Hanamaruken Ramen is a popular ramen franchise that specializes in meat from Osaka, Japan. They opened their first branch in Trinoma Mall, taking over the space previously occupied by Ramen X. I’m scheduled to go visit Osaka for the first time in a few weeks but it seems Osaka has come to me first via Hanamaruken. It was a nice, relaxing Saturday, a group of our foodie friends were going to have lunch and try out their ramen specialties.
The entrance looked cool decked out in blue, watch out for the funky door handle that pays homage to the founder’s profession.
The decor inside was very wood heavy giving it an old world feel. Our table was under these beautiful wrought iron lamps (I sense a steam punk feel).
Hanamaruken Ramen Philippines has a pretty compact menu made up of 6 kinds of ramen, 5 rice bowls and 4 side dishes only. Since there was a number of us, we ordered virtually everything on the menu starting with Gyoza (P150). This is a pretty good deal considering you get 8 pieces. The gyoza filling and wrapper were both good but I would have preferred more charring to get an extra bit of crispness.
The first of our ramen, Pot Belly Ramen (P380), arrived while we were finishing off the gyoza. The broth is shoyu and tonkutsu based with a healthy does of collagen swimming above. Hanamruken uses a thin Hakata style noodle which I first encountered in Ippudo. The prescence of the fat and collagen added flavor to the broth but it was still surprisingly light. We took a while to take photos since all the ramen came one after the other. Despite the time, the noodles did not become soggy, good thing we requested for “katamen” (extra hard), the Japanese version of “al dente”.
The Salary Man Ramen (P280) and Chasyu Ramen (P280) are almost the same save for the toppings used. The broth is still the same shoyu tonkutsu in the pot belly ramen. this time around sliced pork shoulder or chasyu is used instead.
Hanamaruken specialty is the Signature Happiness Ramen (P480) which comes topped with a humongous piece of braised pork rib. It also came with a little piece of nori/seaweed with some word written on it to denote its extra specialness. A little hush actually came over us as we were awed by the big piece of rib, each one eager to try a piece. The broth and noodles are the same as the 3 previous bowls and what makes this rise above them is none other than the rib, which was super tender and full of flavor. This has a limited availability of at most 20 bowls a day so better go early if you want to get a taste.
If you like spicy ramen then you should order the Spicy Tobanjan Ramen (P300). The broth in this one is tonkutsu plus tobanjan paste to give it a very spicy kick. If that is not enough, they’ve added a dollop of togarashi for you to mix in. I stayed away from this one after just a little sip. My favorite ramen was the Curry Tan Tan Mien (P380), which I actually forgot to take a photo of after that mad rush of bowls. It’s broth had the flavor punch I was looking for, earthy and with the right amount of spiciness. I had found the shoyu tonkutsu a bit too light for my tastes. Their ramen bowls do not come with Aji-Tamago (P50) so you can order them on the side. We had a couple of these and the cooking was a bit uneven, some were nice and runny while the other was bordering on hard boiled. Little would we know that the rice bowls would be stealing the show. Who could blame us since Hanamaruken was a ramen place.
The Salary Man Chahan (P225) has fried rice topped with the same sliced pork they use in the salary man ramen. This is quite a hefty bowl and you’ll definitely need to share if you are a light eater.
Happiness Rice Bowl (P250). This one has the braised pork rib but cut up into portions topped over steamed rice. The rib is even better than the one on top of the ramen because is was filled with the braising sauce.
Pot Belly Rice Bowl (P225). The pork belly pieces are cut into cubes and also comes with braising sauce so it actually has more flavor than those used in the ramen. Our group really loved the extra kick the sauce added. Bean spouts are laid on top for a little color and texture contrast.
Drunk Man Rice Bowl (P240). This is basically the same as the pot belly rice bowl but with two additional fried eggs. It’s like a take on the Filipino silog rice meals, hefty and with a fair bit of oil to jolt the taste buds. Comforting and filling, this was my favorite of all the things we tried that day. I’ll have this sans the bits of red chili next time.
Next time around, I’m choosing this seat, the facade is of their branch in Osaka. The only problem is choosing between the Curry Tan Tan Mien and Drunk Man Rice Bowl.This would be the next best thing to eating in Osaka. Maybe I’ll get a chance to eat at the main store when I visit Osaka in a few weeks.
Have you tried this new entrant in the Philippine ramen wars? What do you think of your experience, any favorites?