Apparently standing in line is part of the ramen experience in Manila: every time we attempt to eat at the new ramen places, we have to wait at least 20 minutes for a table.
After we pronounced Santouka Hokkaido Ramen in Glorietta 4 the best ramen we’ve ever had, we heard that Ikkoryu Ramen Fukuoka at Shangri-La East Wing was better. We’re no expert—we like the ramen at Ukkokei but won’t go out of our way to eat there. And we’re perfectly happy with the tonkotsu ramen at Konbini, the Japanese convenience store in Greenhills. But when we hear “the greatest ramen ever”, we have to go and taste what the fuss is all about.
It was a good time to eat ramen—we’d been stuck in the house for 36 hours in the habagat, living on dry toast and stuff excavated from the back of the fridge. (Having lived alone since our early 20s, with no culinary skills whatsoever, we are in the habit of taking home the leftovers from our meals and storing them. Most of it goes to the outdoor cats, some we eat, the rest turn into biological warfare experiments. Periodically we throw out the stuff before it achieves sentience and takes over the household.) We tried to order out, but every delivery hotline was busy.
When the rains abated we dashed to Ikkoryu at the Shangri-La East Wing, thinking we would be the only diners. How wrong we were. We were seventh in line and had to wait nearly half an hour for a seat.
At Ikkoryu you are given three options for the noodles: soft, normal, or hard. We ordered the exact same dish we had at Santouka, the miso ramen with char siu. As the steaming bowl was placed on the table, we grasped our chopsticks and braced ourselves for what might be a life-changing experience.
Naah. It’s delicious, and whenever we’re in the neighborhood and in the mood for ramen we’ll probably eat there, but we prefer Santouka ramen. As Ricky said, “Santouka is more boungga than Ikkoryu. They deserve the bumi-British na “u” in their name.” Kouraz! Or, we rule in favour of Santouka.
Two days later we discovered that Ikkoryu had opened closer to home, at the basement of Power Plant Mall. This time we asked the wait staff to recommend the ramen flavour, and they said the ajitama was a bestseller.
With good reason. We like it better than their miso ramen. But we still prefer the flavour of the broth, the consistency of the noodles, and the evil pork cheeks at Santouka.
Next we’ll try that place in Alabang.