I don’t exactly know when it started but the ramen bug is in Manila. All these new places have been popping up and older, secret joints are getting their fair share of internet exposure. An old friend of mine messaged me about Santouka Ramen before it even opened in the Philippines, he linked me to their Facebook page and said it was one of the best bowls he had (in Singapore). Immediately I was curious just cause I know I can trust what this guy thinks about food (his mom owns Cibo).
They’re currently on “soft opening” and since last week, I’ve already been there twice. A franchise originally from Hokkaido Japan, the owner was inspired to put his own ramen shop up after seeing Tampopo in the 80’s just wanting to be someone who could put together the best ramen. The place is pretty spacious but gets full really fast, the first time I was there my mom and I headed over at 11 right when it opened so our ramen came quickly. The second time was last night with Meng, Cris, Liana and Carina and we were in line for around 30 minutes just cause the place was packed.
Here’s a photo of some staff members who are real nice and efficient. There are even folks from Japan training them in the kitchen and in terms of management. On to the food!
Both times I was there I had the Tokusen Toroniku Ramen in Kara-Miso (SM-Php 390/MED-Php 450). This is what they’re known for which is basically a bowl of ramen with the broth of your choice served with slices of pork cheek. Just a bit of trivia, when my family has lechon I always go for the cheek just cause the dark meat in there is the best.
This is already missing a slice because I couldn’t help myself. I honestly have no idea how these guys get a steady flow of cheeks but this tastes smokey and nice and soft. You can bite into this alone or dip it in your ramen. This is the sole reason I keep going back to Santouka. Their Kara Miso ramen is actually alright, it’s got a spicy sesame miso base but I prefer Yushoken or Ukkokei’s tantanmen just cause it’s a much richer tasting soup.
Cris ordered the Tokusen Toroniku Ramen in Shio (SM-Php 370/MED-Php 430) which the menu states is salt flavored soup. I really enjoyed the milkiness of the broth and imagined it’d go well with the cheek as well.
Both times I was there I also ordered the Tori Karaage (Php 200) which I find a bit small (and expensive) for two chicken thigh fillets sliced into two. This was fried to perfection though and the batter was light and fluffy.
They also have this nice kiddie meal option. After eating, the kids can look forward to getting a toy at the machine. I wanted one but they told me it was just for kids under 7. Oh well, no Doraemon for you Sarie.
Hokkaido Ramen Santouka
G/F Glorietta 4, Hotel Dr
Ayala Center, Makati
Telephone: 728 1381
Open daily from 11 to 11
*** Disclaimer: I paid for my own food both times and I speak the truth.