Friday, August 9, 2013

So Near And Yet So Far: How I Finally Scored Hokkaido Ramen Santouka's Trademark Ramen ♪♪♪♪♪

If you can believe it, my craving for ramen further intensified when my favorite Japanese Documentary Program (Japan Videos) featured the Ramen Museum in Yokohama. Oh, I can still remember every detail of that particular episode. From its historical past to its iconic spot in Japanese food culture, ramen was put into the spotlight like never before. Moving pictures of people enjoying different ramen varieties inside the museum juxtaposed with videos of ramen- in- the making was enough to make my mouth water and look for the nearest ramen shop.

Rewind (2011).

I started my search by googling the different shops found at the Ramen Museum and tried to find out if by any chance, we have a branch here in the Philippines. That was when I came across Hokkaido Ramen Santouka. For some reason, I've begun to associate the shop with the Ramen Museum although I wasn't really sure whether HRS even had a branch there or not. I was drawn to a spectrum of rave reviews about the shop that I became fixated on it. I was disappointed though that back in 2011, there wasn't a Philippine branch to even talk about.

Hokkaido Ramen Santouka @ Tokyo Street, Pavilion Kuala Lumpur

However, my hope rose when I learned that there was a Hokkaido Ramen Santouka in nearby Kuala Lumpur which happened to be on our travel list that year. You can just imagine how excited I was when I finally stepped on Malaysian soil. Aside from all the bright lights and interesting sights the city was known for, I was equally ecstatic to get a taste of that ramen from Hokkaido Ramen Santouka.

However, I reserved the best for last by scheduling a visit on our last day at KL. I wanted it to be my last memory of the city! So when the whole family decided to have breakfast at Espressamente illy Pavilion KL, I decided not to eat anything because I wanted it to be a feast when I finally got to dine at HRS.

I could still remember telling Bala and Tutapel to hurry because I didn't want to be caught in the long queue. I remember running in front of my boys towards the 6th floor of  Pavilion Kuala Lumpur! Well, I guess, that was how excited and famished I was. :)

Gorgeous Tokyo Street on the 6th Floor of  Pavilion Kuala Lumpur

But my excitement was replaced by disappointment when I found out that the shop was still closed and we needed to wait for another hour before it actually opened. That was of course an impossibility, because we needed to make it to the LCCT-KLIAirport on time. All I could do was to take this last picture, and mutter "I Love You Goodbye" with a heavy heart.

Hokkaido Ramen Santouka @ Tokyo Street, Pavilion Kuala Lumpur

Fast Forward (2013).

Much later, I found out that Hokkaido Ramen Santouka opened its very first shop in Glorietta 4 during the first quarter of 2013. But it was only recently that I finally got to try HRS's Trademark Ramen. My pretty, K-POPified friend Cel and I dashed to its Mall of Asia branch right before we watched Lee Min Ho's My Everything Concert at the nearby Arena. We regarded it as a double celebration of sorts. :-)

K-POPified friends at Hokkaido Ramen Santouka Mall of Asia

With much excitement, we ordered their bestselling Tokusen Toroniku Ramen in two flavors: Kara-Miso for Mars Cel and Shio for moi.

Tokusen Toroniku Ramen @ Hokkaido Ramen Santouka Mall of Asia

Moi enjoying my ramen @ Hokkaido Ramen Santouka Mall of Asia

Tokusen Toroniku Ramen (Shio Flavor). 
Along with Mars Cel, I ordered the small-sized ramen which proved to be just enough to whet my appetite. I was told that Shio (Salt) was their bestselling flavor and I couldn't agree more. At first, I didn't expect that a simple sea-salt infused ramen can evoke so much depth of flavor. Oh, I was proven wrong. The milky-white soup was indeed deeply flavorful, tasty and extremely delish which made me enjoy the ramen's chewy nature even more. And the Roasted Pork Cheeks, you may ask? They were unbelievably soft, salty and oh sooo good! For me, the dish showed me the height of ramen because of its strong visual appeal and the fact that the soup was harmonized beautifully with all the ingredients marked with the lovely addition of the Pork Cheeks.

 Tokusen Toroniku Ramen (Shio Flavor) @ Hokkaido Ramen Santouka Mall of Asia
Small: Php 370
Regular: 430
Large: 490

Tokusen Toroniku Ramen (Kara-Miso Flavor). 
Mars Cel ordered the same deeply flavorful ramen but with a spicier nature which explains for its reddish hue. If you're looking for a zestier alternative, better go for this ramen type.

Hokkaido Ramen Santouka Mall of Asia

Tokusen Toroniku Ramen (Kara-Miso Flavor)  @ Hokkaido Ramen Santouka Mall of Asia
Small: Php 390
Regular: 450
Large: 510

Additional Rave: HRS MOA had the most amazing staff! Our servers cautioned us about the steaming hot ramen, happily indulged us by taking our photos and just exhibited a very pleasant and warm demeanor all throughout our stay.

Tip: To give you an idea on which to order when you do get to visit, simply refer to Hokkaido Ramen Santouka's Menu found below:

Hokkaido Ramen Santouka Mall of Asia
My Rating:
♪♪♪♪♪ Fantastic! It's on my list of favorites.
I will certainly make another visit soon!

Hokkaido Ramen Santouka Philippines
For Reservations: Please call 7281381/ 09178476087

Glorietta Branch
G4-132 Ground Floor
Glorietta Mall
Ayala Center, Makati
Store Hours: 11 AM - 11 PM

MOA Branch
Second Floor MOA
North Veranda between Tajimaya & Gumbo

Hokkaido Ramen Santouka Malaysia
Kuala Lumpur Pavilion Shop
Level 6, Pavilion Kuala Lumpur,
168 Jalan Bukit Bintang,
55100 Kuala LumpurMalaysia
Phone: +60-3-2143-8878
Hours: 11:00-22:00