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Aoba Ramen, ION Orchard Road, Singapore

I ventured into Aoba, which specialises in Hokkaido ramen, by chance. I had targeted the Orchard Road shopping precinct in Singapore for two main purposes - to check out the much hyped flagship store of Abercrombie & Fitch in the island republic, and to view the Buddha on display at Ngee Ann City complex, carved out of a solid and sizable piece of jade unearthed in Canada in the year 2000. In between was hunger and the ION Shopping centre, a recent addition to the plethora of shopping havens in Singapore. Aoba has outlets in VivoCity, the stepping stone to Sentosa Island and the Universal Studios theme park in Singapore; Manpuku, the Japanese Gourmet Town in Tampines, to the north-east; and also in the IMM Buidling in Jurong East. Above, the delectable adegashi tofu which serves as a good accompaniment to the ramen bowls.

I did find the taste and quality of soup a bit lacking from my expectations, even if I requested my fav seafood version. (picture above - with prawns, squid slices, dried oysters and a braised hard boiled egg). Service was friendly and quick, and the day I was there for a quick snack, crowded and lively. Ramen is a national obsession in Japan and it is like tribal and sporting dimension when it comes to territory, likes and dislikes affecting this dish. Aoba is part of a listed company on the Singapore Stock Exchange. Families, couples, business colleagues and office workers slid in and out of this ION outlet. Later the same evening I caught up with Chet at the Marmalade Pantry in the same ION complex and I must say their cupcakes do stand apart from the rest - I cannot however say this for the ramen at Aoba.

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