Wednesday 20 February 2013

Spices: Ramen Champion (Singapore)

Last year on our connecting flight to Bali, we decided to leave the airport and have a quick lunch at Ramen Champion. Ever since my brother Jim tried the place out, he wanted to bring us there and try the food out.

Ramen Champion

The concept of the restaurant is quite unique, there are six different food stalls that serves their own respective specialty Ramen. Diners would then vote for their favorite Ramen and after a a few months of collecting the votes, a Ramen Champion will be declared for that certain period.

The Contenders

At the entrance of the restaurant, we were given a card each that we wore around our wrist. Everytime we order something from a stall, we handed the card to the server to scan what we order and input it in the card. Upon exiting, the card was scanned again and the total bill of what we ate appeared at the cash register.

Our Order Card

We wanted to try all the specialty Ramen from the six stalls but felt that it would be impossible for us to finish everything. We ended up choosing Ramen from three different stalls.

Ikkousha has been consistently getting the ramen champion title for the previous months, their special ramen is called the Hakata Ajimata Ramen. This pork bone soup base stock tasted simple and clean, the noodles were koshi or al dente and the pork cha shui or bbq toppings was tangy and tender. Notice the perfectly cooked soft boiled egg with a runny center.


Hakata Ajimata Ramen - Sg $13+ (around Php425)

Bario during that time was the current Ramen Champion, their winning noodle soup was the Ajitama Ramen. Just like Ikkousha's Ramen, Bario also uses the pork bone soup base stock, the soup was really thick. Flavors were complex in a good way, it was so flavorful and savory. They used thick cut noodles and the toppings consists of pork cha shui or bbq, green onions, cabbage and a soft boiled egg.


Half Order of Ajitama Ramen - Sg $7+ (around Php235)

Menya Iroha caught my attention because of how beautiful the Negitama Ramen was presented. The shoyu or soy  based ramen consists of thin cut noodles, cha shui pork, bamboo shoot, seaweed, leeks and a soft boiled egg. Though over all it was pretty good, I found the soup a tad bit salty.

Menya Iroha

Negitama Ramen - Sg $13.50+ (around Php450)

If I would have to pick my Ramen Champion among the three that I've tasted. It would haven been a close battle between Ikkousha and Bario. But Ikkousha's Hakata Ajimata Ramen would be my pick. The bowl of Ikkousha's Ramen tasted simpler compared to Bario's but it was just so hearty and comforting. It made us want the whole bowl to ourselves.

Ikkousha and Barion

My Ramen Champion: Ikkousha's Hakata Ajimata Ramen

All we had for lunch was three huge bowls of Ramen. In a normal setting, I wouldn't even consider ordering three bowls of it even if its of different types. Most of the time when eating Ramen at a Japanese restaurant, the soup base will be the same for all types of Ramen. In Ramen Champion, it was like eating at different Japanese restaurants in one place, each bowl of Ramen has its own unique taste and flavor.

Ramen Champion (Singapore)
Address: 201 Victoria Station #4-10 Bugis+
Operating Hours: Daily from 11:30am to 10:30pm
Tel No: 62381011

Friday 15 February 2013

Sights: The 2012 Singapore Formula One Grand Prix

I use to follow the formula one races but I really never envision myself in catching the real thing live. This all changed when my brother Jim called me. He got to borrow a pass for the 2011 Singapore Grand Prix practice session. All that I can hear was the high pitch roaring engines, screeches of tires and the zooming sound as the cars pass by. Even before I hear Jim saying anything, I knew where he was and right then and there I set my sights on watching the race a year after.

I purchased our tickets through Ticketworld, a letter of authorization was forwarded to my email and I just had to print and present it at the Ticket Collection Point in Singapore to claim my tickets.

It is best to purchase your tickets early to avail of the early bird rates. I got the Three Day Zone Four Walkabout tickets six months ahead of time. The three day deal got sold out months before the scheduled race dates.

Our Three Day Pass

When we got to Singapore, the whole country felt so festive, the F1 fever was radiating all over. Singapore can proudly boasts of being the only country to hold the races at night.

Singapore's Night Racetrack

We wore our ID tickets and excitedly made our way to one of the entrances that we are allowed to enter. Everything was so orderly, getting in was so easy.

One of the Gate Entrance

I initially thought that the Singapore Grand Prix would only showcased the formula one races and the concerts. But to my surprise, there were a lot more. Different stages were set up to showcase various performers from all over the world. Drop dead gorgeous models danced to the beat of bongos and drums around the area, imitating the Carnivale in Rio.

Carnivale Atmosphere

In one area, there were vintage cars on display.

Complimentary formula one henna tattoo designs.The lines were long, we decided to pass on this.

Free Henna Tattoo

Formula one driving simulators. We also didn't get a chance to try this out though the people who did looked like they were having a blast.

Driving Simulator

Team souvenir shops sells everything from key chains, shirts, stuffed toys and many more.

Team Ferrari Shop

Team Ferrari Stuffed Bears

There were different races but the main event was the Formula One races. Three days of adrenaline pumping high speed races. The first day, Friday is practice day, it gave the drivers an opportunity to go around and get familiar with the track. Saturday is the qualifying race, the race determines the starting grid order of the drivers for Sunday's race. Sunday is the race day itself, winner takes all.

Race Day

Crowd anxiously waiting for the Cars to Zoom by.

There are  12 racing teams with two drivers each. Here are the teams.

Caterham Renault

HRT Cosworth

Marussia Cosworth

Williams Renault

Sauber Ferrari

STR Ferrari


Force India

Lotus Renault

McLaren Mercedes


Red Bull Racing

Taking pictures of the formula one cars was a challenge, we were using a point and shoot camera (LX3) and it was really hard to pan and capture the race cars. Luckily my brother Jon was patient enough with taking pictures. We got a few passable shots.

Important note: One has to bring earplugs! It is LOUD. And you don't want to have the hassle to cover your ears every time the cars passes by. There are booths which sells earplugs all around the area.

Earplugs is a Must!!!

The winner of the 2012 Singapore Grand Prix and who also won the World Championship, Sebastian Vettel. The Red Bull Racing Team are the Constructors Champions as well.

Red Bull Racing Team's Sebastian Vettel

Everyday after the main races, there is a Concert that is headlined by three famous international artists.
On Friday, Jay Chou took the stage. We're really not familiar with Jay Chou thus we didn't really stay to watch his concert.

Concert Grounds

On Saturday, one of my favorite bands of all time, Maroon 5 played to the crowds delight. They are amazing playing tunes from different genres.

Maroon 5

On the last day, Katy Pery entertained the crowd with her colorful and playful routines and songs. She commanded the stage really well, she was the perfect choice to end the event with a bang.

Katy Pery

I've heard people saying that watching a formula one race is a waste of time and money since the race cars would zoom by so fast that you wouldn't really be able to see anything. Although this can be true, the experience of hearing and actually feeling the power of the race machines is inexplicable. One has to be physically present to experience it. Moreover, the Singapore Grand Prix is not just about the races, it was more like a big festive celebration. Till our next Grand Prix Experience!

Our Singapore Grand Prix Experience