Quick Notes: Ramen in Manila
Since my first trip to Japan several years ago, the country has become one of my favorite travel destinations. Everything works, the food is uniformly delicious (whether it's at a high end-restaurant or neighborhood eatery), and everyone I've met seemed to be genuinely kind and helpful.
That being said, it was only recently that I got hooked on ramen. I've enjoyed a bowl or three but only in Japan where the attention to taste, detail and presentation extends to a bowl of this hearty noodle soup.
In Manila, however, the selection left much to be desired. Valiant attempts have been made to approximate Japanese ramen bars with some doing better than others. My go-to chain is Ramen Nagi which now has several branches in the city, the nearest located less than a kilometer from my house.
The service at Ramen Nagi is quick and efficient. Once you're seated, you're handed a checklist where you tick off the ramen variant you want--there are four plus a special one that changes periodically--as well as the amount of special sauce and type of pork chasu (belly or shoulder) you prefer.
I usually order the green one (with pesto and cheese, which is decidedly un-Japanese), chicken karaage and gyoza. All these are served within minutes just the way I like it. In Japan, salarymen slurp their ramen in less than 15 minutes.
Last Sunday, I finally tried Mendokoro Ramenba in Salcedo Village. My brother and a cousin had been heaping praises on this solitary ramen bar for quite a while so I arrived with high expectations.
Ramen Nagi, G/F Robinsons Magnolia. Tel. 470-1356.
Mendokoro, G/F V Corporate Center, Soliman St., Salcedo Village, Makati. Tel.. 478-9625.