In 1988, a man named Hitoshi Matanaka was inspired to open up his very own ramen shop, after watching the popular ramen-themed Japanese film, ‘Tampopo’. His main goal for creating the first Hokkaido Ramen Santouka store was to make good quality ramen for his family (awww!). This first branch was located at Asahikawa, located in the cool mountainous Japanese province of Hokkaido (where else?). At the beginning, Mr. Matanaka’s small ramen shop only served shio (aka salt-based) ramen, and could only accommodate nine people. But in the end, this humble ramen shop was able to rise above the competition, and become one of the most well-loved ramen shops in that region.
Now, Hokkaido Ramen Santouka has branches located in so many different countries – China, the US, Canada, to name a few. They currently have several branches open here in the Philippines, including one in Eastwood. I wasn’t surprised when I discovered that they set up a branch there, because there was already a Katsu Sora nearby and I’m sure that these two restaurants were pretty much joined at the hip.
Menu: Original ramen, Specialty ramen, Awase-aji ramen, Hokkaido tsukemen, Santouka chicken ramen, Hiyashi chuka, Santouka spicy miso soup with the goodness of vegetables, Ikameshi, Rice bowl, Santouka set menu, Curry and rice, Pao, Salad, Side dish, Topping for ramen, Dessert, Drink.
Pork Gyoza, of course.
Tori Karaage. Chicken was freshly cooked, but had a rather greasy aftertaste.
Mom and I shared this bowl of Tokusen Toroniku Ramen, with a shio-based broth. This restaurant always makes sure that the soup is served at just the perfect temperature. The broth used for their ramen is simmered – Not boiled – Before adding in veggies, fish, and kelp. I could understand the pure saltiness of the ramen soup, but it also had too much oil in it. Bleh. Still a highly-satisfying bowl of ramen, though. We were also lucky to try out their roasted pork cheeks, since they’re only served in limited quantities. The pork cheeks – Another Santouka specialty – Were super tender and had a melt-in-your-mouth texture to it. Definitely worth the price.
Other toppings that came with our bowl of shio ramen were a small piece of pickled plum (served only with their shio ramen), spring onions, fishcake, mushrooms, and crunchy menma bamboo shoots.
Dad had the Spicy Creamy Shio Ramen, which I assume is almost the same as the one that mom and I shared, except with less pork cheeks and more zing.
Even though I found their ramen a tad too oily for my taste, Hokkaido Ramen Santouka’s food was still great, because it had so much character despite its simplicity. I’m willing to try their other types of ramen + rice meals the next time I come back. This place is a must-visit spot for ramen fans.
Food: 4.5/5 (taste), 5/5 (presentation)
Hokkaido Ramen Santouka is located at 2/F Eastwood Mall , Orchard Rd Bagumbayan, Quezon City. You can also find them at Trinoma, SM Mall of Asia, Glorietta 4, Greenhills Shopping Center, and Serin Mall in Tagaytay. Links: Official Japanese website || Facebook