This past Tuesday, the 27th November 2012, through Elbert's kind invitation, Catha & I and some friends were fortunate to have had a sneak peek at the soon-so-fully-open Yushoken Ramen at the Molito Mall, Alabang. In our group, we were eight in all: Sanju & Cutie Gopaldas, Matt & Chinkee Koppe, Cyrene de la Rosa, Alex "El Demonio" Tiu, and Catha & I.
|Yushoken partners Elbert Cuenca & Ryan Cruz.|
The partners seem to have left no stone unturned, from the typically Japanese highly specialized, compact ramen house menu (in collaboration with and under the guidance of Koji Tashiro, a disciple of revered ramen master Yamagishi Kazuo), to strictly no-shortcut pork leg bone-based broth, among many other details - Elbert showed hindi lang siya pang-steak, pang ramen pa.
|The staff busy at work.|
|Recommendations by Elbert & Ryan.|
Aside from the ramen on offer, the menu includes typical ramen house side dishes such as the immediately above depicted Aji Tamago, a halfway-boiled egg marinated in a soy-based sauce. Per Elbert, ramen houses in Japan usually serve these already sliced, but he decided to allow his diners the pleasure of slicing for themselves.
The ubiquitous Gyoza is also on offer, but this is, to my mind, clearly a cut above the rest. I do not really eat gyoza, but this one I liked (and had quite a few of). The dough is gracefully thinner than usual and has a nice crispness to it without at all being "makunat". The pork stuffing is surprisingly light-footed and well - but discreetly - seasoned. Very nice indeed.
|Shoyu Tonkotsu Ramen|
In the meantime, Alex had arrived, naturally bearing bottles of alcohol - this time of Kiuchi Brewery Junmaishu Saké, a solid, reliable, very accessible and all-too-easily drinkable basic saké (55%-60% polished-down rice) - one of several by Kiuchi Brewery distributed by our drinking buddy, Jim Araneta, through his Global Beer Exchange.
Needless to state, with Alex's arrival began the first of countless "iki" (i.e., a Japanese imperative, when used in drinking, roughly meaning "bottoms up") toasts of the night. Elbert, having before witnessed both the speed, sheer volume, and alarming frequency of Alex's and Sanju's combined iki activities, wisely had his staff hide his bottles of Hibiki.
With Sanju, Cyrene, and I at the same table, I was a bit concerned about Cutie having to wait for photos to be taken before digging in. She assured me that, having been married to Sanju for well over a decade, she is already quite used to the blogsters' drill.
|We were getting stuffed and had to stretch our legs every so often.|
|Kiuchi Brewery Hitachino Nest White Ale|
|Smile! Say "Iki"!|
Needless to state, Catha and I, and several friends also denizens of Metro Manila's southern suburbia, are ecstatic that we finally have a real-deal, serious ramen house in our proverbial backyard. I am certain that this will do great here. Thanks again and congratulations to Elbert and Ryan! Kampai! Iki! Until the next!