Arena 10 has become the go-to place for award-winning ramen. In search of the perfect bowl, we do the leg work for you in our handy guide.
Looking for the Best Ramen Restaurants in Bangkok? Look here.
This chain was established in Tokyo, Japan more than 50 years ago by the God of Ramen, Kazuo Yamagishi, inventor of tsukemen, also known as dipping ramen in Japan (or morisoba). Thanks to the success of Taishoken, tsukemen has now become one of the most popular versions of ramen in Japan. This shop also has a sibling at K-Village called Ganso Tsukemen Yamagishi whose name came from a ramen chef who learned the recipe directly from Yamagishi.
Champion Bowl: Tsukemen tonkatsu shoyu (B260) is served in a set of two bowls. One comes with shiny yellow noodles while the other is a fragrant bowl of thick, dark soup with big chunks of pork and a hard boiled-egg. If you want some extra heat, they also do a spicy version served with chili, pork and miso.
Our take: A bit like a saltier palo ramen at first, but the dense and thick stew adds so much texture and depth to the dish, our noodles were all gone before we knew it.
Open in Tokyo in 2003 and one of the most famous ramen shops in Japan, Tsujita’s secret weapon is its slow-cooked pork and chicken bones mixed with fish, vegetable and other ingredients. Simmered for at least 12 hours until it becomes brown, thick and covered with a layer of shiny oil, it is then served in tsukenmen (dipping ramen) style. Are you a newbie? They have their own way of eating ramen printed as easy to follow instructions on the wall.
Champion Bowl: Using their ordering machine, get a bowl of nidaime tsukemen (B260). The tsukemen comes with two bowls, hot thick soup and ramen noodles with a slice of lime and paper-thin seaweed on top. The gravy-like soup is packed with slices of grilled pork (chashu) which go perfectly with the chewy noodles. Don’t put the lime juice in right away. As they suggest, the best way to taste it is to add it when you’re halfway through. It refreshes your taste buds, cuts the fat, and the lime doesn’t get cooked. Their hanjuku egg is also great!
Our take: We love our soup fatty so we don’t really need the limey gimmick to enjoy this great broth.
Another Tokyo original, this black soup is cooked from fish mixed with seven types of miso (fermented soya beans). It owes its unique color to the bamboo charcoal used in its preparation, an ingredient believed to have detoxifying properties. We also learned that Shodai Kesuke’s chef, Keisuke Takeda, is a celebrity chef who originally trained in French cooking but grew famous with his innovative ramen and Japanese recipes.
Champion Bowl: The tontoro chashu kuro kwami (B280) is a black, dense, shiny broth—impressive—topped with a slice of hard-boiled egg and chashu, seaweed and saffron. They also have instructions on how to best enjoy your black ramen: start with the yellow ramen noodles, then add more peppers and chili as you progress through the bowl. The chef also recommends you finish the soup with a bowl of rice.
Our take: Big as a washbowl, to finish the soup with rice you’d have to be starving. A fantastic ramen overall, both for aroma and taste. You’ll soon forget the slightly creepy color.
Kibi’s ultimate selling point is that its chicken soup contains natural collagen. A soup that makes your skin look better? What great marketing! Before the soup becomes this thick and rich, the chef has to simmer some 60 kilograms of chicken bones for two days. The result, a delicious golden-colored soup.
Champion Bowl: Paitung ramen (B290) is topped with grilled-pork and chicken, a hard-boiled egg, bamboo shoots and saffron.
Our take: Though the toppings are nice, the soup is so rich and the color so appealing, it’s gotta be what the doctor ordered: a chicken soup a day. While a soup this fatty might require a spin on the treadmill, it’s definitely worth it. Don’t miss out on their fresh iced uji (shaved-ice with red beans, B90).
This is a collaboration of two popular ramen places: Sukeya and Ginya. Sukeya is famed for its tonkatsu ramen served in a dense pork bone soup while Ginya’s miso ramen achieves a perfect mix of spices and miso according to the grandma’s original recipe from Nagano, Japan’s miso capital.
