Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Kichitora Tokyo ramen

Located at the 2nd floor Atrium between building A and B, and right in front of Pork Katsu restaurant Yabu is Kichitora Tokyo ramen.

I read from menu that Kichitora is franchise from a Shibuya restaurant that is highly regarded. I'm not familiar with their main store so I'll just take it by face value.

I tried their Paitan Ramen Zabu no Se, said to be their specialty. I also tried their Chicken based ramen since Chicken must be their ramen theme judging from their name.

The ramen is topped by slightly hard boiled egg and lots of chopped spring onions. Fine Menma bamboo shoots  and Nori leaf for decor.
The soup is good. Light in flavour but full bodied with the Pork and Chicken stock. There's powdered sesame seed and dark sesame oil on it  as extra pep to the stock.

I like the excellent thin and shiny noodles. It has a good bite and goes well with the soup.
The 2 Chasu slices on top are good. It's been nicely grilled to let out it's taste better. 

I like their ramen. I find it really satisfying despite it's high price, It's all worth it. I've a mind to go back there again.

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Friday, May 17, 2013

Mitsuyado sei-men - Tsukemen Ramen

Mitsuyado sei-men in Makati city have been open for quite while, this Japanese style theme restaurant have been a mainstay favorite in a lot culinary article in magazines and newspapers.

They specialize in thick tsukemen style Ramen, or dipping style noodles.

 Check out some the these theme decor, trying to replicate some semblance of an era long since gone in Japan

It's like a very small section of Ramen museum in  Yokohama.

Love that thick chewy noodles that they serve, whether it's hot or cold. The hearty but mildly flavoured dipping sauce goes well with it.

The Beni-shoga that they use tend to be too sour and lacks the right balance of salty/sweetness to it. Taste like those one get's cheaply at your local Yoshinoya. Wish that they get a better supplier or better yet the serving should come a slice of a good lemon. That might give better fresh astringent taste to the dish.

If your gonna dine here I would suggest that you should stick to the Tsuke-men dipping noodles. Their bowl of ramen noodle soup are quite disappointing. Not that they're bad per se, it's just when taken in it's entirety is rather bland and quite lacking in punch from other Ramen. I notice quite more than a few costumers only eating it half-way.

The noodles are excellent of course, as I numerously tried it as a Tsuki-men, but mixed in with the pork soup that taste suspiciously like the diluted version of the dipping sauce, the marriage is disappointing. I would prefer just taking the noodles plainly without the starchy tasteless broth.The pork slices are nothing to write about either.

Again just stick to the Tsuki-men dipping noodles. You'll love it.

They have a very conventional but tasty Gyoza. They should try what's fashionable nowadays, lessen the filling but make the skirt and underside of the wrapper a lot crispier while the other side is moist and chewy.

Make sure you come in very very early, 'cause it always get very crowded during peak hours. I suggest dining in during lean hours like late lunch or a very late supper time, and remember always try it with a nice Aji-tama or half-boiled eggs.

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Monday, April 8, 2013

Ikkoryu Fukuoka ramen

A new ramen shop has opened just a few weeks ago at the new wing of Shangri-la shopping center at Edsa/Shaw crossing.

I happened upon it's initial opening day as I was checking out the new wing. I've eaten already on that day, but I surely made a point on checking their ramen.

They have a very decent ramen bowl. Like most new ramen shops that open these days they go for the rich pork broth kind. Such creamy rich pork soup that are derived from constantly boiling loads of pork bones have been the style found in Fukuoka. From other ramen blogs, it seems to be the preferred taste in Japan these days.

As I stated this shops ramen is sure very decent. It definitely satisfy  any one's ramen crave. The soup is milky and sweet with a clean taste. The toasted garlic and oil blends really well with it without giving any strong garlicky taste as most other soup tends to have.

The noodle are straight and thin. Picks the soup with it to every slurp. Very delicious and filling.

It's topped with some simple Chasu pork that are tender but nothing to write about, and hard-boiled eggs, the yolk is slightly over cooked than it should be but it's still ok.

Now the bad side. The pickled bamboo shots they used gives a rather unpleasant smell, that most costumers will notice. I pointed this out to the floor Manager, he said to me that it is problem and that they're still looking for a new supplier of pickled bamboo shoots. It's such a pity if they remove it from the bowl since I like Menma with my Tonkotsu bowl.

The Gyoza they had are pathetic and really sorry looking. It sure needs some Atlas work-out to get some meat into it. For now I'll just call it the Mac of gyoza, it's almost paper thin and ready to be blown away.

