A ramen place that takes time to perfect its soup base, that is tonkotsu. Mild and pearl colored, this soup takes hours and hours to prepare. A rich and delicate pork broth, kept at an optimal temperature for everyone’s enjoyment. Hokkaido Ramen Santouka, one of the popular ramen franchises in Japan opened its first store in Glorietta and is now thrilling foodies and ramen aficionados around Makati.
This is their signature variant, the Tokusen Toroniku Ramen; oh soothing broth served with slices of choice pork meat, Their toroniku is simmered pork cheeks, so tender and flavorful it was love at first bite.
The place is nice, modern design accentuated with a few wooden pieces. The place is fairly small and there’s usually a line, but you can always go here during off hours, pre-lunch or dinner time would be a good time. Although to be fair the turn around time for the queue is tolerable.
Hokkaido Ramen Santouka Menu: Awase-Aji Ramen, Original Ramen, Specialty Ramen, Rice Bowl, Curry and Rice, Santouka Set Menu (Set Menu 1, Set Menu 2, Set Menu 3), Salad, Pao, Side Dish, Side Dish, Dessert, Drinks, Mochi Cream
Seeing the menu got us even more excited, although some of the menu items weren’t available as of the moment, the basic stuff was; from the original ramen flavors, their specialty ramen, rice bowls, and sides.
Though the quality of service and the behavior of the staff was really concerning. We placed our orders three times; we had to repeat ourselves to three different servers, only to find out that some of the stuff that we want to get isn’t available, it’s annoying. The servers weren’t really friendly and welcoming, and they get all flustered over simple requests. I understand that they’re at their soft opening but for me the rudeness of the waitresses was just inexcusable.
Started with their Tori Karage, flavorful chicken pieces that’s crispy on the outside and soft when you bite into it. Took a bite and I loved the flavor of the meat, then I hit it with some of that japanese mayonnaise and that mild, creamy notes complimented the chicken really well. The juice from the lemon also helped bind those flavors together. I didn’t try the cabbage strips on the side, but my friends really liked it.
Pao stuffed with that flavorful choice pork meat that is toroniku (pork cheeks) and is served with hojicha. The meat filling was really flavorful and the sweet sauce really went well with it. The picture doesn’t really give justice to how good it was.
Then we tried some of their Santouka Set Menu items, that’s composed of a choice of their original ramen and a few sides. We got the Ramen and Santouka Style Chirashi Sushi Bowl Set and the Ramen and Salmon Roe Rice Bowl Set first ;).
For the Chirashi Sushi Bowl Set we had their miso ramen, the set is also served with a salad and chawan-mushi.
I usually don’t like Miso Ramen as I usually find the flavor lacking, I prefer the more salty ones. But their miso ramen is one worthy exception. They’ve used a mixture of pork broth and some miso paste for this, the pork broth really helps highlight the flavor of the miso. The noodles was also good, though we really took some time for taking pictures, the noodles weren’t soggy, a little bite-y and still had this nice texture to it. Then there’s the char siu that’s kurobuta pork pieces that’s really tender and flavorful and oh the fatty bits with the rich broth was really nice.
Chirashi Sushi (scattered sushi) is a bowl of sushi rice topped with a variety of sashimi and garnishes, in this case salmon roe, lobster meat, shrimp and egg pieces generously topped over sushi rice. It was really flavorful, there’s a lot going on, different levels of flavor and texture, though there’s more of the roe and egg bits on it.
For the Salmon Roe Rice Bowl Set, we got their Shio Ramen.
The pickled plum is their signature topping for the Shio Ramen, unfortunately my composition for the picture was off, I forgot to include the plum on the frame, sorry for that. 🙁
Anyway shio is their signature ramen, mild and creamy soup that’s seasoned with salt. We really fell in love with the broth, so delicate, creamy, and mild, then you hit it with the char siu bits, melt in your mouth pork fat and a creamy broth, this combination was really heavenly. And then you eat the plum with its light crunchy texture and sour taste, it really goes well with the broth.
Generous salmon roe toppings on a bowl of rice, one bite and this explosion of flavor delighted my palate. This is really flavorful and the roe bits help make a more interesting texture too.
Their Santouka Set items were served with similar sides; some kimchi, salad, and chawan-mushi.
The kimchi had this nice tinge of spice, the salad had a sesame dressing that I really liked and the veggie bits retained this nice tinge of crunch. The chawan-mushi was alright, good texture and flavor.
I got their Tokusen Toroniku Ramen, this is their signature ramen that’s a bit different because the toppings are served separately. The highlight of this ramen are the Toroniku cha siu pieces that is simmered pork cheek meat. The meat is very rare with only 200-300g per pig, it is served daily but in limited quantity.
The pork cheeks were so flavorful and very tender, one bite and the meat almost melts in your mouth, the same way a fatty fish sashimi does. These flavorful meat pieces are said to be good with a shoyu broth, as it’ll help the flavor of the pork cheeks stand out.
Every time I eat ramen, I always order for extra komi-tamago 😀
Oh that golden yolk bleeding out of the soft boiled egg that’s been marinated for a long time. The melt in your mouth goodness of these sof boiled egg pieces are just heavenly.
With eating any ramen I start with smelling the ramen, a really appetizing part that excites me to dig in and munch on the hot bowl of ramen in front of me. Then I start with the soup, one spoonful and I try to appreciate it’s flavor, taking a moment to savor it’s mild and creamy flavor. Then the noodles, still bite-y with good texture. And saving the best for last, I hit the last spoonfuls of the soup with the komi-tamago.
Rich, delicate soup + Melt-in-your mouth soft boiled egg = BLISS!
We decided to skip desserts as the rude servers ruined our mood, I really wanted to try their matcha though 🙁
VERDICT: Hokkaido Ramen Santouka, serves really good ramen, probably one of the best that I’ve tried. I’d definitely come back here for my random ramen cravings, I’d love to try a lot of other stuff from the menu. I just hope all the menu items will be available really soon. The quality of service and the attitude of the staff like I said was a bit concerning, they’re rude and not very welcoming.
VALUE FOR MONEY: Big serving portions that’s good for sharing, and the food is good. Good value for money.
Hokkaido Ramen Santouka, Gloritta 4