Kaladkarin Diaries

Ramblings about food, cooking, recipes, travels, history and walking around Manila.


May 13, 2013
I left the office to meet up with a photographer friend, Mark Baldonaza, about some business. As I walked towards our meeting place, I can’t help but tell myself how much I love Ayala Avenue on a holiday. It was after all, the 2013 Philippine general elections.
I met Mark over frappucino in Starbucks. After discussing business, we did some catching up and proceeded with my crash course on photography. I always take photos using my trusty phone or a point and shoot camera. I never borrowed Mark’s DSLR (well, except for a couple of times…) because I was scared of it, and I had no idea what the buttons are for.
My trusty photographer friend decided to give me a crash course of the basics over coffee. I took notes as I was taught the fundamentals of photography. It was easier to absorb ,since he was showing me the differences instead of blabbing like a runaway train for the next half an hour.
As I get the hang of the camera, Mark suggested I choose a subject and shoot away for him to check if I was able to absorb anything. And here are the shots I took:
My sensei for this session… ahahaha!
Focusing on my clutter…
Capturing my drink on camera
brilliant pose…
Mark as he took photos
focus on the cigarette and ashtray
focus on the cigarette
Forgive the shots I took, I’m a beginner. I just realized there’s so much that I don’t know about taking pictures. Maybe it was just luck that I was able to get decent shots before. As our lesson ended, our conversation shifted from photos to… FOOD. As my partner in crime, we decided to head to a hole in the wall place in Malate, serving Ramen. Yes, you read it right, folks. I was with a friend in Malate when I passed by this Japanese stall. 
Travel time from Ayala Avenue to Malate in a cab during election day was fast, no traffic. We reached Adriatico, Manila in 10 minutes, only hindrance were the stoplights. 
As we reached our destination, we can see that it was just a stand with a Japanese lantern in front of a cheap bar. 
the ramen stand
We saw 3 old Japanese men in one of the tables, thinking they were customers too, we took our seats next to them. Nothing fancy, just green monobloc tables and chairs, shared with the bar. Mark brought out his camera and took pictures. I noticed the bar at the back, but the “liquor ban” burst our bubbles from ordering beer as we checked what they had to offer.
Liquor ban… BOO!
the broth
The selection they had was just few, so we decided to order ShōyuRamen and Tan Tan Men with extra Char Siu. Service was fast but don’t expect the usual cleanliness after all, it’s cheap.
left to right: Tan Tan Men and ShōyuRamen
Ramen is of Chinese origin, however, it is unclear when ramen was introduced to Japan. The etymology of ramen is a topic of debate. Just a disclaimer, I know I am Chinese, but the things I’m about to write are researched information. One theory is that ramen is the Japanese pronunciation of the Chinese la mien, meaning “hand-pulled noodles.” A second theory proposes laomian, “old noodles” as the original form, while another states that ramen was initially lǔmiàn, noodles cooked in a thick, starchy sauce. A fourth theory is that the word derives from lāomiàn, “lo mien”, which in Cantonese means to “stir”, and the name refers to the method of preparation by stirring the noodles with a sauce.
By 1900, restaurants serving Chinese cuisine from Canton and Shanghai, offered a simple ramen dish of noodles (cut rather than hand pulled), a few toppings, and a broth flavored with salt and pork bones. Many Chinese living in Japan also pulled portable food stalls, selling ramen to workers. By the mid 1900s, these stalls used a type of a musical horn called a charumera, (that originated from the Portuguese which was called charamela) to let everyone know of their presence, a practice some vendors still retain via a loudspeaker and a looped recording. 
After World War II, cheap flour imported from the U.S. swept the Japanese market. At the same time, millions of Japanese troops had returned from China and continental East Asia from their posts in the Second Sino-Japanese War. Many of these returnees had become familiar with Chinese cuisine and subsequently set up Chinese restaurants across Japan. Eating ramen, while popular, was still a special occasion that required going out.
Beginning in the 1980s, ramen became a Japanese cultural icon and was studied around the world from many perspectives. At the same time, local varieties of ramen were hitting the national market and could even be ordered by their regional names. A Ramen Museum opened in Yokohama, Japan in 1994.
Ramen soup is generally made from stock based on chicken or pork, combined with a variety of ingredients such as kombu (kelp), katsuoboshi(skipjack tuna flakes), niboshi (dried baby sardines), beef bones, shiitake, and onions, and then flavored with salt, miso, or soy sauce. Other styles that have emerged later on include curry ramen and other flavors.
The resulting combination is generally divided into four categories :
  • Shio (“salt”) ramen is probably the oldest of the four and is a pale, clear, yellowish broth made with plenty of salt and any combination of chicken, vegetables, fish, and seaweed. Occasionally pork bones are also used, but they are not boiled as long as they are for tonkotsu ramen, so the soup remains light and clear. Char Siu is sometimes swapped for lean chicken meatballs, and pickled plums and kamaboko are popular toppings as well. Noodle texture and thickness varies among shio ramen, but they are usually straight rather than curly.
    • Tonkotsu ( “pork bone”; not to be confused with tonkatsu) ramen usually has a cloudy white colored broth. has a thick broth made from boiling pork bones, fat, and collagen over high heat for many hours, which suffuses the broth with a hearty pork flavor and a creamy consistency that rivals milk, melted butter or gravy (depending on the shop). Most shops, but not all, blend this pork broth with a small amount of chicken and vegetable stock and/or soy sauce. 


