One of the things I love about my job is when I get asked to do food or restaurant stories. Today, I spent the whole day just tasting and eating. First, was in a fine-dining Italian restaurant in Makati and then in a new ramen-ya in Quezon City. Being a big fan of the Japanese noodle soup, I was particularly excited for the visit in the ramen restaurant. One of my favorite varieties of ramen is the miso ramen of Ukokkei Ramen Ron, which I finally got to taste a few months ago. I wasn’t too happy with my first taste of Ukokkei’s shoyu chasu ramen, but its miso ramen is just a boldly-flavored soup (slightly sweet and salty with oh-so-good fatty sheen to it) that is just one of the best you’ll ever taste in this part of the Philippines. Just looking at the photo below triggers my taste memory and my mouth starts to water.
Aside from memories of Ukokkei’s ramen, to prepare for the ramen tasting today, I decided to look at some Tampopo videos on YouTube. (Our copy of this Japanese film classic, which revolves around a ramen restaurant and making ramen, got lost. Somebody borrowed it and never returned it. Boo.) The clip below shows a young Ken Wattanabe finding out ‘the right way to eat ramen’ from a ramen master. “First observe the whole bowl, appreciate its gestalt, savor the aromas/ Jewels of fat glistening on the surface/ Shinachiku roots shining./ Seaweed slowly sinking. Spring onions floating. Concentrate on the three pork slices…They play the key role, but stay modestly hidden…”
Who knew there were so many details that go into eating ramen? So yes, when I got my bowl of ramen this afternoon, I caressed the surface with the chopstick sticks. Poked the pork. Whispered that I would see it soon… But then I got excited and sipped the soup first then happily slurped the noodles. Slurped some more and sipped, sipped, sipped. Joy! I did lightly tap the pork on the side of the bowl to drain it before taking a hefty bite. Thank you God for ramen!
(So was it a good miso ramen? Was it as good or better than Ukokkei’s miso ramen? I’ll post the restaurant and ramen review when it comes out in the magazine.) Now, go out and have some ramen. 🙂