Hokkaido is the place to go in Japan if you want delicious fresh seafood, quality beef and some of the nation’s best produce. I’ve had many a good Kaisen-don and Miso Ramen during my travels there and there’s also an abundance of other local specialties including soup curry, nabe, potato snacks, ice cream, beer and cheesecake. But you don’t have to travel so far to satisfy your craving for Hokkaido food as Singapore has it’s own Hokkaido food hall located in the basement of Orchard Central shopping mall, namely Hokkaido Marche. With stalls serving ramen, soba, yakitori, curry, sashimi bowls and much more as well as a sushi restaurant, there’s plenty to choose from and all at very affordable prices.
Courtesy of JPassport, I went there last week to try the ramen from Hokkaido Marche’s Ajisai Noodles stall and the soba from the Maruki stall.
Ajisai Noodles is a ramen restaurant from Hakodate in south Hokkaido which has been established for over 80 years. Famous for their shio (salt) ramen, they also serve ramen in miso, shoyu (soy sauce) and seabura (pork back fat) broths as well as have sides and additional ramen toppings available on their menu.
I tried their signature Hakodate Ramen which is what they call their shio ramen and the broth is made from pork, chicken and naturally occurring rock salt from the base of kelp growing in south Hokkaido. The ramen was delicious, the clear broth was light yet flavourful and not too salty, the noodles were perfectly cooked and slightly chewy and topped with pieces of juicy, tender chashu (braised pork), half a soft boiled egg, bamboo shoots and spring onions. A very satisfying but not too heavy bowl of noodles!
The soba I had at Maruki was also very good. I had the Iberico Soba and chose a prawn tempura and pumpkin tempura on the side. The handmade soba noodles were cooked al-dente and were very gratifying in the hot, umami-rich dashi broth that was a little stronger with the katsuobushi (dried, fermented and smoked skipjack tuna) flavour than most. Topped with a generous amount of tender Iberico pork and nori strips, it was a healthy and authentic bowl of soba. Of course you would expect a great bowl of soba from them considering Maruki have more than 130 years of experience making soba!
The tempura prawn and pumpkin were cooked to perfection. The batter was very light, crunchy and not too oily, absolutely yummy dipped in the soba broth. Maruki have many different types of freshly made tempura that you can choose from including crab stick, soft boiled egg, sweet potato, aubergine, courgette, lotus root, asparagus, pumpkin, prawn and kakiage as well as crab cream croquettes.
Their menu includes a variety of hot and cold soba dishes as well as rice dishes and sets. If you’re not keen on soba you can always opt for udon!
Hokkaido Marche is a place where you can go to try a range of Hokkaido’s cuisine all under one roof and with the convenience of a food court setting. It’s great for a quick lunch or casual meal with friends and from what I’ve tried, I would highly recommend going there for authentic and tasty Hokkaido food. Members of JPassport can try signature dishes from the stalls in Hokkaido Marche for just $10 on Mondays to Thursdays! For more information, check out the JPassport Hokkaido Marche page.
Address: Orchard Central B2 Unit 11 – 29, 44 – 48, 181 Orchard Road, Singapore 238896
Tel: 6509 9383
Opening Hours: Daily 11am – 11pm (last order 10pm)
Hope you’ve enjoyed my review of Hokkaido Marche, please feel free to leave a comment below with your own review or if you have any questions!