Singapore Crawfish Ramen, Downtown: Umami-packed ramen by ‘Ah Girls Go Army’ actress, nurse & model Debra Loi

Running an F&B business is a tough job in itself, even more so during a pandemic. But being an F&B owner, dog mum, nurse, model and actress, all at the same time? Well, that’s Debra Loi, who just opened Singapore Crawfish Ramen.

Conveniently located in Shenton Foodhall, the ramen concept is Debra’s first venture into F&B. It serves mostly nearby office workers in the central CBD area of Downtown.

Debra, who?

A self-proclaimed foodie and Singaporean at heart, Debra has pretty much eaten her way around the world, having spent most of her childhood living in several countries. A numbingly good bowl of mala always hits the spot for her, but she loves Western and Japanese cuisines all the same. In particular, ramen has had a special place in her heart since her teens. 

Credit – Singapore Crawfish Ramen

Working at a ramen shop in Australia was when Debra first picked up ramen-making. At the time, she was pursuing a nursing degree in Perth. Upon graduating and returning to Singapore in 2017, however, she didn’t enter the F&B industry. Instead, she became a registered nurse, but that’s not all.

Model, actress, COVID-19 frontliner and dog mum

Indeed, some of you may find Debra a familiar face. That’s because she also started a career in modelling after her return to Singapore. In fact, the healthcare worker was a finalist in Miss Universe Singapore 2017. 

With more exposure and experience, Debra was eventually headhunted to enter the acting industry as well. She notably landed herself the role of ‘Sergeant Loh’ in Jack Neo’s ‘Ah Girls Go Army’ series— talk about a master of all trades.

Credit – Singapore Crawfish Ramen

When COVID-19 first hit Singapore, Debra was among the brave souls who volunteered and stepped up to serve at the frontline. It was six tough but extremely fulfilling months, she shared, getting to serve the country and work with like-minded fellow frontliners. She’s since returned to freelance nursing which she treats as a respite from her other jobs.

As though she didn’t have enough responsibilities, in 2020 Debra also became a dog mum, her newfound passion. Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park is where she and her beloved Italian Greyhound would usually spend their weekends.

Finally becoming an F&B owner

Despite having to juggle wearing so many hats, Debra enjoyed working in all her different roles. Nevertheless, the inner chef in her who loves whipping up home-cooked dishes for her friends finally felt ready to commit to her other passion, food. 

Credit

Initially, Debra thought of starting a home-based tiramisu business, but she felt the market was oversaturated. Her unwavering love for ramen eventually led her to create Singapore Crawfish Ramen— the first and currently only crawfish ramen concept in Singapore.

What I tried

As of this writing, there’s only one item on Singapore Crawfish Ramen’s menu, which is their signature Crawfish Ramen ($12.90)A basic bowl comes with crawfish, seaweed, Naruto fish cake, bamboo shoots and ramen noodles.

As with most ramen establishments, you can customise the ramen components (spice level, noodle texture, oil level, add-ons, etc) to your liking here. Simply fill up your preferences in a form and their kimono-dressed chefs will curate your personalised ramen accordingly!

The star of the show was none other than the crawfish. Debra shared that the crustaceans come from a local crawfish farm, Singapore Crawfish, which is her business partner and has been helping her in this venture. The seafood is fresh and sustainably sourced, as such.

I’m no seafood expert, but I loved how the crawfish flesh had a firm bite and wasn’t rubbery at all. It also had a subtle sweetness which complemented the dish’s overall umami flavour profile.

Speaking of crawfish, Singapore Crawfish Ramen makes their ramen broth with crawfish heads. Not only that, but the broth also features over 30 ingredients and a simmering process of 16 hours! 

To say the broth was rich is hence an understatement, for it was simply radiating with pure umami seafood flavour. Yes, it will probably make you thirsty afterwards, but thirsty for more. You don’t want to waste a single drop of this addictive seafood elixir, trust me.

Next up were the ramen noodles, a key component in any ramen dish in my opinion. According to Debra, the noodles are air-flown from a Japanese supplier. Hence, they’re as authentic as they can get.

To my delight, the noodles were soft yet springy. They were also able to absorb the broth and its flavours very well, which was a bonus.

If there’s anything I’ve learnt after going for so many food tastings, it’s that when an owner recommends something, you get it. To complete the dish, Debra recommended adding an Onsen Egg (S$1.50), which the basic bowl doesn’t include. The choice was obvious.

Satisfyingly, the ramen egg was cooked to perfection. It had a jammy yolk and was oozing umami all around.

I added on the Clams (S$3) as well, which took me by surprise with the generous portion. They looked and tasted clean, a sign of how meticulously they were processed. 

Slightly salty and decadent on their own, the clams didn’t have much of a briny taste, if at all. I suspect the powerful savoury notes of the crawfish broth might have helped to mask their fishiness too.

Overall thoughts

Considering their CBD location, I’d say Singapore Crawfish Ramen is an affordable go-to meal option if you’re in the area. That said, do head down early as they only serve 168 bowls each day. 

Why 168? Because the digits sound like “一路发” in Mandarin, which means “a prosperous road ahead”. Not only that, but frontliners enjoy a 10% discount too! It’s Debra’s way of encouraging and supporting her healthcare colleagues.

If you’re lucky, you might also catch Debra and some of her celebrity friends in the flesh at the stall. As someone who strongly believes that food brings people together, she hopes to serve and interact with customers herself whenever she can. 

Ultimately, Debra hopes that more Singaporeans will support local businesses in these tough times. She has big plans to expand and is looking forward to bringing Singapore Crawfish Ramen to other parts of the island soon. I can’t wait to see what else they have to offer!

Expected damage: $12 – $17 per pax

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Price: $ $

Our Rating: 5 / 5

Singapore Crawfish Ramen

3 Shenton Way, #01-04 Shenton Foodhall, Singapore 068805

Price
Our Rating 5/5

Singapore Crawfish Ramen

3 Shenton Way, #01-04 Shenton Foodhall, Singapore 068805

Operating Hours: 11am - 8pm (Mon - Fri), Closed on Sat & Sun

Operating Hours: 11am - 8pm (Mon - Fri), Closed on Sat & Sun
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