Mail order ramen is a thing. And I'm not talking about the omiyage ramen packs, with dried noodles and concentrated soup that you can buy at train stations and tourism offices around the country. An interesting company called Takumen actually packs an entire bowl of real ramen, straight from the shop, into a frozen, cook-at-home kit.
When I first heard about this concept, I immediately thought of the possibilities. Could you ship overseas and serve in some kind of brick and mortar shop? Some kind of amazing shop that has some of Japan's best ramen on their menu?
Of course! And if you live in Singapore, this actually exists. The Takumen Ramen Gallery features six different Japanese bowls, shipped direct from the source.
I suppose this is a sort of sponsored post. The founder of Takumen sent me some bowls to try out at home. Here they are, from my favorite to the ones that didn't do it for me.
1. ど・みそ (Do Miso)
I'm a fan of their Tokyo shop, and the delivered version lived up to expectations. The pack of rich miso hid a massive piece of chashu. Those noodles were thick, and cooked well in my crappy Japanese home kitchen. This will be a theme with these packs; thicker noodles were much easier to cook well.
2. ちばから (Chiba Kara)
As the name implies, Chiba Kara is from Chiba. Though I'm not a real Jirorian (die hard fan of Jiro), this Jiro-kei bowl was rich and filling.
I should also note that each delivered bowl comes with a list of recommended toppings. I didn't add any, but this one recommends bean sprouts, shredded cabbage, and heaps of raw garlic.
3. 作田家 (Sakutaya)
Sakutaya is a decent Ie-kei bowl, meaning it is Yokohama-style ramen. The signature nori, spinach, and chashu toppings are all included.
4. 本田商店 (Honda Shoten)
And now the thinner noodle bowls. Thicker frozen noodles cook in 5-6 minutes, while the thin noodles are just over a minute. I had a problem, which would probably be remedied if I was a little more careful.
Honda Shoten brought authentic Kyushu tonkotsu ramen to my door. The soup was decadent, and that chashu tender. But I didn't cook the noodles long enough. My bad.
5. 元 (Hajime)
Hajime gets put on the top of many shio ramen lists in Tokyo. The broth is light and full of umami. The original shop's noodles are excellent, thin and firm. A perfect match with the soup. I, unfortunately, cooked them about a minute too long. It was really unfortunate to waste such a stellar bowl.
If you live in Japan, and can decipher the Japanese, you can order many, many different bowls from Takumen.com. Prices are comparable to what you would pay in the shop.
If anyone lives in Singapore, check out the Takumen shop and let me know how it is. It looks like they use the packs, along with some fresh toppings, to recreate the original experience. They have two shops.
Official Site Here.