There stands a dandelion. Its seeds fly to the corners of the city, adhering to clothes and skins of urban dwellers. Some don’t really mind those tiny snowflakes on their shirts. Others find them absolutely irritable.
The seeds? Not a pandemic, of course.
Just a mere bowl of ramen.
I caught a light sneeze as the pappuses fluttered into my nostrils. It was a way of telling me how long more would it take before we acquaint.
And so, with the guiding wind, we finally met.
Along the way, there was the Mix Sashimi Set C (S$20.00) which consisted of thick, yes, thick slices of maguro, hamachi and sake. The cold slices were as fresh as dead fish can be. While all the distinctive colours looked somehow attractive, it was the hamachi that outshone the others with its softness.
Beauty is only skin deep, of course. But the skin sure makes a good first impression, or starter, in this case. Crispy Salmon Skin (S$6.30), to be exact. Pollocked with tiny strips of Japanese mayonnaise and teriyaki-like sauce, a simple yet satisfying distraction from the anxiousness of making the acquaintance.
There were corn, a thick slice of char siu, al dente curly ramen and savoury miso soup. But above all, there were lots of crunchy negi. It was all about the contrast, really. Bland negi with salty/sweet miso paste. Sweet, plump corn to nibble and flaky char siu to tear. Not too bad, this Deluxe Miso Ramen (S$14.80), only mostly slightly oily.
Here we were, face to face. Greeting was a dig into the bowl of the infamous Shabu Shabu Ramen (S$13.80), to reveal a few strips of the black, hairy kurobuta (Berkshire pig). Known for its marbling, the only significant difference was the softness of the meat in this greeting. Introduction was a sip of the tonkotsu (pig bones) which has been simmered for 2 days and dusted with chilli flakes. Ordinarily salty and dense, sadly. And au revoir was an interesting touch of lettuce leaves for crunch.
Where were the sparks that I hoped and so looking forward to, dear dandelion?
Firm, bland, slightly unsweetened but attractive, the Matcha Chiffon Cake (S$5.80). Goes to show that first impression does make a difference. Could it be the unGodly hour visit that had turned the soft, Tinkerbell-looking chiffon into a hard, green Hulk?
From the iconic ramen movie to the medicinal benefits of the dandelion, Tampopo is all about goodness. Weeds (or earlier disappointments) aside, of course.
With such optimism and an interesting selection of ramen, I will be back.
And who know, friendships may just blossom from some of them acquaintances, no?
177, River Valley Road
Liang Court Shopping Centre
Tel: (+65) 63383186
Note: Dandelions are called tampopo in Japanese.
Other Tampopo experiences:
Dancing Blue Seal