You’ve read the signals right: I’m a big Ramen lover. My Ramen adventures spanning from the budget, mid-range, to the high-end ones familiarized me with its different variations and interestingly, the bustling Ramen scene in the Metro is quite a good subject to study. From time to time, we’d be surprised with the new Ramen trends aside from the top-rating names that we usually know. Just recently, I discovered a fairly new Ramen hub in North Edsa that’s a worthy addition to this list: Ukkokei Japan by Menzo.
Ukkokei Japan by Menzo is different from Ukkokei Ramen Ron. To distinguish it from the other similar names, the owners added Japan to describe its origin, and Menzo — the name of its head chef. Ukkokei originally means black chicken, but the Ramen restau ironically specializes in pork simmered for 16 hours.
Ukkokei was first known as a relatively average-priced Ramen stop in Megamall but has become a huge hit among the diners of the mall. It has a newly opened branch in Maginhawa too. Just yesterday, the North Edsa branch had its grand opening. Together with the other food bloggers, my taste buds had an amazing feasting on Ramen, rice dishes, and side dishes.
Ukkokei is located at the 3rd floor of SM North Edsa main building, beside Mesa and Pancake house. The space is rather small that can accommodate only up to 40-45 persons. The interiors are simple too, nothing too fancy inside. I guess this is to mainly focus on the food, not on the ambiance. It’s also understandable since the restau is on its soft opening but I’m pretty sure more improvements will be seen soon.
Now let’s go to the main highlight of this post: the FOOD.
This Ramen hub features three main varieties: Shiro, Kuro, and Aka. Shiro is the salt-based Tonkotsu broth, Kuro is the garlic-based broth, while the Aka is the spicy-flavored Ramen.
Each version comes in three different sizes and servings: Chashu, Ajitama and Original. The difference among these three is the serving size of the bowl and the slices of Pork belly. The Chashu has two thick slices of Pork belly and is the biggest serving size. Ajitama and Original on the other hand, both have one slice of Pork Chashu but the Original has no Tamago egg in it. With these selections, diners can opt to choose the serving size — which is suitable for any type of budget and taste preference. I suggest though, to try the Chashu to enjoy the experience! All of three types are served with spring onion, seaweed, and black fungus.
The Kuro had a strong, biting garlicky taste which turned out to be too bitter for me. It was too late that I knew that the broth should be mixed to balance out the flavor. Shiro’s taste was spot on — not too oily, nor too overwhelming that drowns you to fattiness of the broth. The seasoning was just right to satisfy your palate, good for a nice slurp. The umami flavor was not that strong to tire you to boredom. The texture of the noodles was also good, not too soggy nor too hard for chewing. The Aka Ramen was spicy but tolerable on the taste buds, still leaving you room to enjoy the Ramen. Diners can specifically request to add more spice to the Ramen, but for me the serving was just right for my mild tolerance for spicy food.
Amazingly, the Chashu had the thickest slices of pork I’ve ever seen. It intimidated me at first, knowing my aversion for pork. Nevertheless, it was too fork-tender you won’t be dismayed at all. A light poke can easily tear the meat.
The Tamago egg was not that wet and runny. The wet yolk could have added another depth of flavor to the noodles but that’s alright.
I was not able to taste the Midori Ramen, which is infused with Basil and Green bean, but I heard this was among the top favorites in the group. The hints of Basil was not too overpowering, I heard. This might work for those with adventurous palates.
I won’t give a detailed description of each of the dish but if there’s a common thing in them — the serving size is too hefty that is good for sharing for two. The taste is generally okay, not really that exceptional but good as alternatives if you are not a Ramen fan. What stood out for me was the Chahan rice and Pork Katsudon. I find the Gyudon too sweet for my liking.
Ramen is always good when accompanied with side dishes. The Japanese delectable sides can boost your appetite before starting off with your main meals. The prices are reasonable for the serving size. What piqued my interest was the Kani salad, Teba Karaage, and Chicken Karaage.
We always think that the authentic Japanese cuisine is expensive, but lo and behold, there are still affordable choices around such as that of Ukkokei’s. It may not be at par with the big names in the Ramen biz, but surely they are still appetizing to begin with. It also made me realize that each Ramen store I go to has its own unique story, style, and workaround to survive in this aggressive and ever-evolving food industry and that we should learn to appreciate them instead of comparing them.
Ukkokei Japan by Menzo
Third Floor, Main Building, SM City North EDSA, Bago Bantay, Quezon City
Opening hours: 10 AM to 10 PM daily
Facebook: Ukokkei Japan by MENZO
Christmas is a cherished occasion to celebrate the festivities of all sorts. In the spirit of lively gatherings and parties, food plays an integral role to represent the abundance of blessings this holiday season. And speaking of food, we couldn’t get away with the presence of desserts. Not only does it complement the cheerful season, it can instantly be a sweet present to your loved ones.
When it comes to premium desserts, Sugar House is an institution. Running for more than 30 years, Sugar House offers an extensive range of delectable sweets good for household consumption, as presents for any occasion, or simply an indulgence to satisfy one’s cravings. Who would have thought that a small building back in 1984 that housed a little kitchen, bakery, and a customer area will grow into an established dessert institution that it is today. Back when social media advertisement was not yet born, word of mouth became its most efficient marketing tool.
