After being in construction limbo for God knows how long, Hokkaido Ramen Santouka finally opened today at the Alabang Town Center! I had only eaten at Santouka once before, in Trinoma, and wasn’t all that happy with what I ate. But today with the chance to get an effective 50% off on my ramen bill, I had no choice but to stop by and eat!
Yes, that’s because on this grand opening, Santouka is giving out a free ramen for every one you purchase!
We got there early at around 10:30am, and the restau opened at 11:00am. To while away the time, they served us with some iced tea and some crackers.
The interior is very-well appointed, with lots of space and a big airy ceiling.
As the menu was limited, we went ahead and ordered some Shio and Kara Miso ramen, along with some Chicken Gyouza.
Let’s talk about the wonderful Chicken Gyouza.
This gyouza is pretty good. It’s not a traditional gyouza by any stretch — it’s not steamed on one side and pan fried on the other. Instead, it feels like it’s baked with a hard crust all around. The crust is still pretty good though. It’s crisp, not too floury and is just there to hold the thing together while giving it a great texture. Delicious. The chicken inside is moist and juicy, but not particularly flavorful. What gives it life is the cheese pepper sauce outside, which gives it a nice zing while simultaneously giving a savory taste overload. I love it. Without the sauce, it would be a poor snack, but altogether it was pretty great.
Then we have the Shio Ramen.
Didn’t really like this Shio that much. It’s not very salty, and not very tasty as the soup stock is quite smooth and delicate. But this is par for the course for Shio, and I really don’t like Shio as much in general, it seems. However, in Santouka’s defense they are pretty good. Not as good as Yushoken, in my opinion, but somehow I just loved the chashu, with its nice big globs of fast, soft and tender meat, and really great noodles. Soft, easy to eat, with a smooth consistency. Great noodles and chashu.
The Karamiso as always will be my go to, as I always love eating spicy ramen. The Kara Miso is suitably spicy, with a very tasty soup stock. I wasn’t a big fan of Santouka’s soup until I had this one. It’s very tasty, pretty similar to Yushoken’s Karai Tokusatsu ramen, but a little less salty and less thick. It has the same great fatty chashu, bamboo shavings, and some mushroom to round out the bowl. I loved it! But couldn’t finish it. I kind of grew weary of the soup after a while and I got full anyway.
It’s no Yushoken, but still a great bowl of ramen. Much better than the Ajisen Ramen that I had over the weekend. However, I would still rank it solidly behind Yushoken, Nagi and Mitsuyado. The night is young… you can still grab some free bowls of ramen if you hurry!