Price: 580 PHP (Whole)
Taste Rating: 4.5 (Itadakemoi Approved)
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Service Rating: 4 (Good Job)
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Place Rating: 4 (Japanese Ambience)
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It was a rainy week and today was kinda tiring in the office… I am in a dire need of something hot to throw the stress away.
And perhaps a Ramen is just what I need to get the relief I am longing for.
Before everything else, some backstory:
I planned a dinner with my former colleagues to catch up on the latest “chismis” in their life, and for that, a place to eat that matches the weather. It’s the rainy season, so the perfect dinner date would be some hot soup… Ramen!
After searching for a ramen shop that I haven’t frequented, I decided to invite them to try out Hanamaruken with me.
The location was just across a “known” gimmick spot, tiendesitas, and the area has a couple of other restaurants to choose from.
Hanamaruken’s interior is somewhat a shot of the traditional Japanese ramen shop, although the lack of shouting waiters made it seem like they’re not aiming to mimic an authentic Japanese restaurant experience. One of my colleague was half-expecting them to shout “Irasshaimase~!” 😂
Let’s stop critiquing the restaurant’s ambience for now, and focus on the main attraction… their food.
Their menu was adequate, but did not have the usual familiar terms that is found on other ramen shops. We all went for their most expensive but their best seller ramen, the Happiness Ramen, and a side of the usual Gyoza.
The time they took to serve our food wasn’t long, and they served free hot or cold tea, which made the wait a little bearable. We had something to sip while doing our “chismis” 😀
The gyoza wasn’t remarkable. It was tasty, just like most of the other ramen shops we’ve been. I mean, it’s hard to fail on a gyoza, but at the same time, it’s hard to standout of the crowd.
Now, now, now, here comes tonight’s star: The Happiness Ramen
And oh my God, the name does fit. It IS happiness! Allow me to elaborate…
The noodles: Not bad. It is easy to crap up at the noodles, and Hanamaruken successfully pulled off a not-disappointing noodles texture. It was just right. I probably would’ve praised it a little more if not for the fact that I’ve been at Japan multiple times and was able to taste authentic ramen noodles.
The meat: Now this is what made Happiness shine. It’s like the superstar basketball player in an already good team. The player that makes the team into a dynasty, something like Micheal Jordan-esque.
Enough of the basketball references, like as if it’s the best way to illustrate how great the piece of pork meat is, that it made the already good ramen, into a ramen that is very memorable.
The meat is suuuper soft. It melts in your mouth. It’s savory melting goodness. You’d be forgiven for asking if it is possible to just order the pork, because it’s just that good.
This just makes all the other “meats” in all other “ramens” feel inadequate.
The broth: Not that outstanding on its own, but coupled with the pork meat, it is superb. Unlike in other ramen shops, when you sometimes couldn’t finish up the soup, this bowl of happiness’ soup is a guaranteed hit.
The presentation: 5 out of 5. They had a fancy seaweed thing (Nori) that had Kanji written in it. They had Kanji written in it! How bad ass is that. We jokingly asked if it was edible or not.
And finally, the price. The base Happiness Ramen is around 520 pesos if I remember correctly, but that’s without their tamago (egg). I ordered eggs, because why won’t you in a ramen, and that is an extra 50 pesos or so.
4 out of 5. The star of the show, the ramen, did meet our expectations. And our expectations was based on the price-tag in the menu. They also served free hot or cold tea, and you could refill the noodles at-least once.
It could’ve been a 5 out of 5 if they served the tōgarashi right away, and made it obvious that you can request other condiments too… oh, and also if the experience was almost authentic Japanese-y. I was looking for their shouting of Japanese words lol.
Should you try it? YES!
The Grove, Rockwell, E. Rodriguez Jr. Ave Ce Road, Pasig, 1604 Metro Manila
Google Map: https://goo.gl/maps/UmwTDp9bYMwzqLNr7
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