The Ramen Special: Hokkaido Ramen Santouka

We love ramen! Tonkotsu, miso, shio, instant, and cup — we’ll eat anything! So we’re really, really loving the recent upswing in the opening of ramen joints in the city — so much so that we’ve decided to try all the joints at least once (and our favorites, multiple times).

On to the review! First up is a joint that recently opened in Glorietta 4, Ayala Center (MAP). With its venerable roots hailing from snowy Hokkaido (where a warm bowl of soup is a must!), Ramen Santouka brings its rich and flavorful signature shio ramen to Philippine shores.

The Ramen Special: Hokkaido Ramen Santouka

Offering an array of broth flavors including shoyu, miso, and kara-miso, the best of the bunch for us is undoubtedly their shio ramen. The broth is velvety smooth, not at all salty despite its name (“shio” means salt in Nihongo); the noodles have a meaty bite that is characteristic of Japanese noodles (some local joints use less al dente Chinese egg noodles as a substitute :P).

Although their ramen is their main attraction, there are other exclusives on their menu, such as their Tokusen Toroniku pork cheek slices and their house gyoza (a must try!). Having said that, we think the best thing about Santouka are their set meals! Starting from PhP 380, you can have a small bowl of ramen, plus a small donburi rice bowl, plus all the fixings — a real deal!

The Ramen Special: Hokkaido Ramen Santouka      The Ramen Special: Hokkaido Ramen Santouka

One caveat, though: dinner service is better than lunch service. All our evening meals were flawless, however the two lunch dates we’ve had there yielded subpar fish (for the salmon and ikura donburi) and under-steamed chawan mushi (the consistency was more liquid than usual). The lines are also longer at lunchtime, especially on weekends — so plan accordingly.

Would be come back to Santouka? Absolutely! A quick glimpse at our Instagram account can show you that. It’s delicious and satisfying and good value for money!

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