  • Miso ramen is a relative newcomer, having reached national prominence around 1965. This uniquely Japanese ramen, which was developed in Hokkaido, features a broth that combines copious amounts of miso and is blended with oily chicken or fish broth – and sometimes with tonkotsu or lard – to create a thick, nutty, slightly sweet and very hearty soup. Miso ramen broth tends to have a robust, tangy flavor, so it stands up to a variety of flavorful toppings: spicy bean paste or tobanjan, butter and corn, leeks, onions, bean sprouts, ground pork, cabbage, sesame seeds, white pepper, and chopped garlic are common. The noodles are typically thick, curly, and slightly chewy. 



  • Shōyu (“soy sauce”) ramen typically has a clear brown broth, based on a chicken and vegetable (or sometimes fish or beef) stock with plenty of soy sauce added resulting in a soup that is tangy, salty, and savory yet still fairly light on the palate. Shōyu ramen usually has curly noodles rather than straight ones, but this is not always the case. It is often adorned with marinated bamboo shoots or menma, green onions, kamaboko (fish cakes), nori (seaweed), boiled eggs, bean sprouts and/or black pepper; occasionally the soup will also contain chili oil or Chinese spices, and some shops serve sliced beef instead of the usual Char Siu.



  • ShōyuRamen

     ShōyuRamen P50
    Mark was supposed to order Shio Ramen, but unfortunately, they ran out of it… so he decided to get ShōyuRamen instead. I was thinking of getting Miso, but a little card board sign caught my attention that they are also serving Tan Tan Men.
    Tan Tan Men Ramen P80
    Looks can be deceiving in terms of spice

    Tan Tan Men, Japanese version of dan-dan noodles, a Sichuan specialty. This is ramen in reddish, spicy chilli and sesame soup, usually with minced pork, garnished with scallion and chili and sometimes topped with Bok Choi.
     As we digged in, we started with the ShōyuRamen, as we expected a lighter flavor compared to Tan Tan Men with the reddish broth. The ShōyuRamen was surprisingly light and good! Our boo-boo, we forgot to mix the ramen before eating, the saltiness had sit at the bottom of the bowl, but nevertheless, it was good!
     For the Tan Tan Men, I was a bit disappointed. It’s not bad, but I was expecting the kick from the chilies, but the sesame paste over powered the kick I was looking for. Another boo-boo for us, we should have requested the server to make it hot and spicy for additional P10 as some their customers preferred it to be mild.
    Overall, I enjoyed the ramen trip we had. It might not be the typical ramen served around the metro, but a hole-in-the-wall ramen stand in Adriatico, Malate was a suprise. Serving cheap ramen ranging from 60 to 90, and its not bad. 
    As we paid our damage… a total amount of 180 for 2 bowls of ramen and 4 slices of Char Siu pork. An old Japanese man speaking in broken Tagalog came up to us to ask how our food was. It turned out that the man was the owner of the ramen stand. 
    Tajima, ramen stand owner
    Me and Tajima
    Funny thing is, the server’s were wearing a shirt that says Errah’s Ramen. We were thinking, who was Errah? his wife?Tajima was nice enough to pose with me as he was shy to have his picture taken alone… (really?)
    Anyway, we weren’t able to drink because of the liquor ban, but we definitely enjoyed our ramen bowls. It would be best to visit this ramen stand when you get drunk in Malate… 

    Errah’s Ramen
    Adriatico, Malate
    … reminded me of the pares stand we frequent when we’re all drunk in Pasong Tamo, Makati. 
    Til next time! 





  1. Joseph
    May 16, 2013

    Given that I am literally sweating wasabi where I am at the moment, I will check this out when I get home.

    Have you tried Som's Noodle House, an authentic Thai place in Rockwell?


  2. rache
    May 16, 2013

    Ahahahaha! No, I haven't tried Som's Noodle House. I have heard a lot about that place. I will visit the place and post how I find their food. ^_^


  3. Joseph
    May 21, 2013

    I must add-



  4. rache
    May 22, 2013



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This entry was posted on May 14, 2013 by in food, food trips, malate, Manila and tagged , , , , , , , , .
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