Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Japanese Comfort Food at Raku Hokkaido Ramen House

With different Japanese food places available 24/7 all over the metropolis, finding one that gives you comforting experience, unique and close-to-authentic appeal is kinda hard. But do you know that here in Salcedo Village in Makati City, there's this one place that is making a noise - or should I say spreading that good Japanese aroma and flavor that embodies the soothing and relaxing effect of real Japanese dishes? It's name is Raku Hokkaido Ramen House, and this is where my palette led me when I craved for some different Japanese taste here in the bustling city of Makati.

Raku Hokkaido Ramen House has been there for years now, and for those who are not yet aware, their first branch is located at NAIA Terminal 3

When I dined in their newest place here in Makati, I was lucky enough to meet it's owners Mr. and Mrs. Andrew and Sandee Marasigan. They are also the owners of XO46 Bstro Filipino, which is by the way located besides Raku Hokkaido Ramen House here in Salcedo Village, Makati City.

Anyhow, on my first visit to this place, I was treated to an afternoon of Gyoza and Ramen delight, which to my gladness tasted really different. Different in a good way, that is.

But before I start making you all drool over their sumptuous meals, let me share to you first my in sights about the interior of Raku Hokkaido Ramen House new place.

With a theme that is inspired by Hokkaido, Japan, where Mr. Marasigan spent some schooling time, Raku Hokkaido Ramen House offers an out-of-Makati ambiance that will boost your appetite and will make you feel relaxed and comforted. The simple interior, that is mostly consisted of wood and paper, is lighted nicely giving the whole place a harmonious feeling. I personally love the frames they have on their walls and the hanging lamps from their ceiling.

My first visit to this place was like attending a Japanese feast, that is if Japanese do feasts. And on this bountiful feast, I was introduced to a wide selection of Gyoza or Japanese dumplings.

I didn't know that Gyoza comes in a lot of flavor and style and I'm glad that I had most of them from this place.

For some plain looking Gyoza, you can choose from chicken, pork, shrimp, scallop, salmon and vegetarian. Though, their appearances may look all the same, you'll distinguish one from the other once these cute dumplings melt in your mouth and spread its wildfire-like flavor to your tongue.

Chicken Gyoza - Php165.00

Pork Gyoza - Php145.00

Vegetarian Gyoza - Php155.00

Shrimp Gyoza and Salmon Gyoza

All of these Gyozas tasted really great, but the one that marked on my palette was the salmon. The freshness of the salmon and how it blends to the other ingredients were plainly outstanding - quite addicting, actually.

If you want your Gyoza to have a unique twist, well, you can order their Gyoza Kyos. And among these Gyoza Kyos that they offer, I got to try the one with Hot Mustard Sauce and the One with Kabayaki

With Hot Mustard Sauce

With Kabayaki

Both offers a good twist on these lovable gyozas and I think having one order of these dishes is not enough for these are so great to indulge in.

Aside from these fun-to-eat Gyozas, Raku Hokkaido Ramen House also offers wonderfully created Udon or  Japanese wheat noodles. And I got to enjoy these offerings through their Shitake Miso Udon and Ebi Remon Udon.

Shitake Miso Udon - Php235.00

Ebi Remon Udon - Php235.00

I learn to appreciate fungi, specifically mushrooms, because of Japanese dishes. And having a father who worked in Japan for quite sometime,  eating dish such Shitake Miso Udon is a real treat to me for it reminds me of how Japanese culture stands out, as what my father always tells me. The organic flavor was made tastefully fun on this one. And if you are like me who is a big Carbonara lover, I'm sure that you'll enjoy this one as much as I did.

As for the Ebi Remon Udon, the tangy-ness that it brought to my palette made it to my list of dish-worth-having from time to time. The freshness of the shrimp that made this dish looks so attractive adds a burst of irresistible flavor that any seafood lover couldn't resist.

