Hands up if you can’t visit Tokyo without gravitating towards one of Afuri Ramen’s numerous outlets dotted around the city. We don’t blame you — the eatery’s signature noodles, served in a zesty yuzu-scented soup is pretty irresistible. For a commercial chain with close to 10 restaurants in Tokyo (plus branches in Yokohama and Hokkaido), the quality of its food is pretty on point.
And finally, after opening outposts in as far as Portland, Oregon and Lisbon in Portugal — Afuri is expanding its franchise reach into the rest of Asia, starting with Singapore. Its first outlet will be at the basement of the newly revamped Funan mall, and will open its doors on 28 June. Lucky us.
The Singapore outlet is brought in by local company Japan Foods Holding, which also runs other franchised ramen restaurants in Singapore such as Menya Musashi, Menzo Butao, Konjiki Hototogisu and Ajisen Ramen.
However, the Afuri in Singapore isn't 100 percent similar to the one in Tokyo. Its full name here is Afuri Ramen + Dumpling, like its other franchised outlets outside of Japan. A Japan Foods Holding's rep says the SG menu will be "similar to the Portland branch". Hmm, why not the Tokyo branches? We just hope the standard of the cooking here will be on par with the Tokyo restaurants' because we hear the quality at the Portland branches isn't quite the same. According to Afuri's Portland outlet's website, the crowd-pleasing heavyweights like Yuzu Shio and Yuzu Ratan ramen are served, as well as their popular Yuzu Tsukemen. There are also, er, funkier fusion options like a Hazelnut Tantanmen with hazelnut broth, as well as housemade gyozas stuffed with pork, napa cabbages and leeks.
The Japan Foods Holding rep adds that the Singapore restaurant will have 73 seats, with a "shopfront design similar to Tokyo's". Which means you can expect to slurp your ramen in an ultra sleek, all-black enclave, as evident from a shop rendering photo (see main pic) sent to us by the rep.
The restaurant in Funan is currently undergoing renovation, but looks promising from its Facebook photos: