Sunday, January 18, 2015

First bite at Santouka Hokkaido Ramen

Place: Spacious, bright, and noisy. The couch is comfortable and the dining table wide.

Food: Generally delicious.

First item we ordered is a bowl of a bestseller, the Kara-Miso Ramen (Php 365, Regular bowl): thick, curly, yellow noodles, bamboo shoots, mushrooms, leeks, and thick slices of char siu, all swimming in a "spicy soybean paste" soup. It's delicious. The flavor of the soup is not overpowering. It gets saltier though as it gets colder. The noodles are firm. The vegetable components are crisp and fresh. The char siu is tender and moist, but a little salty.

Next on our table, the Aburi Char Siu-Pao (Php 130): tender char siu slices, sliced vegetables (cabbage and cucumber), mayonnaise, and teriyaki sauce, all nestling inside a soft, fresh, steamed bun. It has a nice mix of textures. The taste though is flat. We can only sense saltiness. The dish could better if it had a hint of sweetness, just to make the flavor punctuated.

To be able to try more food items, we choose The Small Ramen and Char Siu Rice Bowl Set (Php 450). This set includes a small bowl of Shoyu Ramen, a bowl of Char Siu cubes over rice, a small serving of salad, pickled vegetables, a cup of hot tea, and a small green tea cupcake. The Shoyu Ramen (soy sauce-based) is delicious! The broth is tasty and hearty. The rice bowl is OK. The rice is of high-quality, but again, the char siu is salty. The salad is good enough; the vegetables are crisp and fresh. The sesame-flavored dressing is yummy. The green tea is bland. Lastly, the green tea (matcha) cupcake is moist and teeming with authentic tea flavor.

Prices: Considering serving size, taste, and quality, food here is reasonably priced.

Service: Our waiters were alert and attentive. They could be warmer and friendlier though.

Santouka Hokkaido Ramen is on the 4th floor of TriNoMa, al fresco.

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