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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