I find the interior decor rather interesting. The wooden panelings they had as dividers with some brush Kanji written on them kinda invoke some Japanese temple images that one see in their horror/supernatural movies or like an old-fashion wooden jail cells. I guess they're trying to emulate giant strands of noodles all over the place and the Kanji are like some secret family recipe written on those bamboo scrolls in the olden time. maybe.

I'll come back to it sometime just to see if they improve on their dish, here's hoping that they get better on their main menu and on their side dish.

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Monday, March 11, 2013

Le Ching tea house

Le Ching tea house shoppesville Greenhills.

Anyone who are familiar to Greenhills shopping center would certainly knew Le Ching tea house. It's been a mainstay of the place since who knows when.

Like most Chinese tea houses, you don't come here for the tea but for the food. But unlike the usual Yamcha menu that is synonymous to tea houses, Le ching is more a Noodle and Rice bowl establishment.

I've been dinning at it's restaurant since I was a kid. It was originally called "North Villa" or "South Villa", actually I quite forgot about it. I think there were two competing stores serving the same menu that over time they then merge into one entity. That's why there are are two independent stores inside Shoppesville. (Le ching 1 and Le ching 2) facing either ends of the mall.

Their Beef and Wonton noodles comes in these small bowl that's seem readily overflowing. It looks like a small dish but the noodle are tightly packed when served that one will find that they're a heaping helping of noodles when untangled.

The soup is salty and as much possible one shouldn't consume. It absorbs the yellow color and shrimp flavor of the thin Hong Kong style noodles. Just let it soak and heat up the noodles.

Eating these noodles remind of a scene from Jackie Chan's Drunken Master film.

When one eats at Le Ching one should order their Spare-rib rice. Much like a Burger is to Mcdonalds or the Gyudon to Yoshinoya, their spare-rice is Le Ching signature dish. That dish alone lays Le Ching's reputation. It's been touted by quite a few food reviewer as the best spare-rib rice in the country. Though such distinction is debatable, Le Ching's a good contender. I myself imagine that it's emergence in the mid- 80's brought about it's popularity to the menu of other small shop Chinese restaurants in the country.

Now mind you I've been eating this stuff for a long time, and even though my taste to it might be a little prejudiced, I've got to admit the quality of the dish sometimes varies from time to time, possibly from the temperament of the cook on that day.(the food are already pre-cooked off-site)

They sometimes use cheaper cuts meat instead of the tastier by the bone spare-ribs piece. And, the rice they use is isn't something to write about. Still when they got it all right, it's unbeatable as a satisfying hunger buster.

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Sunday, February 24, 2013

Santouka Hokkaido Ramen

I was fortunate enough to be able go to Glorietta's new ramen shop Hokkaido ramen Santouka on it's opening day, last Thursday. The first 300 costumer gets a free ramen voucher, and I can assure you having tasted their bowl, I'll sure be back to cash it in for more ramen goodness.

I was told they're still in their "dry-mode", hence they haven't yet a full menu. Only their essential Ramen dishes are available for order.

From the shops name I gather that their specialty is those Miso ladden broth ramen with butter and corn, the usual image of a Hokkaido style ramen. The bowl I was serve is more Hakata style with it's distinctive rich and creamy pork broth.

Either way from their selection I ordered their Shio ramen instead. I wanted to judge their soup without the added element of soy sauce or miso  from the other types. I can say happily that my decision had been most rewarded.

The ramen is topped with two meaty slices of Chasu that seems to marinated in honey, giving that extra tangy and sweet taste like one finds at some Chinese asado barbecue. some chopped welsh onions, sesame seeds, naruto fish cake and slices of Kikurage mushrooms. It's a topped with a single fresh Umeboshi (pickled plum) giving it a nice color.

The noodles are the eggy  crinkly kind. The noodles are cooked just right and has a delightful chewy flavor. My complaint is that the texture of the noodles seems pretty rough to the lips, probably it was agitated to much in it's boiling. Still it is delicious.

The soup has a delightful rich and sweet creamy taste. Not salty or strong , very easy on the tongue but it's flavor still permeates fully with the noodles.

The place is quite cozy though a little tight for all the waiting costumers. note the use of large and heavy wooden furnishings. The service is prompt and  though a little chaotic, this I gather from being just starting run of the shop.

The price is a little steep for a bowl, but it's definitely worth it for every drop and waiting one goes through for a very filling and fulfilling dine. See you there.

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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Ajisen Ramen

I've been one of the first to savor Ajisen ramen since during their soft opening. That was a long time now, since then It's been my favorite place to get my ramen fix.

