Menya Musashi, STARamen@StarVista

A typical saturday lunch out at Star Vista would mean jostling crowds, long snaking queues, and a resulting virtually immovable apathy towards simply shuffling forward to find a place to dine.

But apparently weekday lunches are the opposite. The church-slash-shopping-mall-because-of-mercenary-pastors-nowadays are all the rage during the weekends, but relatively desolate and abandoned during the week.

Works for me. Time to finally introduce Dad and Sis to that famous ramen store everyone’s been raving about.

Amusement abounds when we sit down and the waiter offers us bibs. Yes, bibs. Little baby bibs, enlarged into large, gaping white sheets that engulf your front in a protective white sheen shielding from- yes, the greatest enemy of the well-ironed, white washed shirt- ramen soup. Quite ironically, our parents accepted the offer and here we were- my sister and I, and two big babies.

But all this, in preparation for the food, no?

Menya Musashi serves up their noodles with éclat. A thick, rich, soupy ramen base with springy, chewy strands. Their different kinds of ramen are basically different arrangements of soup bases, contents, and eating style. (Ooh, yes- arrangements: maths!)

There are three soup bases: Black, White, and Red Musashi; and four ingredients: Cha Shu, Aburi Kanto (Duck), Aburi Chicken, and Iso (Seafood). If your maths doesn’t fail you, that gives you 12 choices.

Add on the two different Tsukemens, and their special sets/ promotions, and you’re good to go.

The mean bowl they serve up here isn’t your typical ramen- their signature black Musashi is an inky concoction: the dark treacherous boil of pork bones and all things sinful and tasty.

We ordered three bowls to share, with a free noodle upsize. The noodle upsize is entirely worth it- their unique Tsukemen ramen features a dipping sauce that is more than enough for the upsize of noodles. The black Tsukemen we ordered was basically a saltier, tastier rendition of the black soup (black Musashi); a terrible thing to taste by itself, but a wonderful pairing with the springy, light noodles. I was never the type of person to drink the leftover soupy remains after finishing the contents of a ramen bowl anyways, but anyone with a penchant for soup slurping would be better off ordering the normal black Musashi ramen- the Tsukemen may look the same, but the base is exceedingly salty and liable to destroy one’s tastebuds if tried alone.

Cha Su Tsukemen $14.90.
Cha Su Tsukemen $14.90.
Beautifully simple layout. Chewy, springy noodles to dip into the inky black sauce.
Beautifully simple layout. Chewy, springy noodles to dip into the inky black sauce.

The White Musashi is comparable to the typical ramen you find out and about here in the little nooks of shopping malls- but what really made it stand out is its incredibly creamy soup base absolutely bursting with pork flavor. Their noodles were standard all round, but decent and springy- not at all overcooked or undercooked. What I would’ve preferred was a tastier piece of pork- dry, unappealing, limpy pieces of meat are all that seem to accompany a good ramen bowl nowadays. Their duck was substantially more juicy, but more from the soup than anything else.

White musashi abiru kamo ramen. $13.90.
White musashi abiru kamo ramen. $13.90.

Deep vermilion soup stood out like a handful of daisies in the barren shores of grayed rocks and murky waters of ramen land. Ebi Tsukemen. A potent brew for one like me; beautifully pink prawns are perceived as ghastly allergens hidden in the guise of incredibly alluring and sumptuous foodscapes. Never mind. For the love of food, I’ll eat now and deal with the consequences later (usually by popping a Zyrtec pill). Their broth was delectable. Lip-smacking, soup-slurping good. Remember that delightful angel-hair pasta with scampi oil that mom proudly serves up? Not too far off- except this was a gargantuan bowl of the concoction that called for joyful noodle-dipping.

Ebi Tsukemen. $16.90.
Ebi Tsukemen. $16.90.

Any woes?

Well, it’s ramen. The type of food that has you slurping it down with relish, then gulping down tea in anguish- regretting the after effects of the ajinomoto wreaking caustic havoc on throats.

But never mind.

Rating: 5/7 (Good broth, good noodles, good price; terrible pork and ridiculously salty aftertaste)

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