Verdict: Ramen in it’s truest form.
Price Range: P350 – P500 per person
Ukokkei, also known as the home of the Ramen Nazi, has been around since 2008. It was one of the first ramen restaurants to have popped up even before the ramen craze had hit Manila. When it first opened, rumor had it that there was a new ramen place in town that only served 10 bowls of ramen per day and was possibly the best ramen any one has ever had.
Here are a couple of rules one had to remember before dining in Ukokkei:
1. No take out (this was only when it was newly opened, now they allow take out)
2. No sharing
3. No loitering after eating
4. No picture taking (this is only if the Ramen Nazi is feeling extra feisty)
After the restaurant was mysteriously shut down in 2012, it reopened a month later, with an even longer line of people just waiting to get their hands on a bowl of ramen. Ukokkei single handedly spearheaded the ramen craze right into Manila!
Let me start off by saying that Ukokkei serves authentic Japanese Ramen. You won’t find cheese ramen, pesto ramen or ramen with spam and egg here. When dining here, be prepared to embrace ramen in it’s truest form.
I have been lucky enough to try a number of different ramen bowls from this place and the best advice I can give you is to only go here when you’re feeling extra patient and you want an extraordinary bowl of ramen. More often than not, you can end up feeling invisible to the servers in this restaurant. Some of them may be rude and make you feel like you need to hurry up while others can just straight up ignore you while you’re trying to get their attention. The Chef is also very specific about the behavior of his customers and is quite strict (and not very kid friendly), hence the nickname “Ramen Nazi” but I’m pretty sure that’s why the ramen here is top notch. Every bowl that is served is immensely flavorful and satisfying up until the last drop. The Ramen Nazi pays a lot of attention to the quality of ingredients and preparation, even going as far as preparing the broth 48 hours in advance.
The restaurant itself is quite small with 3 different seating areas – 1: Japanese tables that allow you to sit barefoot and feel as if you’re dining in Japan; 2: metal chairs by the counter giving you a view of their extensive line of Japanese beers and sake; and 3: regular wooden tables and chairs. Though there are 3 different seating areas, the restaurant can probably only accommodate around 30 diners at a time. Once inside, besides feeling like the luckiest person in the world to be able to dine in such an exclusive restaurant, you will notice that the restaurant’s interior is simply decorated follwoing a modern Japanese theme.
The star of the show is Ukokkei’s Tantanmen, which is strangely not on their menu but recommended by the chef. Please take note that this dish is only available in limited quantities (only about 20-25 bowls) after 6PM. Though this dish may be oily, it is every bit delicious. The broth is just the right amount of spicy, and creamy; the noodles cooked perfectly al dente but the looks of it were reminiscent of regular instant noodles. There weren’t many ingredients in this dish but every bite you will take will have a good amount of ground pork in it giving you that burst of flavor. Definitely the best tantanmen in town!
The Miso Butter Corn Ramen, everyone’s second choice when the tantanmen is not available, also does not disappoint. This is a miso soup based ramen. The presentation of this dish is a little better since it has two slices of pork, lots of corn, bean sprouts and a chunk of butter right on top of it all. The broth is a little less oily and the noodles cooked to be firm. Once you get a whiff of this dish, you will be 10x hungrier than when you first walked into the restaurant!
The Ukokkei Shio has a lighter flavor and is less oily however opting to add some butter does wonders for the flavor of the broth since this is a salt based ramen. Then again, adding butter to absolutely anything does wonders for the flavor. The butter makes it a little less salty and a little more creamy. This ramen bowl is served with 2 slices of pork, bean sprouts and a good amount of chopped spring onion giving the entire dish a very fresh flavor.
Side dishes like the Gyoza and Chicken Karaage are available as well but they are just okay, my suggestion is to stay focused on the Ramen and not waste your time with these dishes.
Ukokkei is definitely a personal favorite and though the service may be horrible, nothing beats a big bowl of steaming hot tantanmen from the Ramen Nazi!
Ukokkei Ramen Ron
Address: Tesoro Building, 822 A. Arnaiz Ave. (Pasay Road), San Lorenzo Village, Makati City
Telephone: (02) 856-4588
Address: Tuscany, Upper Mckinley Road, McKinley Hill, Taguig City
Telephone: +63 9394737105
Address: 2126 Apolinario Mabini St. (near Pres. Quirino Ave.), 1004 Manila,