I came upon it when North east square had just open and there seems to three Japanese themed restaurants there, besides Ajisen there is also another store that serves Udon and Soba which had closed since then, and there Aomori cafe, a quiet and pretty place with cake and tea's

Ajisen ramen's specialty is their creamy pork tonkotsu ramen. It's delicious flavorful soup, which are dripped with special oil and seasonings, is something to fully savor and ingest with sheer delight. The soup alone could cover the price one pays. It's pork flavour is fully present and spices used are there mainly to enhance it's creamy sweet taste.

The bit's floating on the soup are herbs and spices. I could guess that there are garlic and onions in it, but their taste are so subtle as not to mask the essence of the broth. I might even speculate that there might be orange peels  with herbs, to get slight zest.

In the menu its say that use some special salt from Okinawa in their soup. Anyway, whatever dope they may be putting in it, this bowl is my special poison.

Tasty slices of Chasu pork, thinly slices of black ear mushroom along with cabbage and seasoned egg tops the bowl. The ramen noodle is straight and smooth. Not starchy, they go well with soup and feels light to the stomach.

Their bowl of ramen is quite filling by themselves, but I also like to order their Chahan fried rice. Another tasty dish. One of the best Japanese style fried rice in the city. Cooked piping hot, pan seared with the right seasoning of ingredients, it has that right fluffy texture to each grain, not broken by careless ladling. Searing technique brings the flavor out, without being salty.

A lot of ramen eater, usually in the states find Ajisen to be too flavourful and salty, from my taste it doesn't seem so in this local franchise, I for one have a low tolerance to MSG. Think of this ramen as a bowl of noodles with a very light tasty sauce.

Ramen lovers should never miss Ajisen's franchise here in this country. Seeing from ones eyes is better than a thousand tale. Try it and you decide if it tops.

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Sunday, February 3, 2013

Mu Noodle Bar

Near the corner of Wilson ave. and P. Guevarra st. at San Juan, with it's distinctive bare wooden panel front design is Mu Noodle Bar.

Despite it trade specific name, a glance from their menu one can easily surmise that this is more of a standard Chinese cuisine restaurant than a noodle specific store. Nevertheless they seem to have some noodle dishes that one got to try.

I ordered their Miso ramen with thin noodles. The Ramen comes in this stone hot-pot bowls where they seem to cook the noodles. The broth is still actively boiling when it came to the table, which is quite promising for a group share dish.

It's pretty hot, best to get one's servings in another bowl than getting it straight from the bowl.

The 'Miso ramen' seems to be lacking in miso, the soup taste more distinctively Chinese than Japanese ramen with it's slices of radish and hints of ginger.  It's warm and refreshing flavour makes it a good broth, not Japanese but it still taste good just the same. The toppings are slices pork chasu with alfalfa sprouts and hard boiled egg.

The noodles are thin and straight. More like Saan mien than La-mien, so it tends to be starchy and soggy. I probably would recommend that you try the thick noodles if one is bothered with it being too soggy. The thin noodles suck up the light broth as it slowly cools down making it thicker in the process.

I've eaten here before during their initial opening months ago, I've commented how soggy their noodles are due the stone hot-pot bowl they use, which continually cooks the dish. I recommend that they try not to cook it much and just let it sit and simmer in it's pot when it's served.

They have the thin noodles now in the side and the costumer themselves add it to the bowl, so they can cook it themselves with how they like it done.

The ambiance of the place is cool and comfortable. With it's low light and simple stone and wooden furniture's, gives it a calming feeling without being too imposing.
Again, Mu noodle bar has some decent noodles but I would suggest that one try their Chinese entree dishes. Their Shrimp egg fu-yong is really good. 

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Sunday, January 27, 2013

Ted's oldtimer Lapaz batchoy

Ted's Lapaz batchoy is said to be the authentic Lapaz batchoy, if we'll believe the write-up of their advert poster. Then again the owner is said to be one of these so called originator of this local noodle soup, whether that has any substance to it's claim is still debatable.

To those unfamiliar to the dish, La paz batchoy is a Pilipino noodle soup dish that had it's roots in Lapaz dist. Iloilo city, mid-south of  the Philipines. It's a bowl of pork and beef broth with fresh egg noodles, topped with chopped pork meat, liver, offals and crispy toasted garlic and pork cracklings.

I usually partake a small bowl of batchoy when I had a little hungry pang for some lite meal of noodle soup. I ate this one at SM Mega-mall's food court.
I've never consider Lapaz batchoy as a full dish in itself. I treat it as something between a snack and a lite meal. Comfort food that one partakes usually at street food stalls when one is on his way to school/work. A lot of us Filipinos also take it as a side soup dish along with a main entree.

