Monday, March 25, 2013

Hokkaido Ramen Santouka now in the Philippines!

A few minutes from taking our flight to Tokyo, I'm posting about this famous restaurant chain that we may possibly encounter in Japan as well. If we're going to talk about authenticity, what could be more of an "authenticity" evidence than having Japanese patrons lining up for lunch -- almost a month after Santouka has reached our shores.

There's a sampuru display in front that showcases products in perfect presentation with prices, something commonly found in Japanese restaurants.

The restaurant has brightly lit, contemporary interiors.

Two function rooms are available for reservations on seating time schedules. Of course.. no shoes are allowed inside.

Let's get to the dishes! :)

The Gyoza sauce was ours to make. This allowed for my companions to not have vinegar in their dips, while I had the liberty to add a few drops of chili oil to mine.

We found the Gyoza terrific. They were very tasty on the inside, slightly gingery, with the slight gum texture to the wrapper that was just perfect. 
Gyoza [Php 200]
We also tried out the Toroniku-Pao which was definitely bitin. The meat pieces inside were quite small, and you will be assured of meatless bites throughout the serving. The taste was slightly sour  due to the Japanese mayo.  More meat would have made this Japanese pao perfect.
Toroniku-Pao [Php 120]
Tori Karaage was another dish we shared. We loved the juiciness of the chicken, far from the "ordinary" fried chicken taste you'd expect from a Tori Karaage. The dip completes the flavour with its sharp and tangy taste.

Tori Karaage [Php 200]

On to the ramen!
"To make our mild, pearl-colored Tonkotsu soup, we take the time about 20 hours to simmer the pork bones before adding our vegetables, dried fish, kelp and other special ingredients.

We cherish the exceptional taste and flavor of our special soup and insure that it is never boiled.

Although some of you may believe that the soup may not be hot enough, we purposefully maintain the soup at its optimal temperature to best be enjoyed by everyone, be they children or the elderly.

We strictly maintain the exact same cooking standards as the other Ramen Santouka restaurant around the world." -

The first thing we noticed in all ramen bowls served were the very-bent medium sized noodles looking like instant noodles. They say that they've chosen this variety due to the good flavour and blending with the soup.

The Shoyu Ramen (Soy Sauce Flavour) is a staple for Nikko in ramen houses. I found his bowl the best amongst all that we ordered. The broth wasn't as rich as I was expecting, but was overall good.
Shoyu Ramen, Medium [Php 320]
The Miso variant was bland to taste, even lesser in flavour than the Shoyu Ramen. I wouldn't recommend this.
Miso Ramen, Medium [Php 320]
The additional Komi-Tamago was prepared to perfection: gooey on the inside.
Komi-Tamago [Php 50]

I had the Karaka-Miso Ramen which I enjoyed. The spiciness was just right, although I found the Menma or bamboo shoots a little too tough. I also liked the addition of Kikurage or Jelly Ears for texture.
Karaka-Miso Ramen, Medium [Php 340]
All of us ordered Medium, but two of us couldn't get ourselves to finish our bowls. This was a real surprise, because I'd usually be the type that cleans out my plate. I believe it was the noodles that I didn't like much with Santouka, and sadly all of us agreed to that. We got a little umay when the toppings ran out.

For dessert, I decided to grab a Mochicream dessert, also a franchised brand from Japan. Since it's the cherry blossom season already, I gave Sakura a try. I found this a little too sweet, and I wished I stuck to the more common chocolate or green tea options.
Sakura Mochicream [Php 75]
Here's sharing pages of their menu items: (you may click to enlarge)

Hokkaido Ramen Santouka
G4-132 Ground Floor
Glorietta Mall
Ayala Center, Makati City

+63 (2) 728.1381


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