Champion Bowl: Based on a concentrated miso soup mixed with spices, gokumiso ramen (B180) is served topped with stired-fried pork with spices and chili oil, a slice of pork, bean sprouts and corns.
Our take: The bowl is perfect for ramen lovers who love spices, as the soup, when mixed with stir-fried pork, gives a smell which is a bit like Indian cooking and goes well with the thick noodles. Don’t like spices? Give it a pass.
Another Tokyo import, this fish soup uses dried herrings and Vietnamese salt they claim is the world’s best. There’s also shoyu and braised pork bone for a full umami flavor.
Champion Bowl: The Setagaya Ramen (B270) comes in two styles, shuyu or salt soup. Toppings include grilled pork, bamboo shoot, seaweed and two slices of boiled egg—or add chopped onions for a sweeter, more fragrant broth.
Our take: Despite the pleasing red color and all the hype regarding the exotic ingredients, this soup is a bit of a disappointment. Salty but non-fatty, it’s a sad, diet ramen. Still, their boiled egg is better than others.
Ramen Champion, Arena 10, Thonglor Soi 10. Open Sun-Thu 11am-midnight, Fri-Sat 11am-3am
Recently, you might have seen a bunch of people waiting in front of a small ramen place next to Lido Theatre at Siam Square. They’re queuing for Chabuton, the brainchild of 2002 TV Champion Award-winning Yasuji Morizumi, a former French cuisine chef who has combines his Gallic culinary background with Japanese traditional noodles. Yasuji now owns more than 20 ramen restaurants in Japan and the US.
The bowl: The tonkatsu ramen (B130, B175) is the original hit. You will be served a bowl of noodles in concentrated pork-bone soup that’s been cooked for more than 15 hours, topped with Japanese bunching onions and slices of special grilled pork.
Our take: It’s not just that we had to wait for half an hour in the queue that has us saying this soup is delicious. The noodles are less exciting but the pork, with its grilled scent, is superb.
Siam Square, next to Lido Theatre, 02-635-7930. Open Mon-Fri 11am-10pm, Sat-Sun 10am-10pm
NEW> Ramen Planet Mutsumiya
Celebrity jewelry designer Suriyon Sri-Orathaikul takes a break from diamonds to import authentic pork-bone-soup ramen from Hokkaido. Ramen Planet Mutsumiya, founded in 1996, is the creation of chef Take Rokosuke who is famed as a ramen Iron Chef with his authentic-Hokkaido Mutsumiya-style ramen. Sat next to the popular Bonchon Fried Chicken, this ramen place is decked out in a simple Japanese simple style using dark wood.
The bowl: Their tonkatsu ramen (B170) is a perfect combination of yellow noodles, bean sprouts, Japanese onions and a big slice of grilled pork.
Our take: We found that the soup of the tonkatsu ramen, though pretty dense, is a bit too sweet for our palate. To correct that, either add a splash of shoyu (Japanese soy sauce) or just get the black tongkatsu ramen, which has shoyu in it—ah, now you’ve got a delicious broth.
2/F, Seen Space, 251/1 Thonglor Soi 13, 02-185-2373. Open daily 11am-11pm
Classic Ramen Spots
Ramen Tei. Four branches. Try 11/1 Soi Thaniya, Surawong Rd., 02-234-4326. Open daily 11am-midnight
Yamagoya. Four branches. Try 98-102 Surawongs Rd., 02-185-3790-7. Open daily 10am-1pm
Grand Ramen. 25/18-19 Sukhumvit 55 (Soi Thong Lor), 02-714-1020. Open daily 11am-11pm
Bankara Ramen. The Manor, 32/1 Sukhumvit Soi 39, 02-662-5162-3. Open daily 11am-11pm
Ganso Tsukemen Yamagishi. 2/F Zone A K-Village Sukhumvit Soi 26, 02-661-2931. Open daily 11.30am-10pm
Ringer Hut. 2/F Zone B K-Village Sukhumvit Soi 26, 02-665-6470. Open daily 11am-10pm