These Udons are available until October 31 only, so catch it before they take it off of their menu! ^_^

For a more colorful Japanese treat, Raku Hokkaido Ramen House offers two lovable and colorful salads. I love Japanese salad, and seeing a plateful of these food-love is a real treat to me.

Hiyashi Kani Ramen Salad - Php180.00

Hiyashi Chasu Tamen Salad - Php180.00

Hiyashi kani is made of cold corn and kani or crab, while Hiyashi Chasu is made of cold chasu or barbecue-like pork and kani tossed in soy-vinaigrette salad. These salad made more fun to eat because of their attractive plates, which according to the staff were brought by Mr. Marasigan from Japan. Lovely pieces, right? ^_^

For some classic Japanese food-love, Raku Hokkaido Ramen House has the usual, Ebi Tempura.

Ebi Tempura - Php290.00/5pcs

One noticeable thing that really wowed us that day was it's gigantic size. Our plate looked so small for it. But as expected, after some few minutes, all was left is the giant prawn's tail. Hehe.

The last but not the least where Raku Hokkaido Ramen House' proud, their version of Hokkaido's comforting and tummy-filling ramen.

Raku Hokkaido Ramen House ramens come in quite a number of flavors - flavors that I'm sure you'll love to try. There's Shoyo, Chasu Buttercorn, Shio Buttercorn, Seafood, Miso, Tonkotsu, Two Mushroom and Gyuniku.

I had a chance to taste four of them, and I'm honestly saying that choosing one that let's say the best is hard, for each dish offers a distinct flavor and appeal to the taste buds. And I think that I'll never get tired having each of them as time goes by. They are simply delicious and comforting.

Shoyu Ramen - Php195.00

Shio Ramen - Php210.00

Miso Ramen - Php225.00

Gyuniku Ramen - Php235.00

Shoyu Ramen is consisted of fermented soybeans and brown soup. The Shio Ramen is made of salt-base stock and white soybeans. As for the Miso ramen, it is a blend of chicken and pork hocks mixed with ground miso or fermented soya. And lastly, the Gyuniku Ramen is a soup from the stock of pork bones then added with marinated beef.

Japan being the center of delicious ramens in the world, I didn't know until that day that ramens in Japan have different versions too. And the one that is most loved by the world is the one that comes from Hokkaido. The ramen noodles here are said to prepared for days and weeks, or sometimes even months, just  to achieve the perfect texture, tenderness and taste - a food fact that made me appreciate my ramen more.

My day at Raku Hokkaido Ramen House didn't end there. Just like what I thought that Japan has only Sake for a drink, I was all wrong. Hehe!

When I was asked what drink I'll be having during the course of this Japanese feast, I was torn between their Mirukuseki, which is like a fruit shake drink, and Apple Nectar, a plainly looking green apple juice.

Raku Hokkaido Ramen House is new then, and the air-conditioning system seems to be blowing ice, so I chose Apple Nectar. Plus, I find Green Apple kinda healthy, so there.

Apple Nectar - Php145.00

When my drink reached my table, as expected, I'll be receiving a plainly looking drink. But that "plainly looking" thinking vanished the moment I sipped through my straw and had a taste of thsi Apple Nectar. With my friends as a witness to my reaction, I was speechless. IT IS SOOOOOOOO DELICIOUS!

At first, it tasted like a green mango juice, but when I sipped again on my straw, the flavor bit my tongue more and as refreshing as it would be, the flavor was really, unimaginable, unexplainable. I guess, you really have to try this for you to truly know what I'm blabbering about here. 

It was really, really, delicious. I finished my glass in less than  minutes, and I actually wanna have another glass, unfortunately, they run out of green apples. I had the courage to asked them how they made it, but they just told me that they just put the green apple in the blender. I knew that they add something to it that made its flavor burst more, a secret I'm dying to know, really! Hehe.

This drink ended my day here at Raku Hokkaido Ramen House and it ended refreshingly awesome!

Thank you, Raku Hokkaido Ramen House! It was a splendid experience that I would love to do again - soon!

Happy eating!


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