At this time, there are a total of 7 branches: 4 of which are full dine-in stores serving cakes, pastries, and the complete meals menu; 2 of which are semi dine-in stores serving cakes and selected menu items; and 1 of which is a kiosk serving cakes & pastries only. Sugar House was not only known for sweet goodies, but also for its savory dishes in selected branches. The installation of dine-in facility in some of the branches has drawn more customers patronizing both the full meals and desserts.
I was able to taste some of its best sellers, and they were all good!
The Taisan bread (Php 180) was lightly sprinkled with sugar and brushed with melted butter. This fluffy chiffon made me think of coffee as its best partner.
Their version of Leche Flan(Php 130)
was divine. It was smooth and creamy, that melt-in-your-mouth type of flan.
The Polvoron (Php 180/Php 350) was also one of my favorites. Every bite was solid, not like the ordinary tasting and powdery Polvoron. It was milky in taste.
I am not a fan of sweet-flavored popcorn but Sugar House’s Chocolate Popcorn (Php 90/Php 215) version made me change my mind at once. It was well-coated in chocolate that you’ll taste the hints of choco up to the last kernel. All kernels are cooked well.
Sugar House’s Christmas Catalogue is out to feature the best-selling cakes and pastries to suit the most wonderful time of the year! Classical Christmas faves such as Queso de Bola Ensaymada and Fruitcake will definitely make your celebrations extra special.
At Sugar House, you can customize Christmas Gift Packages according to your preference. Select and mix match the breads and pastries and the staff can arrange a nice package for you. Sugar House makes your gift-giving convenient and with a personal touch too!
At Sugar House, Christmas and all memorable occasions are made even more special with its delightful goodies made of high quality and taste. Head now to the nearest Sugar House branch and experience the signature desserts!
SANTOLAN TOWN PLAZA
Santolan Town Plaza, San Juan
DELA ROSA CARPARK
Dela Rosa Carpark Building,
Legaspi VillageTel: 893-8341
G/F The Bridgeway Shops,
Greenhills Shopping Center
3/F Glorietta 2, Ayala Center
SM SAN LAZARO
Ground Upper Floor, North Wing
Lower Ground Floor, Building A
Power Plant Mall ROCKWELL
Level P-1 Power Plant Mall,
(Mon-Thurs) 11am – 9pm
(Sun) 10am- 9pm
I’m sure you’ve heard about Kanto Freestyle Breakfast. Reading a review before heading to any of its branches may no longer be necessary. It’s a hit restaurant known for its Pinoy comfort food served ala gourmet style but at reasonable prices. If you are looking for a recovery food after party, a midnight snack in the wee hours, or a comfort food at any time of the day — Kanto could easily pop into your mind.
It’s admirable that I’ve seen how it grew from a humble eatery into a full-fledged restaurant. Six years ago when I ate in the Mandaluyong branch, it was just a simple sidewalk eatery with a few tables and chairs, and a tattered signage used in most sari-sari stores or carinderia. Back then, its food was already creating buzz for its artsy presentation and quality taste despite its unassuming location.
Longing for the good ol’ days, I visited the new branch in Makati just recently. One was with friends, one was with my family. It’s amazing to notice the apparent transformation — the restaurant is already situated in a more decent location with huge space, with more servers, and a more organized kitchen system. I also noticed that the prices increased a bit.
Kanto is famous for Filipino breakfast fares with a twist. We had the following:
Generally, the food taste is okay. Imagine enjoying your usual breakfast staples in the carinderia with enhanced taste and presentation and with more filling portions. It’s Kanto meals leveling up!
The New Zealand Tapa is one of my favorites. The beef is so tender and savory with its own signature marinade. The Honey Garlic Chicken is also one of its popular best-sellers. The flavor is a marriage of garlic and sweet notes of honey — a perfect combination.
Their Pancake versions are not only luscious but are in trend with the latest dessert flavors. My sweet tooth will always go for the Oreo Cookie Butter Pancakes and Mixed Berry Pancakes. You should give it a try.
Their Hot Pandesal gives you the joy of choosing among different spreads. The bread is soft and compact.
I also heard that their Chocnut Champorado with Tuyo (Php 99) is among the popular breakfast choices of customers.
The food is not all about nice presentation — I’d say it’s good to try. Every item on the menu is creatively executed in terms of preparation and taste. You’d be surprised that the unusual combinations are being served here and that they could actually go well together.
Service is a bit slow, but it’s understandable since they have a huge customer demand and the business is running for 24 hours. I just have a comment on their consistency. Before, our rice meals were served with spring onions but none was included when we visited it last week. Before, butter is included in the pancakes but now there was none. The quality changed a bit. I’m unsure if this depends on the available supply or volume of customers coming in, but for a customer who’s previously a fan, this could be a downgrade. Quite disappointing because I brought my dad here for the first time and he just said: “We can do this at home”.
Anyway, I hope it’s not like that forever. After all, I’m still rooting for Kanto Freestyle for its affordable yet delicious food.