Now Ted's Batchoy is not something spectacular or even memorable, but it has all the basic essentials of a bowl Lapaz Batchoy that we've grown to used. Reminds me of those really old fashion ramen bars in Tokyo, their bowls unadorned and basically simple.

Their soup hearty but not salty, unlike other Batchoys being sold around. The noodle is partly dry fresh egg noodle that suits the dish strangely well. Using fresh Cantonese style noodles like one used in ramen seems, to me, is not that suited to this fatty pork laden soup. The salt semi-dry noodle strength is in it's inability to absorb the soup into it, making it's taste separate and texture distinct from the soup. It's like having two meals at one. Such idea to a noodle soup bowl is blasphemy to true Ramen lover, but to La paz Batchoy it works unusually quite well. 

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Thursday, January 17, 2013

Food truck by Broosey

I was taking a look around at some outdoor food vendors outside of a local mall when I spied upon a food truck that seems to specialize in ramen.

Now food stalls are abundant in my country buts it's rare to find these modern mobile food trucks that's more common in the States, and when this one serves primarily ramen it definitely piqued my interest. I bought me one of their special miso ramen.

A rather unflattering looking bowl the say the least. Can't believe I paid 180 Pesos for this (4.50 USD )
The bowl is made of laminated cardboard that one use as coffee cup, which may be good for the environment slightly than a Styrofoam bowl but not a good idea to use on a hot take-out noodle soup, fortunately the soup is mildly warm which in itself is not a good sign.

The serving is abysmal. The soup taste more like Batchoy than Japanese, even then I've tasted some side street vendors soup that tasted better than this. The pork slices is small and a little tough with bones to them. The Nori seems to be only thing Japanese in it, even that seem to contradict the pork  and Teri-miso soup. Perhaps they should've use crushed fresh garlic instead and maybe some bean-sprouts would definitely improve upon it's state.

One of the worst ramen bowl I'd tasted. Perhaps the chef is having a really bad bad day that it came out like that or maybe the trolls are messing with the recipe at night, who knows. I'll try it again and see if they'll improve... someday.

I tasted them at Metrowalk Ortigas center, I've seen them outside of Glorietta Makati recently.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Ukokkie ramen ron

Ukokkie Ramen ron at Pasay road Makati seems a like a very good place for some authentic ramen adventure. There is line of patrons lined up front and the atmosphere inside is like one can find at any ramen shops at Japan. Though I must stress that I said 'seems'...

The place is crowded but not too packed and yet the servers , attentive and pleasant they may be, are disorganized and lacks proper coordination. I've seen and heard costumers complaining about their late, missing order or getting the wrong one. Many a times they have gone back and forth with the wrong order to a costumer beside me in the counter. 

Anyway all can be forgiven just to a have a good bowl of ramen.

A rather unimpressive bowl I must say. Boring could easily describe it.

The soup is good, the noodles are fine and are cooked just right, the braised pork slices are passable. It has all the bells and whistles for a good Shoyu ramen, it's just that it's just too typical of a bowl for the price one has to pay and the hassle of driving into the place.

I also ordered a side of Gyoza.

I think the picture speaks for itself. Their much smaller in life than in the picture, if you're reading this in a I-pad, they're still much smaller. You wouldn't believe how much I paid for such a depressing plate. I was searching for the meat from the wrapper while eating it.

They have in their menu a side dish of grilled steak strips. It's delicious and I would recommend it over the gyoza.

Except for the gyoza, the shop do delivers with what it advertise. I just wish that there is a little excitement to their bowl or at the very least a much lower price for it's rather plain but decent one. 

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Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Maria-sama ga miteru - Locations

The show Maria-sama ga miteru (Maria watches over us) is one my all time favorite. A series that deals with trials and tribulations between the students in the fictional Lilian private academy for women. It's intimate depiction with their lives and relationship during their brief moments in high school and how they mature into adults, framed within a lush world that is both idealized fantasy and uncanny realistic,  had always drawn a very loyal following though all these years.

It been speculated within fans that if this fictional Lilian Academy actually exists where in Japan  can it be found. Where does Yumi and company go to and every school day. It's been stated in the novels, in every prologue, that the school is situated at a suburb in downtown Tokyo where one can see Musashi fields.  Now  Musashino in Tokyo is right besides Suginami ward where the Tokyo women's Christian University, a school who's history resembles much of Lilian, is located. It's been said that Lilian is partly based on it and to a private Catholic school that the author, Konno Oyuki attended during kindergarten.

Now much like Lucky Star is to Saitama prefecture. I'd like to know where within it's vicinities is the animated version of the series is based off.

