In the hustle and bustle of Tras street, house a cool yet unassuming restaurant, Torasho Ramen & Charcoal Bar. Torasho takes pride in serving you the best of steaks, crabs, beers, craft beers and of course, ramen. This one-year-old establishment is opened by Tora Widjaja and Sho Naganuma, a place that not only speaks great food but one that embraces and honours different cultures.
An unlikely, unexpected friendship
Despite their age difference, Tora and Sho have a deep bond over a shared love for – you guessed it, food. Their chance encounter on their trip to Japan six years ago was a game-changer for both parties. Tora shared, “We had five to six meals a day, for ten days, and we both thought, wow, this guy can keep up with me.” Tora jokingly mentions, “We always eat to the point where our friends don’t want to come with us. We order too much.”
I just love food so much, so why not make use of it?
Tora, Co-owner of Torasho
When it comes to joking around and having fun, the duo at Torasho does it best. They share how their best ideas are built out of the jokes and fun times they have together. There, they wondered if they could both do something together. Tora shared, “When I finished my National Service, I told Sho, why not we open a store here?” As a testimony to their love for food, there came the birth of Torasho.
Torasho’s specialities, where cultures collide
Torasho is more than just your ordinary bar, one that exudes diversity, the coming together of different cultures.
Sit back and tuck into Torasho’s ultimate bestseller, Tsukemen ($14). Tsukemen directly translates to “dipping ramen”, where the noodles are to be eaten after being dipped in a separate bowl of broth.
We are probably the only ramen shop to have customers buying Tsukemen more than Tonkatsu ramen!
Sho, Co-owner of Torasho
Its Tsukemen broth is a mixture between Tonkatsu broth and seafood, thick and full of flavour. Savour it alongside its cold, thick noodles which lies on the hard and chewy side, where some might say, “So QQ!”. It also comes with Torasho’s signature pork, nicely charred and tender.
Torasho’s signature Stupid Donabe ($128) is simply a sight to behold. It is simply spectacular and features an impressive array of ingredients. The Donabe is filled with Japanese rice cooked with dashi and topped with generous Wagyu Tenderloin, Uni, Ikura, King Crab, Onsen Egg. The flavours come together perfectly, truly a dish for every occasion.
Torasho’s appetizers cannot be missed. Dig into their unique spin of a Taco, Unagi Taco ($15), one that encompasses different cultures. Tora shared, “We’ve got the Papadum from India, topped with Taramasalata at the bottom, Unagi Karage from Japan, and Som Tum from Thailand.” It is a genius creation by Sho, a blend of crunchiness and a slight tanginess.
They say looks may be deceiving, and it is true in the case of Torasho’s Uni Pillow ($15). While this dish may seem small, it is a mouthful of bliss. It features a sheet of nori tempura, with generous Uni toppings on top, bursting with umami and sweet, refreshing notes. “It’s like an explosion, an indescribable taste,” Tora shares.
Although hard to believe, Torasho was opened in the middle of a pandemic in January 2020. A month after their opening, a lockdown was announced. The same thing occurred when they opened their second outlet at Takashimaya. The timing couldn’t have been worse, but the duo’s optimism is both contagious yet inspiring.
There will always be challenges, (and) when it happens, we just have to keep going.
Tora, Co-owner of Torasho
It’s also their mentality of “What now?” that have led them to where they are. Tora shared, “We got through everything the same way, thinking, what now? what can we do?” Sho added, “No point in stressing out because that’s not going to do anything. Look for improvements and work your way around it.”