Miso-Ten Ramen joins noodle bandwagon
MANILA -- While Pinoy food is taking over food palates in the United States and several parts of Europe, the Japanese-based ramen is having its field day in Philippine bars, high-end restaurants, and even humble carinderias.
Like the milk tea, ramen bars have become ubiquitous in the country. For iFoods Inc. brand manager Michael Soon, however, the market has not yet have its fill of ramen.
“Filipinos are still learning about ramen…We still have one or two years of learning process,” he said.
iFoods, in fact, has just joined the ramen bandwagon with the brand Miso-Ten Ramen and Tempura, with newly opened branches in Robinson’s Magnolia and Robinson’s Manila.
What differentiates it from other ramen houses is that it uses miso-based soup rather than the simple soy-based soup of other brands. Miso comes from fermented rice, barley, soybeans, salt and other ingredients.
With its egg-based noodles, Miso-Ten’s version has indeed more character compared to other brands, with the particles of the miso washing over the tongue. It’s the miso’s herbal aftertaste that makes the brand’s version more Asian.
One can order off the menu, but a customer can also customize a bowl via an order form. To fight away the colds during the typhoon season, the ramen is best served with a little spicy oil.
Tempura over rice
Miso-Ten will not really be the name it claims to be without the tempura. Soon explained Miso-Ten is the marriage of miso ramen and tendon (tempura over rice).
The brand got its mark right with its scalding hot shrimp tempura, thanks to its crunchy but never overpowering batter. One can only hope they had more vegetable tempura on the side, especially the string beans.
Guests were also treated to the gyoza or Japanese dumplings. One problem is that the gyoza dough was a bit too soft, hardly able to cling on even to the stiffest clamp of the chopsticks. Its saving grace was the filling, which, thankfully, was not oily as its dough.
Miso-Ten, nonetheless, is all ears to its customers. In fact, its menu -- though already with variants -- has yet to be completed via requests of customers. “We want to add more variety, maybe sushi,” Soon said.
He said Miso-Ten does not have a story to tell unlike other foreign brands that claim to have perfected ramen-making through the years. “People are blinded by foreign brands,” he noted, adding that Miso-Ten is “straight and simple.”
Miso-Ten just wants to attract the Pinoy taste, he said. In fact, it has tapped the services of food technologist Japanese Iida-san to create the fusion of ramen and broth to complement the taste buds of Filipinos.
Filipinos are attracted to ramen, similar to their attraction to lugaw, Soon said. “You can be creative [with ramen],” he said.
iFoods is not stopping there. In fact, the brand behind homegrown restaurants such as Wafu, Stackers Burger Café and Tokyo Café, will even bring the ramen wars to Filipinos.
Six ramen restaurants from Japan will be serving their best dishes here as they compete in the Philippine edition of the Ramen Champion battles.
In a statement earlier, iFoods said the Philippine edition of Ramen Champion will be held in an unspecified 650-square meter arena in Manila by the end of this year. The ramen will be judged based on sales and customer votes, it added.