Food

Best Ramen in Metro Manila

There's nothing more delectable than a bowl of noodle soup.
IMAGE Majoy Siason
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The rainy season is coming and you know why that makes us excited? Trench coats, rain boots, and, of course, ramen. A recent Japanese invasion in Manila's restaurant landscape has, fortunately, spoiled us with choice and we have a pretty stellar list of Japanese noodles to keep up going during this cold period. Ramen lover? Check out our list of the most important, most delicious ramen places in Metro Manila.

1| Ukokkei Ramen Ron

This textbook ramen shop was one of the first restaurants to popularize ramen in Metro Manila. The owners are so strict that they're rumored to have turned away former President Erap Estrada when they ran out of broth, saying that they simply cannot make more on the spot. It's proof of their dedication to quality: commitment to making a broth simmered for 24 hours and meant to be slurped up in a few minutes.

They have three types of broth—shoyu (soy-based), shio (salt-based), and miso (soybean-based)—that you can either have hot or cold. Their shoyu varieties, in particular, feature handmade al dente noodles engulfed in flavorful broth and assorted toppings. The Ukokkei Shoyu Chashu and Miso Butter Corn are the noted must-tries; however, if you feel like deviating a bit from the norm, go with an off-the-menu choice: the tantanmen ramen (available beginning 6pm), a creamy, dense soup best known for its nutty aftertaste.

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Ukkokei Ramen Ron highlights ukokkei, or silkie chicken, which is regarded as one of the most nutritious and delicious soup ingredients.

Ukokkei Ramen Ron has branches in Arnaiz Avenue, Makati City and Upper McKinley Road, Taguig City.


 

2| Ramen Daisho

Japanese Master Chef Funatsu Yasuhiko is responsible for the secret soup base of Ukokkei Ramen Ron, which was then replicated by Ramen Daisho in its own turf. This ramen stop, however, sets itself apart by keeping their selection clean and basic, accentuated only by a few surprises here and there. At Ramen Daisho you can find three types of noodles (chewy curly, soft flat, and straight) to match their four broth variants: miso, shio, shoyu, and tonkotsu (pork bone broth). Customize your ramen with toppings of choice or a helping of their gyoza and chahan (Japanese fried rice). The hakata tonkotsu chashu-men and miso varieties ought to be your ticket to a memorable Japanese gastronomic fare.

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Ramen Daisho is at Unit 2, Sunshine Square, Liberty Center, 312 Shaw Boulevard, Mandaluyong City.


 

3| Kichitora of Tokyo

If you are in the mood for the powerful punch of paitan chicken-braised broth, then Kichitora of Tokyo should be your go-to. The soup is carefully prepared and formulated, having undergone an intensive 18- to 24-hour simmering process. Their signature dish is the black garlic paitan ramen, which foodies from all over the Metro have earmarked for its soul-satisfying broth. 

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Kichitora of Tokyo has branches at Glorietta 5, Makati City; Central Square, Bonifacio High Street, Taguig City; and Mega Atrium, SM Megamall, Mandaluyong City.

 

4| Butamaru

Butamaru is one of the reasons that foodies trek to the South. There’s resounding praise for their shoyu ramen, prepared Fukuoka-style, which is a unique way of serving tender, melt-in-your-mouth meat slices. For fuller flavors, the crowd favorite, Curry Tantanmen, may be a good starting point. Its light broth is heightened by a good mix of spices that do not overwhelm and instead leave you wanting more. Take these bowls as a set meal so you can enjoy a cup of chahan and gyoza pieces in one go. 

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Butamaru is at Westgate Center, Filinvest City, Alabang, Muntinlupa City.


 

5| Hanamaruken Ramen

Osaka’s well-loved Hanamaruken Ramen picked Manila as its first international base. The chain is brought to us by the Arakawa family, who sought to integrate their longstanding meat business with a family favorite, ramen. Hanamaruken is popular for its shoyu and tonkotsu-based Signature Happiness Ramen, which features a juicy slab of pork, al dente noodles, toppings, and a nori sheet carrying the words “happiness is coming." The pork belly ramen is a good alternative as it features lean cuts of pork against a glistening broth.

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Hanamaruken Ramen has branches at Trinoma Mall, Quezon City and Alabang Town Center, Muntinlupa City.  


 

6| Hokkaido Ramen Santouka

This ramen franchise hails from Hokkaido, Japan, and is named after a famous poet, Santoka Taneda. The restaurant takes pride in its trademark  soup, infused with deep pork notes and a mix of vegetables, dried fish, and other special ingredients. Salt is the only seasoning in the soup base, with the chefs very careful not to overpower the full-bodied family recipe established in 1988. Come if you must for their selection of shio, shoyu, and miso ramen, in particular the Awase-Aji, which marries the three bases’ rich flavors. For those who opt for a little spice, the Kara-Miso is recommended; it features a spicy soybean paste flavor that leaves a tangy aftertaste after each spoonful.

