The Ramen Craze Hits Manila

I don’t recall when this ramen obsession in Manila started but lately, it’s been all the rage. I must admit that I only jumped on the ramen bandwagon recently. You would never find me excited to order a bowl of noodle soup when Japanese dining. A fellow parent in my daughter’s class strongly suggested I go to Butao Ramen when I visited Hongkong last year. She was adamant and even told me to brave the line. This set the bar quite high for me. It was my first real go at ramen and it was wonderful. I remember expecting fireworks when I first sipped the thick, piping hot broth and chewed on the fat noodles. But truth be told it did not happen in that initial moment. But as I kept eating it, I kept wanting more and more until I wiped out the entire bowl. I was so full I felt as though I had to be rolled out of there. Then the cravings started. I was desperately looking for that fulfilling satisfaction that ramen delivers so as soon as I returned home from my trip, I tried all the places that came highly recommended.

My PEG – Butao Ramen in Hongkong

Here, I did a comparative study to find which local ramen house suited by taste buds best. I asked many ramen lovers and ALL had different favorites. Needless to say, all these places have all been recommended. But now, I definitely know which ones to return to and which ones still need improvement.

My first stop was Ukokkei Ramen Ron. I decided on this because I was told it was the most authentic. I liked that the place was small and that it gave a simple eat and run vibe. The menu was straight to the point, ramen choices, toppings and sides, drinks. There is also only one size for the ramen, which is big, so come hungry… It will definitely fill you up. The soup also came out really fast, always a plus! The Tantanmen was perfect. I loved the flavor of the broth. If I’m being honest, I was so excited that I forgot to snap a photo of it before digging in. This one is definitely the best broth they have and the only downside is that they only start serving it at 6pm because it takes a whole day to make. This was a disappointment when I returned for lunch and could not have it but it also gave me a chance to sample some others. A close second is the Miso Ramen. I really enjoyed the one with only vegetables. It was delicious and offered a healthier option for customers. I was also able to try the Shio Ramen (with pork), which is a salt based broth. This I found boring. The soup is clear and though it is tasty, it is not quite as satisfying. They have one generic noodle size for all their ramen. I prefer the choice but at least it is handmade there so it is fresh. I love the crispy fried onions, which top your soup. It adds the perfect little sweet crunchy bite.

My Setting

Ukokkei Condiments

Ukokkei Miso Ramen

Ukokkei Shio Ramen

The next place I tried was Mitsuyado Sei-Men. I liked the atmosphere as soon as I walked in. I loved that the place was bright and well lit. This place too, gave a low-key vibe but at the same time, it did not feel like an eat-and-run type. I was comfortable so I was okay to sit and take my time. The menu here definitely had more options, good for a big group wherein not everyone will order ramen. I also found this place child friendly. Asides from having staple Japanese dishes that kids prefer the ramen came in quantity options: a regular size and a large size. It also had wide spaces between tables. Though I tried many items on the menu, I will focus on the ramen, which I thought was spectacular (both times I went). I loved the thickness of the noodles. The broth was also superb. I sampled the Char-siu Ramen and the Tsukemen, which has the broth, noodles and toppings separated, almost like a deconstructed meal. I loved this because the noodles stay firm with every bite. I have heard great things about the cheese ramen but that is one combination I am not quite ready to explore yet. Maybe in the future as this is one place I plan to come back to.

Mitsuyado Gyoza

Mitsuyado Ebi Tempura – Perfect for the kids!

Mitsuyado Char-siu Ramen

Mitsuyado Tsukemen

My next stop was the newly opened Hokkaido Ramen Santouka. This place definitely had a more sit down feel. The interiors and the lighting are set on the dimmer end, using darker hues for their wooden tabletops and décor. I liked that it is accessible, located in the outside of Glorieta 4 so that you don’t even need to enter the mall. The menu gave a wide array of options but not your regular Japanese dishes. This one had salads, rice bowls, curries and even set menus to give diners a variety with each meal. Their ramen comes in small, medium and large. Since it was my first time to try, I decided to go with the Char-sui Ramen because it was one of the best sellers. While the broth had nice flavor, something about the noodles reminded me of instant noodles. I personally prefer thicker noodles with a bite. The pork was tasty so and added a new flavor level to the dish so I can see why this one came recommended. I also sampled their Miso Ramen, which also had nice flavor.

My Setting

Santouka Condiments

Santouka Char-siu Ramen

Santouka Miso Ramen

Last but definitely not the least, I had to try Ramen Yushoken. To most people, Alabang may seem far out of the way but I grew up there so to me, it is home. If you need to be further convinced to make the trek, Yushoken is the Ramen house of Elbert Cuenca, the man behind Elbert’s Steak Room and Cheeseteak by Elbert’s. His other 2 restaurants are favorites of mine so I came in with high expectations. These were definitely met. The place had a long line but forgivable because most Ramen houses do. Our orders were taken while waiting and when we were seated, we were served tight away. Again, The menu was quite straight to the point, which I like. They have hot ramen and tsukemen, a cold ramen and sides. I opted to try their Tantanmen and Miso Ramen. Both were excellent. The noodles may not have been as thick as I like but they were firm and luscious. I liked the Miso ramen a tad bit better because the miso and pork were just so perfectly balanced. This is now one of my favorite village restaurants when back home for the weekend.

Yushoken Gyoza

Yushoken Tantanmen

Yushoken Miso Ramen

I am obviously sold on Ramen now. In a recent trip to Singapore I tried Ippudo Ramen, which was really special. What I like about it is that it is hard to get it wrong. All these places had something special to offer. I also find ramen so reasonable. Most bowls are priced between Php250-Php450 and it is a complete meal. I hope this helps you all find your special bowl of Ramen!

A Special Treat – Ippudo Ramen in Singapore

Store Locations

Ukokkei Ramen Ron

Tesoro Building, 822 A. Arnaiz Ave.

San Lorenzo, Makati

Mitsuyado Sei – Men

22 Jupiter Street

Bel – Air, Makati

Hokkaido Ramen Santouka

G/F Glorieta 4, Hotel Drive

Ayala Center, Makati

Ramen Yushoken

Molito Mall, Madrigal Avenue,

Alabang, Muntinlupa

Butao Ramen (Hongkong)

G/F Wo On Building

8 – 13 On Lane Street

Lan Kwai Fong, Central

Hongkong

Ippudo Ramen (Singapore)

207 River Valley Rd

UE Square, Singapore

 

Comments

  1. sante blog says:

    Pretty! This was an incredibly wonderful article. Thanks for
    supplying these details.

  2. An impressive share! I’ve just forwarded this onto a co-worker who has been
    doing a little homework on this. And he actually ordered me breakfast simply because
    I found it for him… lol. So let me reword this…. Thanks for the meal!!

    But yeah, thanks for spending some time to discuss this
    matter here on your site.

    • sweetestgeorgiapeach says:

      Happy to help you and your friend. Do tell him more have opened up such as Ramen Nagi (Butao) amd Wrong Ramen, both worth a try too :)

Speak Your Mind

*