Ramen with less chicken oil, normal  soup and noodle texture.  The ramen here is those straight and thin kind which I feel is cooked to perfection. The texture is just right, neither too soft nor too chewy. The soup was not as spicy as I thought it would be and I ended up adding some chilli powder to up the spiciness level. I peeled a low cholesterol egg to add to my meal as well 🙂

The very large piece of Char Siew in my ramen. The meat just melts in your mouth. Nice!

As the restaurant is really small, this is not a place where you can sit down and chat over lunch. True to Japanese culture, it is more of a slurp and go place which I would definitely patronise again when the queue is not that long.  😛 Great tasting soup, cooked to perfection ramen topped with free but good quality ingredients, what more can you ask for? 🙂 Do note that payment is by CASH only 

Tonkotsu King Keisuke
1 Tras Link
Orchid Hotel
Singapore 078867
Tel: 6636 0855
Opening Hours:
Lunch: 11:30 – 15:00
Dinner: 18:00 – 22:30 (Or earlier if soup stock runs out)

Photos Taken with Iphone4S

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