Thursday, March 13, 2014

Hanamaruken Ramen at the second level of Trinoma Mall, Quezon City

Hanamaruken Ramen: The Best Ramen Place This Side of Metro Manila


The southern part of Metro Manila has the monopoly on good ramen restaurants. Chances are, if you want to have a delicious bowl of honest to goodness Japanese ramen, you will have to troop to Makati or Taguig. Hanamaruken Ramen, located in Trinoma, has given ramen lovers from the north cause to celebrate. Despite having been open for just barely three months, Hanamaruken Ramen has already gained a tremendous number of fans. So beloved is their signature ramen dish that people from Cebu travel all the way to Manila just to get a taste.

The first Hanamaruken Ramen branch outside Japan

Hanamaruken Ramen is the brainchild of Takaku Arakawa. He and his family run the Arakawa Pork Company, a trusted meat supplier in Japan since 1953. It was their love for pork that drove them to marry it with their other love, ramen. Forty branches later and Hanamaruken Ramen remains a beloved institution in Osaka, with locals patiently lining up outside stores to get their ramen fix. Their latest branch, the one in Trinoma, is the first outside Japan. The interiors are simple but stylish, bright without being overly so, small but appears larger than it actually is.
If you look closely, you’ll realize that this is a ramen painting
Hanamaruken’s most popular dish is called the Signature Happiness Ramen (P480). A deliriously delicious shoyu-based broth, a generous cut of flavorful pork ribs (about ten inches, to be exact) that’s so tender that it breaks apart at the slightest touch of chopsticks, and al dente noodles that are made fresh everyday are the main components of the Happiness Ramen. All in all, a bowl takes about ten hours to prepare. You can taste the time and effort that went into the dish because only something that was created with such meticulousness could taste that good. Add an Aji Tamago (P50) with a creamy yolk to complete the whole experience.
Signature Happiness Ramen: literally, a bowl of happiness
The Happiness Ramen has developed such a fierce following that the restaurant sometimes runs out. As of this writing, they only serve a limited number of bowls per day. If you find yourself in the unfortunate position of missing their Happiness Ramen cut-off, don’t worry. They have other dishes on the menu that are worth giving a try. There’s the Pot Belly Ramen (P380) that comes with melt-in-your-mouth slices of roasted pork belly. There’s also the Drunk Man Rice Bowl (P240) which is Kakuni (Japanese braised pork) served with two fried eggs. The pork is soft and flavorful: a nice mix of spicy, sweet, and salty. They also have an extremely yummy curry fried rice dish called Curry Chahan (P140). The rice is studded with fried garlic and bits of meat, and manages to taste like every grain has been infused with curry goodness.
Pot Belly Ramen
Drunk Man Rice Bowl
Curry Chahan
Hanamaruken Ramen also offers other Japanese classics such as Ebi Tempura (P380) and Gyoza (P150). They serve their Ebi Tempura with fried shrimp heads which, as we all know, is where all the good stuff is. If you’re not worried about your cholesterol levels then, by all means, slurp away because it’s like food gold. The gyoza is pan-fried and a typical companion to ramen.
Ebi Tempura served with shrimp heads
Get yourself a glass of Hanamaruken’s Iced Green Tea (P80) because their version is the real deal. The distinct taste of matcha is prominent, not at all sweet, and refreshing. It’s also a really good palate cleanser for when you switch dishes.
Iced Green Tea
I honestly think that Hanamaruken Ramen is the best ramen restaurant this side of Metro Manila. The same company that runs Wrong Ramen is responsible for bringing this establishment to the country.  From the looks of it, the ramen invasion is far from over. A food trend that started a few years back, some people thought that it would be a fleeting craze. I, for one, think that it’s here to stay. Ramen has now taken its place in the comfort food choices of Filipinos. Places like Hanamaruken Ramen, literally serving bowls of happiness, are the reason why.
A photo of one of Hanamaruken’s branches in Osaka, Japan

Visit Hanamaruken Ramen at the second level of Trinoma Mall, Quezon City. For more information, Like the official Facebook page (hanamarukenph) and follow them on Twitter and Instagram (@hanamaruken_ph).
Photos by Albert Peradilla.
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