Ever heard of Mazesoba (dry ramen)? Kajiken specialises in exactly that. After a quick introduction by the owner, Mr Kenta, we found out that dry ramens are rather popular back in Japan, and this outlet is the first to grace our sunny shores.
Situated among the other ramen shops surrounding Orchid Hotel, Kajiken stands out with seven variations of Mazesoba.
A humble hole-in-the-wall, the shop has limited seating both indoors and outdoors, with a couple of counter seats if you’re there for a quick lunch break.
The walls are painted with its best sellers, as well as a guide on how to best enjoy your bowl of ramen; as you can see, you’ll have to mix it up for 20 seconds to coat the noodles well.
Stacked at a side of the kitchen are golden yellow noodles that are exclusively made by a supplier for Kajiken, waiting to be cooked and turned into delicious bowls to fill you up.
A couple of dips in the bowling water, and the noodles are lifted with the sieve and poured into a bowl of secret sauce before giving it a good stir.
Once that step is done, ingredients including minced meat, char siew, spring onions and shredded nori are piled neatly on the top and it’s ready to serve.
Without a doubt, the Mazesoba Nagoya Style ($12.80) is its signature dish and best seller. The presentation of the dish alone was enough to make us want to dig in immediately.
The Mazesoba Nagoya Style sure looked appetising and pretty healthy; I mean, we don’t usually get that amount of vegetables in regular soup ramen.
Give it a good mix, and you’ll be pleased to find all the flavours rushing to steal the show. The noodles were springy and super umami from the sauce, and I loved the fragrance of the chives permeating in between every bite. The dollop of minced meat gave a little hint of spice, while the onsen egg blanketed the ramen with a rich creaminess.
When you’re done with the noodles, you can ask for a small portion of rice to have with the remaining sauce and ingredients.
Ordering the Mazesobe With All Toppings ($15.80) will basically give you the entire menu in one bowl.
Packed with char siew, braised pork, deep fried chicken, an onsen egg, bamboo shoots and nori, it’s definitely a steal for this price.
The char siew was well-marinated and tender, falling apart easily when bitten into. The fried chicken was crisp on the outside and warm and juicy on the inside. I was left hoping for just one more piece!
Another noteworthy bowl is the Mazesoba with Cod Roe with Mayonnaise ($13.80), which felt like a cross between dry ramen and pasta when mixed in with the cod roe and mayonnaise that formed a creamy base.
After a couple of mouthfuls, the mentaiko sauce was slightly cloying for my liking, and could have been better if there was less mayonnaise.
Another painting on the wall shows the number of outlets it has across Japan, and you’ll be glad to know that Kajiken has recently opened a second shop, conveniently located at Square 2.
Slurping up a bowl of ramen soaked in piping hot broth may sound comforting, but when the weather gets too hot, this dry ramen alternative sounds equally appetising, if not more.
Every bowl comes with a small serving of broth to cut through the bold and intense flavours of the mazesoba. A tip: add a dash of vinegar and chilli oil that’s provided on every table to further enhance the flavours of the noodles.
I know for sure that I’ll be back for the Mazesoba Nagoya Style, a classic that will be added to my “favourite ramen list in Singapore”.
Expected damage: $12.80 – $15.80