Happiness in a Bowl at Hanamaruken Ramen
My Rating: ★★★★★
My husband and I went out for a ramen dinner date early this year. It was a night well spent at Hanamaruken Ramen, a new ramen place in Trinoma. We ordered their Happiness Ramen, a house specialty that made Hanamaruken famous in Japan.
We always bring the kids whenever we go out so it was such a breather that we left the kids at home that night. It was a casual dinner date though, no candles, no flowers, and definitely no high heels. We both have a laid back personality so yeah, a date is as simple as window shopping, trying out a restaurant we’ve never been before, or watching a movie. That being said, I might include “A cheesy, romantic date” on my Life List.
So going back to my review of Hanamaruken Ramen, the restaurant’s founder – Takaku Arakawa – is known for his passion for pork and ramen noodles. His family owns the Arakawa Pork Company so he knows the importance of serving quality meat. He established Hanamaruken’s first branch in Osaka and now it has over 40 branches in Japan.
The Signature Happiness Ramen (PhP 480) holds true to its name. It’s a gigantic bowl of pork bliss! On top of the soft and ultra-thin Hakata noodles are chopped leeks, marinated eggs (which tasted so-so), narutomaki slices, nori, and of course, a slab of pork rib. The shoyu tonkotsu broth has a light yet classic taste and leans on the fatty/greasy side. The soup isn’t to die for but when you get to savor the pork rib, that’s the time you’ll appreciate each and every slurp.
The dark-colored slab of tender and flavorful pork rib is tempting. It literally melts in your mouth (including the bone and/or cartilage), an indication that it has been slow-braised for long hours. The Happiness Ramen is actually my husband’s choice at the time, so I ordered the next best thing on the menu.
This is my bowl of Pot Belly Ramen (PhP 380). It doesn’t come with Aji Tamago but you may order it as an add-on for PhP 50. It has the same ingredients (tonkotsu-shoyu broth, Hakata noodles, and toppings narutomaki, leeks, and nori) except that it has slices of roasted pork belly instead of pork rib. I liked how the pork slices are thick and tender, but I somehow got overwhelmed with the extra layers of pork belly fat. Note that there’s already enough fatty bits floating on the surface. But all in all, the Pot Belly Ramen is comforting and emptying the large bowl left me with a satiated stomach.
Their Gyoza (PhP 150) is one of the tastiest dumplings I’ve had. It’s served with gyoza sauce and chili oil. A hundred and fifty pesos is pretty affordable for 7 pieces. The dish is perfect but I didn’t enjoy it as much because I already have had too much grease on my palate.
The spotlight’s on us! LOL. Looking forward to having our next ramen-venture!