If you have not noticed (shame on you), ramen is now a thing in the Philippines. A very big thing, given all the ramen shops sprouting like mushrooms and all the top 10 Best Ramen lists websites and food bloggers seem so keen to announce. I like these lists though. They make Google searching “best ramen QC” so much easier. Thus, my Saturdate discovery of go-en Ramen.
The full name reads go-en The Japanese Ramen Shoppe, a quirky Japanese food find in the heart of Quezon City’s South Triangle. Their Facebook page details how their menu masters learned the art of ramen from genuine Japanese ramen ninjas. And really, there is only one way to prove this.
After checking the menu online, I was hell bent on trying their Cheese Ramen. It was miso-based (check) and it had a mound of cheese (check) on top of a swirl of other goodies like corn, moyashi, and giant tamago. It also boasted of a heaping mound of ground pork (meh). I tried my luck with the pretty waitress if it was okay to have the pork served on the side (for my carnivore companion), and since that was a yes, I got my cheese on. The ramen was served hot, the miso base was healing as expected, and with a few strategically placed drops of chili oil, the soup was perfect. The menu details that one should sip the soup and noodles then take a bite of the cheese for a complete Zen experience. Or you can just toss the cheese around and watch it melt. I did both, and it was gooood.
My date picked their Kogashi Shoyu ramen, a smoky soy-based soup loaded with hosomen, naruto, kakuni, boiled egg, menma and shiraganegi. I honestly do not know what half of those ingredients are, but the naruto was cute and the ramen was good. All those toppings plus the heaping of ground pork from my order made the Kogashi extremely filling. The sole complaint: it gets salty at the bottom (which is why I’m not a big fan of the shoyu base).
We were deciding on a non-meat appetizer to share but settled on the plum sake instead. Sorry, plum sake does not deserve the word “settled.” Sweet with a hint of tart, the drink is a smooth slide down the throat, with barely an alcohol aftertaste. Thus it is dangerous to drink alone. I could have consumed the entire bottle but that would have not been a good idea. Fun fact: plum sake has collagen, while their peach sake is rich with hyaluronic acid. Conclusion, sake is great for the skin. Let’s drink more.
Saturdate rule: never leave without dessert. Hazel was keen on anything mochi, until the pretty waitress set down this wonderful, grass-green bowl of matcha pudding, a service treat from the kitchen. Maybe it is because we were the only customers during that late lunch hour. Or because the sake was not cheap. Either way, free dessert is always a goodie. Topped with azuki beans (Hazel: “monggo”) and a restrained dollop of whipped cream, this green tea concoction was a perfect cleanse to the richness of the ramen, and likewise a perfect match to their house tea.
What IS that?? A kendama/wooden yoyo-like toy of doom display? What, we can play them? Game on!
The second pretty waitress saw us hovering near their shop’s centerpiece display on our way out. You can buy these toys for a minimum of P750 (!!!), price depends on the wood. No, we were not going to buy. But the lady was so kind to let us try it out and take pictures of us failing and finally landing the wooden ball on the wooden cusp once. It was a fun, evil game because it was so hard, and a fitting way to burn off a bit of those lunch calories.
A shelf of manga on the wall, just like in the ramen shops in Japan as seen in mangas. Get it?
go-en The Japanese Ramen Shoppe definitely makes it in our list of places to return to. Who knows, they might just let us play this “display only” gigantic kendama when we come back. Until then, there are more fun food finds to discover.
All photos belong to Hazel Caasi.
go-en The Japanese Ramen Shoppe
Jardin de Zenaida, Unit B1, #34 Sgt. Esguerra Ave.
Brgy. South Triangle
Quezon City, Metro Manila
Quezon City, Metro Manila
Find them on their website, Facebook, and Twitter. You can find kendama in Japan, or via the ever helpful Amazon. Just click the colorful picture below.