With the ramen craze phenomenally sweeping across the metro, it wouldn’t be far for popular Japanese brands would come in like the recent opening (November 2013) of Hanamaruken Ramen at the Trinoma’s Garden Restaurant. Originally established in 1982 in Osaka Japan, Hanamaruken Ramen has about 40 branches in Japan and is highly popular for its slow-braised pork rib topped Signature Happiness Ramen that takes about 20 hours to prepare. Happyfoodies was invited to dine in their first Philippine branch so I along with guest foodie, Jen, happily tried out some of their offerings.
Jen: I was pleasantly surprised that the place endeavored to evoke a nice, calm ambiance
one that has discerning character. Since it’s located in a mall, I really wasn’t expecting too much. But the overhead lamps, the mural, even the traditional Japanese music, helped create an environment that was unhurried. Oh, and yes, the beckoning aroma of the food helped too.
Ironwulf: The earthly colors, warm and soothing lighting and wooden furnitures makes for a comfortable dining environment. I really like the choice of fixtures like the lamps and the displays behind the glass walls. The music, like a clapping of bamboo on a water fountain really sets the mood amidst the modern contemporary interior of the resto.
Jen: Gyozas are one of my favorite Japanese appetizers, and this one didn’t disappoint. They’re bite-sized, succulent, and didn’t feel greasy at all.
Ironwulf: Couldn’t agree more, a nice balance between the thickness of the wrapper and the filling. I especially liked the chilli oil sauce.
Signature Happiness Ramen
Jen: Not being a big fan of ramen, I let Ferdz order the bestseller item, thinking I would just have a few slurps of the hot broth and noodles, and that would be it. But I found myself scooping a generous helping into my bowl when I tasted the dish. It looked very well presented and organized, sort of like how a neat person would arrange his bowl
if there’s such a thing. Everything just seemed to be in its proper place. And the flavor of the meat soaked all the way into the soup and noodles, lending it a smoky feel. It’s a dish that really went well with the chilly weather during our visit.
Ironwulf: I was surprised at the huge bowl they have which they said is good for one (probably one with a big appetite) so we just decided to share. The broth has a strong smokey meat flavor, not overpowering but pleasantly blends permeates with the noodles. And oh my! The slow-broiled pork on top is really something! It is so soft and tender that even the fat (which I usually don’t eat) in meat was savory and tasty with a gelatinous feel on the tongue! It was very good! This happyfoodie is certainly happy.
Jen: Fried rice has always been a go-to comfort food for me dating back to my student days. It’s easy to assemble, hearty, and can be unceremoniously placed in anything from a plate to a bowl
even the lid of a pot. While the salaryman’s fried rice definitely shares the first two characteristics, it in no way can be called unceremonious. Similar to the way the happiness ramen was served, I got the distinct feeling that it was arranged with keen attention to detail. The thin slices of pork gave way to an aromatic mound of rice with finely minced vegetables and even more meat. It made a meal in itself, and I would have been happy with just this for breakfast or lunch.
Ironwulf: We wanted to try a rice dish for a change and ordered this one without expectations. It was again neatly presented, for a fried rice dish it doesn’t feel greasy, the thin slices of meat were savory and the overall dish felt clean in taste.
Ice Green Tea
Jen: Like how a good movie ends with a nice climax, I think the iced green tea capped off the meal very well. It has a very refreshing feel to it, certainly more than enough to compliment the other items we ordered.
Ironwulf: Their green tea is not a commercial mix but a uses a matcha green tea which is so refreshing on the palate. Really compliments the heavy meaty flavor of the Hanamaruken Ramen place.
Hanamaruken Ramen Philippines
2/F Trinoma Mall
North Avenue, Corner Edsa
1606 Quezon City, Philippines
Contact: (02) 720.9283/ (02) 628.1603