New year, new ramen. Richmond's newest addition to the ramen scene is Sanpoutei Ramen which originates from Niigata, Japan. I've briefly heard of Sanpoutei back in Singapore but didn't really pay much attention until I saw a post about a new ramen place opening near my house.
If you're a local, you might be familiar with the new "mall" between Aberdeen and Parker Place which houses the infamous Kam Do Bakery. Sanpoutei is located in the back of the mall (through the arches) and boasts of a beautiful wood entrance covered by a noren showing the iconic 3 hexagon logo of the establishment. The Richmond location just opened a few days ago, and I was surprised to find the entrance packed so early - apparently nothing stays a secret in Richmond anymore.
niigata shoyu ramen with special full-topping
4 slices of chasu, flavoured solft-boiled egg, dried seaweed, bamboo shoot, spinach @ 14.50
4.5/5 - So Niigata ramen is what Sanpoutei specializes in, so why not get a mega bowl of it? The special full-topping set comes with 2 extra pieces of chasu and a whole soft boiled egg as opposed to half for a few extra dollars. The chasu is aburi (charred) and is half lean, half fatty for optimal taste. I would compare it to the chasu at Ramen Butcher (which I really like). The egg is decent, but definitely not at the level of Marutama. The bamboo shoots (menma) are crazy though, they come in thick chunks rather than thin slices. What a plus!
I'm absolutely in love with this broth. It's supposed to be a mixture of chicken, tonkotsu, and dried sardines (which is amazing for the umami flavour) which comes together to make a very flavourful but clean tasting broth. It's not too salty and not too oily either. Oh and did I tell you how great the sardine flavouring is? Haha.
At Sanpoutei, they serve fresh, made-in-house, flat noodles that are supposedly "soft and springy". Maybe it's just me, but I wasn't really a fan as I prefer the slightly wavy, thick, round noodles done al dente. These flat noodles were more soft and mushy than I had liked. I do give them credit for making the noodles fresh though - you can see the process through the windows of the kitchen.
Overall, a lovely bowl of ramen but I would switch out the noodles if I could.
2 slices of chasu, flavoured soft-boiled egg, black fungus, spinach @ 12
4/5 - From the Japanese name alone, I would assume that this ramen has a white chicken broth (tori=鳥=bird). Though the chicken flavour isn't crazy strong, there are subtle hints of it as you slurp the soup. The overall broth is a bit oilier than the Niigata but less salty and slightly thicker.
The noodles are the same as above. Not my favourite bowl of ramen but overall, it's not bad.
I don't know where to start with the decor, but everything in on point. The open kitchen, wood panelling, and paper box lamps create a very traditional yet modern atmosphere very appropriate for modern day ramen enjoyment. The space at Sanpoutei Richmond is incredibly spacious compared to (possibly) every other ramen shop in the 604 which makes it ideal for bringing a group of friends without feeling guilty about taking up the whole restaurant. The wait has been pretty long but considering the average wait time for ramen shops (Gmen and YaYaYa) in Richmond, 45 minutes isn't all that bad. Plus, it saves us Richmonders a lot of gas when we don't want to make the trek downtown for a piping hot bowl of goodness.
Well once again, congratulations to Sanpoutei for a very successful opening week. From the ambiance to the service, my first (and not my last) experience here has not been disappointing. I look forward to another visit when the initial crowds die down a bit :)
R E V I E W.
+ food quality: 8.75/10
+ price/affordability: 7.75/10
+ atmosphere: 9.5/10
+ overall: 8.5/10