The return of Ramen Ron

Published December 27, 2021, 3:59 PM

by Philip Cu Unjieng

Ramen Ron is back, and that’s going to bring a big, wide smile to the faces of ramen-lovers.

Ukokkei Ramen Ron will always cast a long shadow on the history of ramen in our fair city. Before the Japanese-branded ramen houses saw fit to make their franchise presence here in Metro Manila, it was Ukokkei Ramen Ron that was regarded as the gold standard, the “real thing.” And Ukokkei on Pasay Road was the pilgrimage all serious fans of ramen had to make. Chef Tamura, the stern head of the house, dubbed the “ramen Nazi,” had his own rules and it was the stuff that urban legends are made from.

Chef Tamura San

The Pasay Road location shut down pre-COVID, and Ukokkei Ramen Ron resurfaced late last year as DIY-kits you’d prepare at home. Now partnered with Chef Margarita Fores and her son Amado, and rechristened Ramen Ron, the great news is that there’s a physical outlet once again located at Rockwell’s Edades, and Chef Tamura is back to his kitchen wizardry. I had the opportunity to have lunch there the other day, and while it’s still on soft opening, it was a welcome experience. The flavor, the taste elements, the hearty homemade quality of his broth, and ramen offerings are still something special and unique.

Between my boys, Issa, and myself, we got to try four of the Ramen items on the menu, and two of the Small Plates now being offered. If anything, Ramen Ron has upped the quality of what’s on offer, and they’ve definitely strengthened the Small Plates section, such that while the Ramen will still be the main reason you’ve come, you’ll be more than happy eating the other items on the menu.

Ukokkei Shio Chashu Ramen

The Ukokkei Miso Chashu Ramen is “silky fowl” miso-based broth and ramen noodles topped with pork chashu slices, bean sprouts, and spring onions. It’s the perfect introductory choice for those who want their ramen with familiarity, and yet ready to taste how Chef Tamura gives your ramen experience that something special.

With the Ukokkei Shio Chashu Ramen, one adds bamboo shoots and sesame seeds, enriching their broth and flavor. It’s a variation on the same theme, but I like how one can add elements such as the leaves of nori seaweed, or the koumi aromatic oil.

Tantanmen Ramen

The Tantanmen is your spicy option, as the broth is made with sesame, chili, miso, and ground pork, with ramen noodles and spring onions thrown into the fiery mix. This was my go-to in previous times, and I know I’ll be returning for this one, as I’ve missed it.

Cold Sesame Hiyashi Goma Ramen

My discovery of the day was the Hiyashi Goma Ramen. It has cold sesame sauce and ramen noodles, topped with pork chashu cubes, wakame, cucumber, sesame seeds, pickled ginger, and leeks. I know how traditionally Filipinos don’t go for cold noodles, but trust me on this one, as it really hit the spot, and was a refreshing change from the usual. I am so happy that they have this on their menu, as everyone at the table tried a bit of it, and felt they’d be back for this one. It’s something you’ll see on the menu and probably skip, but you’ll be missing a new, rewarding ramen experience.

Gyoza

As for the Small Plates, the Gyoza looks like your everyday variety, but they’re among the best I’ve had here in Manila, wonderfully toasted so there’s a certain degree of crunch as you bite into them. The Tempura is done properly, without a lot of breading. On these Small Plates, to be perfectly honest, there won’t be many surprises; but you’ll appreciate how they’re all done well, and that you’ll welcome them as add-ons to the delicious ramen you came for.

Chef Tamura in the kitchen

Spied Chef Tomura in the kitchen on the day we ate at Ramen Ron; and it was great to see him back, checking on the broth, and dishing out the magic he’s known for. Ramen Ron is back, and that’s going to bring a big, wide smile to the faces of ramen-lovers.

 
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