Ukkokei Ramen Ron: Doing Ramen Right!


COCONUTS CRITIC’S TABLE – It was a cold and rainy night when we first visited this place. The monsoon was chilling us to the bone. It was late evening and Makati City had tons of food places to offer, but the hubby and I knew exactly what would warm the soul – a bowl of hot, steaming ramen with just the right amount of noodles to fill you up without feeling too heavy.

There were plenty of Japanese restaurants in the area, but using our better judgment, we headed out to Ukkokkei Ramen Ron on Arnaiz Avenue. The first thing that greeted us was a line of patrons waiting to be seated. I said to myself, wow, this many people on a rainy evening? They must be doing Ramen right!

For the Love of Ramen

More often than not, when we say Japanese food, the first thing that comes to mind would be sushi; and to us Filipinos, sushi often means raw fish—even though not all sushi is made from raw fish. When we say we crave Japanese food, we head out to the nearest sushi place—or a restaurant that serves some semblance of sushi. However, sushi is not the only Japanese food available in the country. Consider, for example, ramen. It’s taking the country by storm—one bowl at a time.

Ramen is very much similar to the traditional noodle soup or mami that we are all familiar with. It has noodles, savory broth, meat, and veggies. However, this is where the similarities end as ramen is very different from the Chinese-inspired mami or the instant noodles that we all know and love: It is richer, and deeper and more complex.

It also comes in various flavors, types, and even temperature. If you want to experience what real ramen is about, then you should definitely visit Ukkokei Ramen Ron in Makati City.

Nothing Fancy

Ukkokei Ramen Ron is a contemporary hole-in-the-wall type that certainly won’t grab the attention of passersby.

In fact, you’d probably have a hard time finding the place if you weren’t looking for it—unless, of course, you fail to see the throngs of people lining up and queuing for the ramen that they serve. Judging by the amount of people that fall in line, and given how there’s a Japanese restaurant on every other block, people are definitely coming back for more and more of that rich and flavorful broth.

Even on weekdays, the place is packed with people and is a definite sign that their food must be beyond good.

If this is your first time trying out ramen, you’ll probably have a hard time figuring out what to order. There are a lot of types of ramen to choose from and there is no perfect ramen for anyone. Just look around and see what other people are ordering and look for something that catches your eye or ask for recommendations.

Service is excellent and serving size is very generous; a bowl of ramen can actually be shared between two people of regular appetites.

The Signature Dish

If you are looking for the ultimate ramen experience, you should try the Tan tan men—the signature dish of the restaurant and the prized meal for all Ukkokei Ramen Ron goers. This dish is so special that only 12 bowls are served per night. It isn’t even on the menu; it’s part of the “Special Ramen” line-up that’s on the wall.

If that’s not enough proof, they only serve this dish at dinner from 6 p.m. onwards. The soup is a very rich broth that is so tasty and savory that it tastes like it has been simmering for a couple of days. In fact, considering that they only serve the dish during dinner, they might have been boiling the broth for longer than that.

When they say that they’re out of Tan tan men, it means exactly that. You’ll have to come back another day, fall in line and pray that the Ramen gods answer your plea.

To the already rich ramen, we added two orders of Japanese tea eggs and stirred. The golden orange yolks melted in the rich broth and added another dimension of flavor.

Tan Tan Men is nutty, sweet, spicy because of the sesame seeds. If this kind of richness isn’t what you’re looking for, you can choose any of the clear-broth based ramens. The sizes come in small and large. A large bowl of Ramen is really good for three or more people.

Other Offerings

 We’ve been to Ukkokei Ramen Ron a couple of times and have tried other staples – the gyoza, which was just so-so for me. The onigiri is another must-try if you’re fond of the popular rice ball. There’s also the curry rice and the tempuras. The place is always packed as they also serve set lunches.

 It doesn’t matter if you are feeling adventurous or you just want a hearty, warm soup to fill you up, ramen is really one of those dishes that you will remember and crave after a while.

For a lot of Filipinos, ramen may very well become the de facto food to go to when craving for Japanese food. It’s a comfort food that brings nourishment to the body and leaves you warm and fuzzy (and sometimes induces a food coma if you’ve had much too much of the Tan tan men!) inside.

 So the answer is yes, I will go back to Ukkokei Ramen Ron and will line up again and again for a bowl of hot soup.

Ukokkei Ramen Ron: Unit 1-2, Upper G/F, Tesoro Building, 822 A. Arnaiz Avenue (formerly Pasay Road), Makati City. Tel: +632 856 4588

Coconuts Critic’s Table reviews are written based on unannounced visits by our writers and paid for by Coconuts Manila. No freebies here.

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