I'd a dicussion with a fellow fan about where the show takes place and the idea of finding these places intrigues me.

Unfortunately I've been to Japan only once therefore I just can't go about in an aimless pilgrimage, but, fortunately with the magic of Google map I can go about on a little virtual tour in the comfort of my armchair. So far these locations are what I was able to tie to the show, see if you can add more to it.


Main gate and building of Tokyo Women's Christian University, founded by Quakers and Presbyterian mission. It's sprawling campus includes a vast wooded area inhabited by, ironically, by Tanuki. 

The Reischauer House, the one time in campus home of one of the University's founder, could have serve as the structural basis for the Lilian Mansion, the student council's office and headquarter.

Now mind you a lot of elements of Lillian Academy is also based on one of Japan's oldest and most exclusive private school, Gakushuin Women's college and Gakushuin girls' junior and senior high school. That school is located at Toshima ward, Tokyo
This is where Japan's princesses study(literally).

Like Princess Mako and her "peti't soeur" Princes Kako, Granddaughters of Emperor Akihito.

Designated as K- station in the light novels, Kichijoji station is where the en bouton went to on their date, during the Valentine's day contest story. Seen in S1(season 1) eps. 12 of the animated series.

The mall that Yumi and Sachiko went for their window-shopping on their half-day date at S1 eps. 13.
(note: it's quite hard getting the same shot when using Google Street View. It's funny how the artist tried to emulate the real stores many-colored sign)

The cinema that's right beside Kochijoji station where Rei and Chisato went to on they're half-day date on S1 eps. 12. Something that Yoshino and Chisato would again imitate on their date the following year in the novel.

Inokashira park zoo, which is a few blocks away from Kichijoji station serves as a meeting place for Tsutako and Minako in their hunt for en bouton's date story.[ S1 eps. 12]. It's also the place where Eriko Torii met Mr. Yamanobe and  also were Yoshino and Chisto , Mami and her petit soeur Hidemi went to on their date at volume 27 of the novel series.

(note: not sure where exactly within the park that the two sat, but I use this one to take into account the Swan boats in the background)


Right across the mall that Yumi and Sachiko went to is Penny Lane shopping street, where they happen to run into a lonely Yoshino at S1 eps. 13. They invited her to have tea.

(note: made corrections on the location of the street)

Not quite sure about this one, a French style restaurant nearby could be the basis for the Cafe that we see in S1 eps. 13. that Yumi, Sachiko and Yoshino went to. There they met Lilian newspaper president Minako and ace photographer Tsutako.

(note: again I could be wrong about this and there might be an actual building like the one in the show, so I'm still checking)

Downtown Kochijoji Dori near K- station and as it appears in the OVA eps. 2, were Yumi is planning along with the rest of the Lilian council "Operation OK for short" in a cafe somewhere. There are some candidates, but I'm still looking for the Cafe that they used.

Disregarding the passage of almost 8 years from it's broadcast. The background artist added extra floors to the right side building but maintains the distinctive window frames.

A short distance from Tokyo Women's Christian University is Seikei University. Founded by Mitsubishi company, The red brick main building could have serve as inspiration for Hanadera boy's academy's main school building, seen during their school festival at the OVA eps 3.

Designated as M- station in the light novel, Mitaka station is were Yumi and company always go through on they're commute to and fro every school day to Lilian academy.

I use a snap shoot from Google map of a platform where I think is where Sei hopelessly waited for Shiori during one Christmas eve (platform 4 & 5 in the novels)

Outside Mitaka station on Christmas. In the novel Sei and her Onee-sama went out thru the south entrance of station, but the background artist for the animated series used a street on the north exit which is located close by the picture above.

Upper level exterior of Mitaka station and a shot seen  at OVA eps. 2 were Yumi unfortunately met Sachiko on her way to school to facilitate her plan "Ok for short".

(note: again, due to limitations, I just can't get a close enough angle shot that mimics the one in the show.)  

The bus waiting shed near Mitaka station that Yumi and Sachiko waited in on their way to school in one hot scorching summer day. OVA eps. 2

The elephant enclosure in Inokashira park zoo, where Eriko Torii spies upon the clueless Mr. Yamanobe as he watches the elephant and dreams of dinosaurs. Seen in S2 eps. 2

Here is a location map were one can see the orientation and proximity of the various places that show has shown.

I hope this would delight fans of the series and bring in sense a better idea about the world these characters inhabited in.

I sure would like get some feed back on what you think about this and on any corrections and additional locations that you may add are welcome to be augment to this one. Please do help me make a better map/picture of the world Marimite.

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