Monday, July 24, 2017

I found Happiness at Hanamaruken 🍜

I miss having lunch dates with my Dad! 💙 I used to go out with him during weekday lunch during my funemployed student days last year, but now I rarely get to see him because of my work schedule. 💔 One rainy weekend, we went to Hanamaruken Ramen in Trinoma. Nothing beats hot ramen during cozy days. (It's like a warm hug for the tummy!)

Here in Manila, trends in the food scene quickly come and go - just a few examples are froyo, milk tea, and ramen. Today, ramen restaurants are a dime a dozen, and it's always a challenge for the remaining competitors to set themselves apart. How? By meeting three criteria - quality, authenticity, and (for the bolder chefs), innovation - and that's exactly what Hanamaruken seems to be so good at! 🍜
Spare Rib Ramen (P390)
tonkotsu, shoyu, slow-cooked spare ribs
Champon (P350)
stir-fried pork, shrimp, and fresh vegetables doused in our shoyu tonkotsu soup and special seasoning
Gyoza (P240)

My Dad ordered Spare Rib Ramen because he loves meat, while I ordered Champon because I was looking for something healthier with a lighter flavor. The Spare Rib Ramen had soft cuts of spare ribs which was delicious but the soup bit on the oily side, so I split both our orders to share. Champon is a Chinese-inspired ramen dish popular in Nagasaki, and the taste was very close to the noodle dishes served in Chinese restaurants - veggies and all. The shoyu tonkotsu soup in Champon had a fresher taste because of the greens in it, while the Spare Rib Ramen was on the saltier side. Both variants are flavorful and have distinct differences, and we liked them. Gyoza was just like my favorite kutchay dumpling - it's enjoyable but it's quite pricey at P240 for 8 pieces.

Hanamaruken Ramen was founded by Takaku Arakawa in Osaka, Japan. Arakawa's family was in the piggery business, and he found a way to integrate his favorite cut of pork into ramen, the Japanese national food. He discovered "Tonkotsu" which is stewed pork cartilage - a cut that was not only delicious and flavorful, but one that could easily broken by chopsticks. This is what set his ramen apart from the numerous ramen restaurants in Osaka, and is what birthed to his masterpiece ramen: The Signature Happiness Ramen.

Signature Happiness Ramen: This joyful bowl includes a shoyu tonkotsu broth ramen topped with a tender, slow-braised custom cut soft bone rib.

The Signature Happiness Ramen is one among 7 options to choose from, on a menu that is simple and straightforward, but nonetheless appetizing. The Spare Rib Ramen and the Potbelly Ramen are certainly menu stars, but the other selections - the Curry Tan Tan Mien, the Spicy Tobanjan Ramen, the Salary Man Ramen, and the Chasyu Ramen can certainly hold their own as well. And for a small fee of P50, you can add an Aji Tamago, a traditional marinated soft boiled egg.

At Hanamaruken, meat is taken quite seriously, so we can enjoy it and find happiness in different forms and ways. The Hanamaruken Rice bowls capture the Filipino palate's fascination with rice. The Happiness Rice Bowl, which includes the famous pork rib over steamed rice, has gotten a lot of rave reviews. And there's nothing like  a bowl of carbs and protein for nursing a hangover - try the Drunk Man Rice Bowl, which includes kukuni with two fried eggs on rice. Other must-tries include the classic Gyoza and the Ebi Tempura. 🍤

For more information on Hanamaruken:
LIKE Hanamaruken Ramen Philippines on Facebook
FOLLOW @hanamaruken_ph on Instagram

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