Go-To Restaurant: Ukokkei Ramen Ron
One of my favorite all-time guilty pleasure meals is traditional Japanese Ramen. But, I didn’t fall in love with Ramen until I moved to Los Angeles just a few years ago. LA had a much bigger Japanese culture than the previous city I had lived in, Houston. Houston seemed to have a much bigger Vietnamese influence versus Japanese, so I spent years diving into the Vietnamese savory noodle soup called Phở. But that is another story. I have always loved Japanese food, so it didn’t take long until I had discovered several tasty Ramen places in Los Angeles. It was very trendy in LA to eat Ramen, and some of the more popular joints would have lines for a block of people waiting for their bowls.
Well it wasn’t until I arrived in the Philippines that I really experienced Ramen perfection in my first bowl of Tantanmen from Ukkokei Ramen Ron. Just call it Ukokkei. It sits quite high on my list of go-to restaurants. My list of go-to restaurants are the few places I can always eat at that are consistently delicious. They are the kind of places easily recommended to a friend and serve as a fail-safe spot for those moments when you just can’t decide where or what to eat. I am not a food critic, I am only writing about Ukokkei because I love their Tantanmen. I won’t go into the history of the restaurant, the “ramen nazi” era, or even their other two locations. The San Lorenzo Ukokkei is king of Tantanmen in my book. I love Ramen of all types and there are certainly a lot of varieties of Ramen, but if I had to choose one bowl over all, Ukokkei Tantanmen is it. Not everyone agrees with me on this, and that’s ok. They are idiots. 🙂
The soup broth itself is oily, creamy, and spicy all at the same time. It’s a secret mix of chicken broth, pork broth, miso broth, and chili oil that never quite emulsifies into blended broth. The richness is crazy; crazy like it’s only served in limited quantities per day (60 bowls), after certain times of night (6 PM), and after cooking for days (2). Yea, it’s that level of crazy. It has thick, curly noodles and ground pork throughout and is topped with green onion. And that’s it. No frills, plain-as-day soup and that is why it is the best. Here are some pictures to do the rest of the talking. But heed my advise and if you crave Ramen, go to Ukokkei.