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Hokkaido Ramen Santouka has branches in Glorietta 4, Makati City; SM Mall of Asia; Trinoma Mall and Eastwood Mall, Quezon City; Alabang Town Center, Muntinlupa City; and Greenhills Shopping Center, Greenhills, San Juan City.

 

7| Mitsuyado Sei-Men

This Makati favorite is home to a wide variety of tsukemen, a dip-and-slurp innovation that originated from Tokyo, Japan. To enjoy your tsukemen, simply pour the cheese sauce over the noodles, dip them into the broth, and consume. The traditional ramen selection doesn't slouch either. They have soup base assortments for every taste and fancy: torigara (chicken soup), tonkotsu, shoyu. The aji-tama tonkotsu shoyu ramen and spicy miso ramen, in particular, are a hit among those on the prowl for a good bowl of soup.

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Mitsuyado Sei-Men has branches at 22 Jupiter Street, Bel-Air, Makati City; Ayala Malls the 30th, Pasig City; and Blue Bay Walk, Macapagal Avenue, Pasay City.


 

8| Ramen Nagi

How good a bowl at Ramen Nagi is depends largely on you. You choose everything from the broth to the firmness of your noodles to the amount of garlic you get. Use the omotenashi sheet to identify your choices for taste (light, normal, rich); sauce (none, light, normal, heavy); toppings (none, light, normal, heavy); vegetable (none, green onion, cabbage); butao fire sauce (level 1 to 10); and noodles (extra hard, hard, normal, soft, extra soft). Each component is bespoke to you because of the way ramen should be enjoyed. According to the Ramen Nagi founder, who gave us tips on what makes ramen good, everything starts with the broth and works its way to the noodles. 

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If you aren’t one to take the reigns on your ramen, opt for the chef’s recommendations, including the Butao King and Truffle King.

Ramen Nagi has branches in SM Aura, Taguig City; SM Mall of Asia, Pasay City; and UP Town Center, Quezon City.

 

9| Oyasumi Ramen

Yokohama-style ramen takes center stage at Oyasumi Ramen, a cool, industrial hideaway in Little Baguio. Their menu is concise, carrying only five variants to choose from. Each dish on the Oyasumi spread comes in a creamy pork-based broth infused with hints of shoyu. Here you will find the La Paz, a one-of-a-kind ramen pairing that brings together Filipino and Japanese-inspired elements such as pork blood, chicharon, and aji tamago. The Black Pepper Ramen, however, takes the cake: this variant is essentially an intensified take on the Iekei, Oyasumi’s stripped-down take on the classic chashu ramen.

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Oyasumi Ramen is at P. Guevarra corner Sea View Street, Little Baguio, San Juan City.

 

10| Mendokoro Ramenba

It’s very likely to be put on the waitlist when at Mendokoro Ramenba, Salcedo Village’s most sought-after ramen shop. After all, the restaurant can accommodate only 25 diners at a time, suggestive that it’s really not the place to hang out in if you plan to stay after a meal. The silver lining, however, is that you are given front row seats to a ramen spectacle: chefs prepare bowls of ramen in an open kitchen set-up, and encourage you to consume your food within seconds of serving. Check out the shoyu or miso ramen to experience the best of Mendokoro.

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Mendokoro Ramenba is at V. Corporate Center, Soliman Street, Salcedo Village, Makati City.


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11| Ramen Yushoken

Rain or shine, this gem from the South is a favorite for ramen cravings, just like its sister restaurant, Mendokoro Ramenba. Koji Tashiro is the brains behind it all, painstakingly training the Yushoken staff to mirror authentic high-quality ramen dishes in Japan. Of the four variants they offer, people come for either the miso and shoyu tonkotsu ramen. A word of caution though for first-timers: this ramen house discourages takeaways, sharing, and the use of utensils.  

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Ramen Yushoken is at Molito, Alabang, Muntinlupa City.


 

 

12| Ippudo

If a ramen brand was founded by no other than Shigemi Kawahara—renowned as the Ramen King—then of course it will be among Japan’s most popular. Kawahara’s goal is simple: to innovate in the kitchen. This sets the tone for the ramen house’s selection of Hakata-inspired tonkotsu ramen, a collection that has gained buzz from patrons worldwide for its deep flavors and light, thin noodles. While Ippudo got its headstart in the business over 30 years ago (setting up shop in quiet Fukuoka, Japan), it proves time and again that it’s only at the brink of greatness by continuing to expand its reach in Australia, Asia, and America. 

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Ippudo has branches at SM Mall of Asia, Pasay City; SM Megamall, Mandaluyong City; Uptown Mall, Taguig City; and Eastwood Mall, Quezon City.

 

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