Manila has certainly become ramen crazy. I remember when good old Shinjuku along Makati Avenue used to be the place to hie off to satisfy ramen cravings in the dead of the night. Now, you can find ramen everywhere.
Mitsuyado Sei-Men along Jupiter Street is part of the UCC group in the Philippines but is not part of a ramen chain in Japan. While they offer different varieties of ramen, it is their tsukemen that I think is quite outstanding.
I've read quite a number of reviews that have commented on the Japanese old style feel of Mitsuyado.
There are quite a number of kitschy items that do give you that kind of vibe.
What isn't so Japanese, to my mind is the space the restaurant occupies.
Mitsuyado is quite big -- the ramen places in Japan are much smaller in comparison with just counter space plus a few tables. Which is why the better and more popular ones always have long queues during mealtimes.
While I have yet to try their ramen, I will wholeheartedly recommend the tsukemen.
This is what I had the first time -- ajitama tsukemen with a side order of bamboo shoots and more ajitama. I could detect a touch of yuzu in the broth which made it light and quite refreshing.
You have a choice of hot or cold noodles although the waitress will recommend that you get the cold variety.
But surprise surprise -- the karaage was great, deep fried but not at all oily -- it was crisp, juicy and flavourful. Very authentic tasting too. It was cut up in bite sized, easy to eat pieces.
We also ordered the chashu bun. Think of a soft cua pao bun filled with generous slices of soft, melt in your mouth chashu, dripping with porky juices. The first bite yielded an explosion of taste and sauce -- which unfortunately landed on my shirt sleeve.
There's a smidgin of mustard on the side which adds some sharpness to the almost cloyingly rich taste.
While it was indeed succulent, it was not inexpensive and not as generous a serving as with the rest of the menu items.
Mitsuyado serves ice cold beer -- aside from our local San Miguel and Japan's number one Asahi beer, there is also Hitachino Nest White Ale, a belgian-style pale beer brewed in Japan.
It has a spicy, fruity complex taste and pairs well with anything on the menu.