The best chicken ramen can be found in Makati

Published January 20, 2022, 9:00 AM

by Sandy Daza

Reminiscing time… Whenever I did my Japan food tour, I would get mixed emotions. Mostly positive. I pray and thank God for blessing me with a dream job. Each meal was like finding treasure I simply enjoyed. Seeing participants close their eyes in satisfaction over the food was also priceless. The downside was that whenever I discovered something delicious, my mind would take me to the people I love the most—my family! I wish they were there. What culinary pleasures we could have together!

That dream became a reality one day. My family and I all flew to Tokyo. We rented an Airbnb, explored the Japanese capital together for the very first time. My kids are experts in reading Google maps. If it were left to me to navigate our way, we would have probably ended up in Osaka.

DINING WITH TEAM DAZA The author and his family in Tokyo

We took a bus to the heart of Tokyo, read the directions we were supposed to take, and still happily got lost trying to find our Airbnb that was supposed to be our home for over a week. We dragged our maletas (suitcases) across the safe streets of Tokyo. But when we finally arrived in the building, we had to wait a few hours because our rooms were not yet ready. We heaved our luggage as we searched for the closest place we could eat at. We were all famished.

Just a few paces from our place, we found a quaint ramen shop. The place specialized in an unusual chicken ramen. Hmmm. We sat down and this meal was our first goldmine discovery. The ramen was hot, the broth extremely tasty, the noodles al dente, and the chicken slices perfectly tender. Wow! A jackpot of a first meal.

In the next few days, we went to one of the top tonkatsu establishments in Tokyo where my family and I experienced a whole new level of deliciousness in the crispy superior pork. I also took them to a tsukemen place called Fūunji, where one would queue for at least 30 minutes. When you’re finally seated for your dipping ramen noodles, someone hungry would already be standing behind you, waiting for you to vacate your seat. That was part of the fun. Best tsukemen!

We also went to simple places like Tokyo’s Yoshinoya where we had a modest sukiyaki, but boy, this too was so good. We also dined at a sushi boat restaurant where you sat down and just grabbed any sushi that you liked. We also did the most popular ramen joints. All winners. That trip was priceless. I got to try such wonderful food with the people I love the most.

Marudori’s Shoyu Paitan

That first meal, though, had such an impact on me that every time I go to Japan, I’d lookout for a chicken ramen spot. I never found anything close to it.

The other day, I was browsing through Instagram and saw a post of someone I follow, Alex Ong. This guy is such a foodie. I watch out for his tips. We have the same taste and I trust his suggestions. He posted about a new ramen place at 8 Rockwell. At the time, it wasn’t clear to me if Alex said it was an all-chicken ramen restaurant run by the same group that operates the successful Yushoken. The credentials of the people behind it, nevertheless, made me decide to check it out. I had work in Makati that day. I had to pick up a Kangen machine from the office and install it in Makati. After that I was free. My reward: lunch alone at this new ramen shop. I don’t mind doing food trips alone. Anyway, I zeroed in on this new prospective find.

I was right. It was an all-chicken ramen place. I was so excited. On the menu, they had sous vide chicken over ramen and a char-grilled chicken over ramen. I got the latter. I also ordered five pieces of chicken gyoza. On the side, I had a ginger ale. I was told by the waiter the ale goes well with the ramen after I had ordered it.

My gyoza arrived first. I was so hungry. I dipped one huge gyoza in a mildly sweet vinegar ginger sauce and popped the Japanese dumplings in my mouth. I got burned, of course, but boy-o-boy-o-boy that baby just burst hot soup and deliciousness in my mouth, I wanted to hug the waiter. Like xiao long bao but better. O.M.G.! Ang sarap!

Gyoza

Then my ramen came. It was a milky broth topped with charred slices of chicken thigh. After taking photos, I took my first sip of the broth. It was thick, rich, sticky, and so luscious. The noodles were chewy, al dente, and the charred chicken was out of this world. This time, I wanted to kiss the waiter. It was that good. Best meal of 2022. By far, this ramen beat the one I had on my first day in Tokyo with the family. From where I was seated, I watched the chefs at the counter drop frozen white broth into their soup stock. The broth is secretly made in a commissary for consistency. Galing (amazing)! I have to go back! Soon.

I wanted to kiss the waiter. It was that good. Best meal of 2022.

This place just jumped to no. 1 on my ramen list. My next mission is to bring my kids there. I’m driving my youngest for her booster today at Mall of Asia. I reward myself with a visit for their tsukemen. Ang cheap ko!

Happy eating!

Marudori is on the ground floor of 8 Rockwell, Hidalgo Drive, Rockwell, Makati City.

 
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