Gwern Khoo (left), 35, Ben Tham (right), 34
As told by Gwern Khoo:
Before setting up this store in 2012, I worked as a chef at various fine dining restaurants in Marina Bay Sands and Resorts World Sentosa.
I always wanted to create my own dishes, and a hawker store is a good low-cost platform to test out my ideas. Having worked with Japanese chefs, I’m familiar with Japanese cuisine and ingredients so I decided to create a Singapore-style ramen.
There’s only one item on the menu because I believe in making one quality dish rather than five mediocre ones. Every bowl that leaves my kitchen has to be up to my standards. I sell roughly 200 bowls every day.
Singaporeans like their noodles dry – for example mee pok tah and bak chor mee – so I serve my ramen dry to cater to local taste buds. There’s usually a queue during lunchtime so I try to move as fast as possible – right now, I take about 1.5 minutes to prepare a bowl.
Winning the Bib Gourmand was an unexpected shock. I'm really excited by it. But now that the initial euphoria has settled down, I took a step back and realised the enormous expectations people will have of us. The pressure is definitely on. That said, we'll continue to do what we have always been doing best – cooking with all our hearts.
I’m the happiest when customers tell me they like the food and sometimes, they post good reviews on our Facebook page. It makes me feel that what I’m doing is worth it and that it’s not time wasted.
DISH TO TRY
Not much choice here: there’s only the ramen ($7/small, $9/medium) on the menu. But that’s enough. Because the noodles are springy and coated in an umami-rich sauce, the sous vide char siew melts in your mouth, and the potato-wrapped prawn provides the necessary crunch.