Friday, September 16, 2011

Raku: Comfort Noshes


I would describe Raku in two E's, enjoyment and ease!    If you look for the meaning or the translation of the Japanese word "raku" in the online translator, those are the words that you will find.   Not the stiff Japanese restaurant you wouldn't dare try with attendees ala Geisha dressed in fancy Kimono.   Sort of like a Japanese bistro specializing in traditional Hokkaido Ramen and Gyoza.    Ease is definitely for the place, you feel relaxed with the clean and modern Japanese look with splashes of apple green on the walls and chair cushions.  
Enjoyment rightfully describes every bite you make with whatever dish chosen.
I suspected an owner who cooked and marketed their way through past experiences without losing forever some of the nonchalant extravagance of an authentic Japanese meal.   Thus being dumbfounded as I listened on how Raku was established and these well loved dishes are offered to Filipino diners.
Most often than not, we Filipinos are confounded on whatever is tasty or which is tastier or more flavorful.  However, digging deeper into how such magnificent yet simply comforting a bowl of soup was masterfully prepared, would you think be more delectable.   A blessed afternoon, indeed it was, when Andrew Masigan, owner (with wife Sandee), gladly asked us about the food we were having, ultimately telling us then what would some of the dishes served to us comprise.   Giving away some secret ingredients to explain why it was that so savory.   
So let's hit the right notes then shall we...
Here are some of the ramens I've tried
Shoyu Ramen.   True Japanese soy sauce that's salty with tangy notes but light on the palate sets this ramen apart from other noodle soup.  Thus, the chicken broth used was enhanced with the shoyu.

Shio Ramen, Shio means salt, so better expect the soup to be a bit salty.   But I tell it's not so.  Japanese sea salt are used instead of local ones.  Pork bones are boiled for a long time to achieve the tonkotso taste.
Gyuniko Ramen.  The beefy, creamy type.  Being their best-seller, tops all other ramen, a top is a bunch of soft and savory beef strips, marinated and cooked in a different way making it stand out.   A secret dairy recipe was added to make it even richer and thicker , of course has nori and and veggies.
Lastly, the Miso Ramen.  Tobunjan, a spicy bean paste (red miso in other words), gave the tangy and robust flavor.  
All ramen (hand-pulled noodles) are imported from Japan to give diners the perfect noodle texture best for all the brothy dishes presented. 
Down with the Gyozas...
My plate.   Four of the varieties of the Gyozas they have.   From top left, Shrimp, Scallop Salmon and Chicken Kyo.
Shrimp Gyoza
Chicken Kyo Gyoza
Chicken Kyo Gyoza.   I love the dressing used her, Japanese Mayo and Teriyaki sauce, which I never taught would be a good combination, perfect I think for any Gyoza.  It was so hard choosing which is best amongst all the combinations they have and way too better than getting ordinary pork Gyozas at other Japanese restos.
Udons?  Yes do have that as well...
Hiyashi Chasu Salad, with a lovely dose of soy-vinaigrette dressing
Hamaguru Udon
More glorious items on the menu...
Ebi Tempura
Ebi Remon Udon
To deliver such truthful sense of good Japanese comfort food, one has to be a definite expert, one of course have to delight himself on such extravagance.  Another is being able to really have your hands on how it was traditionally prepared and where to get what ingredients which are essential to make such dishes authentic.    At Raku. Andrew Masigan was telling us about his immersion with the culture after college.   The humble lifestyle he had years ago at Japan taught him lessons he now posses as crucial in the thought process involved when he was putting up Raku.   I couldn't imagine a successful entrepreneur as he is now have accepted a dish-washing job at a local Ramen house in Hokkaido.  After having learned several skills in the kitchen for some time he was then trusted to work on preparing the noodles and having him exposed to what seemed to be a future passion in the making.

And hey, do not ever leave the place without having a refreshing glass of  Geen Apple and Nectar Juice.  And below would be a magnanimous blend of cheese and frozen strawberries.   The best dessert to end Japanese noshes, It's like a strawberry cheesecake frozen and shaken and poured into a cup, just look out, too much sipping may cause brain freeze.   Well I wouldn't blame anyone sipping too much, like I did, for it's incomparable too any ice blends or shakes in the market.
As Raku now stands with a Filipino's pride, the Masigan couple swash of how they import ingredients from of course Japan to the cookeries and utensils, setting apart marks of authenticity specifically in the preparation of such dishes in the menu.
So if your a bit tired of typical ramen in cup, why not feel the comfort of a true Japanese Ramen House in the midst of Valero business district.

Raku Hokkaido Ramen HouseSalcedo Village

Unit 101, Le Grand Condominium, 130 Valero St., Salcedo Vill.
Makati City, Metro Manila
(02) 553-6635


  1. it is so cold in here and those soupy noodles is just what i need!

  2. Those looks really good and seriously I am hungry. I want me some Ramen just like the ones you have. LOL! Hmmmmm... Perfect for this cold weather.

    Adin B

  3. my husband loves Ramen!I bet he will love this.

  4. Ha ha.. you made me hungry again...i like the way you posted the food photos..Thanks for the FTF visit.

  5. @Foodtripfriday, Adin B,Peachkins, Kat, tnx for dropping by! God bless you all!

  6. Oh!!! I love all the foods!!! I am learning baking ..but now I stopped to bake because I have no time anymore. I still need more time to learn to cook all the dishes you it sis..specially baking, i miss to bake again. thanks for the visit. God bless you and your family.

  7. i love japanese foods and these foods you've shared looks so delicious...must be great to taste it all, you're so lucky! thanks for sharing about the place, hope we can try it when we get back in makati, just near my parents house! visiting late from FTF, hope you can visit me back. thanks and have a great day! :)


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