There days, ramen seems to be the thing to eat among members of the chic set. There have been all these ramen places sprouting up all over the place: Ramen X over at the TriNoMa, Chef Him Uy de Baron‘s utterly bespoke Nomama in Quezon City’s restaurant-mad Tomas Morato district, to say nothing of Ukkokei Ramen Ron along Makati’s Pasay Road. Even standard-issue Japanese restaurants such as Teriyaki Boy and Karate Kid have been offering soupy noodle bowls.
However, if it’s all about keeping things authentic, deliciously simple, and wholesome, my vote still goes to an old standby: Shinjuku Ramen.
I first encountered this particular restaurant during that short period when I was working at JICA because my Japanese colleagues would sometimes go there when they were particularly homesick and craved the taste of proper ramen. To them, there was nothing like a properly-made pork broth made good and savory by the addition of coarse salt and leeks, like noodles cooked to the right degree of chewiness. The only embellishments for it would be a bit of shichimi togarashi to add a bit of fire, maybe a drop of sesame oil.
The simplest noodle bowls are actually Shinjuku’s best. The shoyu ramen shown above is a classic example of how something so simple can be so good: just noodles in a soy sauce-enriched broth with a sheet of nori, some spinach, a couple slices of roast pork, and half a boiled egg. As even the regular-sized portion is rather generous, it makes for a deliciously satisfying meal.
If you’re in the mood for something a bit more decadent, the Sapporo ramen with corn kernels and butter melting into the soup will suit you just fine.
That said, Shinjuku continues to prove that keeping things simple has truly scrumptious results.