Photo credit to Isaak Nalupa
With the last handfuls of weeks or even months hitting us with non-stop rain, you know what would be lovely? Staying in bed all day all wrapped up in the sheets. Or maybe a nice hot bowl of soup. Or better yet – RAMEN! And there’s a new place along North Drive that transports you to what feels like an actual ramen shop in Japan.
Named “Agara Ramen”, a play on the local term “agraraman”, this noodle shop sports an industrial style interior with a ramen bar that can seat 14 people at a time. You also get to watch Ray Costa, the owner of the establishment as well as head ramen master, prepare the dishes in front of you. There are six different types of ramen to try with gradients of flavors ranging in intensity and saltiness.
There’s the Tonkotsu Shio and the Tonkotsu Shoyu, which are quite similar due to the pork broth, but still unique in taste. The Tonkotsu Shoyu has more soy sauce, while the Tonkotsu Shio has a sea salt base, which makes it more subtle in flavor.
The Miso Ramen is made from a strong pork miso soup, Sapporo-style. It has a slightly stronger flavor stemming from the fermented soybeans. The sweet corn kernels also brings a lovely contrast to the saltiness.
Those who like spicy food will love the Tantanmen. It is also made with pork broth, but slightly thicker from the sesame seed paste. Mix well before eating! This is one of our favorites.
The Chuka Soba is a popular kind of ramen in Tokyo, but the first of its kind in the Philippines. Its broth is made from chicken, pork, vegetables, and five types of dried fish. It has notes of smokiness in its flavor with a slightly bitter aftertaste.
Another of our favorites is the Tsukemen, because of the unique way that it is eaten. Called “dipping noodles,” the noodles are much firmer and bigger than the other ramen variants. The noodles are served cold alongside a bowl of rich livestock and vegetable broth which you dip them in. And when you’re out of noodles, you can ask for the broth to be diluted.
While a bowl of ramen is enough to fill you up, you can also ask for some side dishes like a plate of Gyoza to share.
Overall, we surely experienced new dimensions of flavor and textures dining at Agara Ramen. They say that it should only take you less than 15 minutes to finish a whole bowl so you can savor all the flavors while it’s hot. And as per Japanese custom, slurping is highly encouraged. The louder the better. So slurp away!