Ramen Yushoken: Sip, Slurp, Smile
Before we talk about things that will make your stomach experience borborygmus (yes, that’s an actual term to define your stomach rumbling or gurgling), here is an excerpt from Ramen Yushoken’s Menu:
“Our ramen is derived from ‘Ramen God’ Kazuo Yamagishi. He is the little blue statue you see on our shelves. Yamagashi-san sadly passed away on April 1, 2015, at the age of 81. He is still the most revered and influential ramen personality in Japan today, having invented the widely popular tsukemen or ‘dipping ramen.’ More than 100 chefs who worked under Yamagashi have opened their own restaurants across Japan, featuring tsukemen on their menus. His main successor is Koji Tashiro, who is fondly referred to as the ‘son of the ramen god.’ Tashiro-san came to Ramen Yushoken in December 2012 to train our staff and to ensure that the flavors of our food are level with what’s served at his champion ramen houses in Japan. Ramen Yushoken’s real caretaker though is Ramen champion Hideaki Aoyama, who also happens to be a Tamago champion in Japan. Aoyama-san is known to have a ‘golden tongue,’ as he has the unique ability to adapt to any of the 22 known styles of ramen in Japan. Aoyama-san visits Yushoken very regularly.”
Ramen Yushoken’s goal is to provide diners with the most authentic Japanese dining experience one can ever have in the Philippines. It starts outside of the restaurant, where there is a full glass window that allows you to see the gyoza wrappers and the noodles freshly made by hand.
Then as you enter the restaurant, the lively staff all greet you “irasshaimase” in chorus, and it is an honorific way of welcoming someone somewhere.
As you get seated you will realize that unlike many restaurants in the Philippines, Ramen Yushoken does not have background music, as it is the norm when dining in Japan. Finally, the cherry on top of the cake: they don’t have utensils; so if you don’t know how to use chopsticks, better start learning now!
Ramen Yushoken specializes in tonkotsu (pork-bone broth) that they boil for 12 hours. This broth is found in their four main ramen dishes (under Tonkotsu Ramen) and what differentiates one from the other is the taré or their base sauce. Their menu is divided into five parts, namely the Tonkotsu Ramen, Tsukemen, Other Ramen, Side Dishes and Extras, and Beverages. Tsukemen is a modern-day dish that consists of dry ramen noodles with the broth served on the side that acts as a dipping sauce. This prevents the noodles from getting soggy before it reaches the customers. As for their other ramen, dishes here are for the more adventurous eaters. The list includes dishes like cold ramen that is served like a salad (Hiyashi Chuka), hot but soupless ramen (Shoyu Maze Soba), and extra spicy ramen that is cooked with chilies and spices (Karai Maze Soba).
Living in the South, I’ve been to Ramen Yushoken quite a few times. Here are my all-time favorites there:
Gyoza – These dumplings are house made and fresh as Ramen Yushoken makes their own wrappers daily using flour and kansui (alkali water) imported from Japan. These are pork dumplings that have been steamed on one side and griddled on the other which creates the perfect balance between crunchiness and tenderness.
Shoyu Ramen – Shoyu Ramen is a soy sauce-based ramen which is an elevated form of their purest, most basic dish – the Shio. I find myself leaning towards ordering Shoyu ramen over the Tonkotsu ramen that I’ve tried during the first few months that they opened since it was quite frankly, the dish that was not too light, and not too heavy flavor-wise.
Tokusei Ramen – Tokusei is a stock made from konbu (kelp), fresh bonito flakes (skipjack tuna), and dried mackerel that is mixed with their tonkotsu broth. It is served with ground pork simmered in chicken broth, chashu, and half an aji tamago (a marinated half-boiled egg). This is the dish that I favored ordering under the Tsukemen list because it has the most layers of flavors when you eat it.
Karaage – This is Ramen Yushoken’s fried boneless chicken thigh, and it is incredibly crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. Because they don’t have any utensils except chopsticks, they made it so easy to eat by making this dish boneless. Its perfect pair is the Chahan or the mixed fried rice.
To help decide on what to order, I recommend starting with the basics and these are their Tonkotsu ramen dishes. If you feel a bit more adventurous, you can start ordering from the Tsukemen or the other ramens since they are more complex versions of their Tonkotsu ramen.
Philihappy Pro Tips
- Eat ASAP – Ramen should be eaten immediately while it is piping hot and the noodles are al dente. If you must take pictures, be quick about it. They have Wi-Fi with decent bandwidth to allow quicker uploads to Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
- Collagen – If you allow the soup to cool down a bit, you will find that a gelatinous film forms on the surface. That is a collagen, a form of protein rich in glycine and proline (the good stuff).
- Slurp away! – Slurping ramen is a must for the following reasons:
- It helps cool the soup down
- You can pull more soup along with the noodles
- It aerates both the soup and the noodles to intensify flavors
- It’s a sign of compliment to the chef
- Sharing? – They don’t prohibit sharing, but the Ramen Gods aren’t happy when people split a bowl
- Chopsticks only – As with any proper ramen house, we do not have western utensils, just chopsticks and soup spoons
- No takeout, no delivery – If you want to eat ramen at home, we recommend instant noodles.
What’s interesting in Ramen Yushoken’s menu is that it has something for everyone. Are you feeling reserved but open to try Ramen Yushoken for the first time? I recommend trying the Shoyu. Are you a lover of spicy food? Order the Tantan-men. Are you unconventional? Try the Tokusei. Are you with children? Order the karaage with chahan. The same goes for the beverages as they have ample choices to choose from.
As it is truly one of the best restaurants in the Philippines, expect to wait a little since they do not accept reservations and they only have a waitlist which requires a personal appearance. You may have to wait a while before you get seated, as there are almost always lines during peak hours.
Whether you’ve been here or you have yet to try it, I hope this will make you want to visit them sooner, rather than later. With Ramen Yushoken having such a thoughtful menu that caters to every client’s needs matched with speedy and excellent service, one can’t help but want to sip, slurp, and smile. Don’t forget to share your experience in the comment section!
Ramen Yushoken is located at Molito Lifestyle Center, Madrigal Avenue, Alabang, Muntinlupa. Opening hours: 11:00 am – 11: pm. For more details on the restaurant, contact (+632) 808 7424. Visit their Facebook page.