Hokkaido Ramen Santouka

"The legendary ramen brand that offers the same family recipe since 1988, enjoyed throughout Japan and in other international cities such as Taipei, Malaysia, Singapore, Hongkong, Indonesia, USA and Canada is now open in Manila!"
Salmon Salad PHP 250
Not bad, but had too many onions and too little salmon. I think my mom was expecting something like a crunchy tuna salad, in terms of the amount of raw fish, when she ordered this.
Small Ramen & Salmon and Prawn Sushi Set PHP 510 (excluding the egg)
*with your choice of soup base: shio (salt), shoyu (soy sauce), miso (soybean paste), and kara-miso (hot soybean paste, + PHP20)

Aside from the ramen; the set includes salmon and prawn sushi, chawanmushi, salad and pickled vegetables. I ordered a side of Komi-Tamago (Japanese marinated soft boiled egg) PHP 50, which isn't included in the set menu. A bowl of ramen for me isn't complete without my ajitsuke tamago, and I'm very particular about it. The yolk was quite runny but all the flavors were still there - better undercooked than overcooked in my opinion!
I decided to go for a shio (salt) soup base, since it's the most popular among all the soup bases according to the waitress. The ramen comes with a thick slab of tender and fatty pork, and a few other things like fish cake.

What sets ramen bars apart from one another, are their noodles and bases which aren't necessarily better or worse, it's just different and unique from one another. There isn't really a way to tell what the best ramen bar is in a place; because it's all in the matter of finding what ramen bar's noodles, bases, textures and flavors appeal to you the most. 
Large Tokusen Toroniku Ramen (Specialty Ramen) PHP 490
*with your choice of soup base: shio (salt), shoyu (soy sauce), miso (soybean paste), and kara-miso (hot soybean paste, + PHP20)

My parents chose a shio soup base for the large ramen they were going to split, since the waitress told us that it's the most popular among all bases. 
Roasted Pork Cheeks 
"Extremely valuable parts, only 200 - 300g / whole pig. Served daily in limited quantity."

Now this, is what I would come back for and what I think sets Santouka apart from other ramen bars in Metro Manila. This is the only ramen restaurant where I've tried roasted pork cheeks, and they're delicious. I was quite skeptical at first but gave in and tried it, and I'm glad I did! It's extremely tender and soft, not tough or dry at all like what it seems it would be like when you look at it. Full of flavor, too. If you haven't tried this yet I highly recommend ordering the Tokusen Toroniku Ramen or just ordering a side of this for PHP 250.

Hokkaido Ramen Santouka 
Address: G/F Glorietta 4, Ayala Center, Makati City (beside Mercury Drug, across Forever 21)
Other Branch: Second Level Mall of Asia 
Telephone No.: 728-1381
Mobile No.: (0917) 847-6087


Now Open: Ginza Bairin in Manila

International restaurant Ginza Bairin opened their first branch in the Philippines last Wednesday, July 24 in Glorietta 2. They have several stores in Asia including Tokyo, Singapore, Hong Kong, Seoul, Shanghai and two branches in Hawaii. They have a simple menu consisting of mostly tonkatsu and katsudon.
The man behind (if I'm not mistaken) is Yoshijiro Miyakozawa himself, international head chef of Ginza Bairin.
Left to right: tonkatsu sauce, salad dressings (two tall bottles), chili oil, chili powder, pink himalayan salt
Katsu Sando PHP 215
"An original Ginza Bairin creation of crisp hire katsu sandwiched between soft, freshly baked bread, and seasoned with two sauces." 
This was the first time I've ever heard and tasted a Katsu Sando, and I have to say I really like it. The meat was really tender and had a crunchy coating that went well with the soft white bread. It was tasty too, especially with the kick that the mustard gave.
Korokke PHP 110
"Japanese potato croquettes."
Hot and mushy inside, impressed with how they managed to fry it perfectly while still retaining its shape. 
Chicken Katsu (a la carte) PHP 75 
Gyoza PHP 150
Interesting way of pan frying gyoza, genius, really. A different kind of crunch to the oldie but goodie dish.
Rosu Katsu Set (large) PHP 395
"Moist, flavorful loin."
The set comes with the katsu (large is 150g, small is 100g), Japanese rice, miso soup, pickled vegetables, shredded cabbage and a side of fruit. There wasn't one drop of oil underneath the wire rack which is again impressive, though that didn't stop me from feeling a bit woozy after that 'fry after fry after fry' meal. Not complaining though!

Ginza Bairin 
Address: GF Glorietta 2, along Palm Drive, Ayala Center, Makati (entrance is from outside the mall, near Coffee Bean)
Website: http://www.ginzabairin.com.hk/index_eng.html
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GinzaBairin.PH
Telephone No.: 553-7350