A recent invite to try out a hidden Japanese ramen place in Quezon City was truly hard to resist for someone like me. I absolutely love anything Japanese, and their food, of course, was not an exception.
Located inside the Jardin de Zenaida compound along Sgt. Esguerra in Quezon City, Go-en Ramen Shoppe is a quaint restaurant which serves awesome Japanese dishes in this side of the metro. Don’t go looking for sashimi here as this is not the place for it, but drop by when you’re looking for hearty, warming bowls of ramen. I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.
Once you step inside, you’ll feel like you’re somewhere far from Manila. Grab a seat at the counter or from one of the tables, peruse the menu and choose whatever sounds tempting to you. While you’re waiting to be served, I highly suggest you go through their manga collection or grab a kendama from one of the tables and see if you can catch the ball with ease. You can always ask for pointers from their friendly AND skilled staff, or better yet, speak with John when he’s there. You’re sure to have a good time learning about this underrated sport! I definitely did!
Go-en Ramen Shoppe offers an array of items, but if you like your stuff familiar, their Shoyu Ramen is a great option to go with. The juicy slices of pork and the soft boiled egg are sure winners!
Go for the Tantanmen if you’re looking for a bowl with a spicier kick. This bowl was one of my favorites during the meal.
A little bit different from what you’re probably used to, the Tsukemen Ramen is known as the dipping noodles dish. It’s like a deconstructed bowl of ramen, where each component is served separately. You’re provided with the broth and you can easily play chemist as you slowly build the proper flavors that you think best suits your palate. Once you’re ready, dip them noodles, pork and egg into the broth one at a time and enjoy!
Lucky for us, we get to try out the more extraordinary stuff on the menu too. A surprisingly delicious item was their Wonton Tomato Ramen. I personally wouldn’t have thought that combining tomatoes into a ramen broth would result to such a mild-flavored base! It doesn’t taste like eating a soupy bowl of regular spaghetti, guys. This one’s a winner in my books! I wish I could’ve eaten more; I’m coming back for this soon.
Another dish that you probably won’t see often in Manila is Go-en’s Cheese Ramen. This one is a miso-based ramen, topped with beansprouts, corn kernels, soft-boiled eggs, minced pork and a mountain of grated cheese. Just imagine all that cheese melting into a luscious, gooey mess into your soup. Yum! ♥
While you may choose to mix everything up before eating, John suggests you take each item with a little bit of the cheese before you dig completely in. It might help you appreciate the flavors more.
Go-en Ramen may not be known for it, but they are the first ones to bring the Ramen Burger into the Manila food scene. You get to choose whether you want it in shoyu or karamiso flavors too!
If you think Go-en is just a ramen place and nothing more, then you’re wrong, my friend. Enjoy your bowls of ramen with something else on the side because this place will not leave you with a broken heart. I suggest ordering some of their other dishes to ensure you have an even more satisfying meal. Their Kara Age are served hot and crisp, while the insides remain juicy and tender. I enjoyed putting just a dab of Japanese mayo on the chicken for that extra oomph.
Go-en Ramen’s Okonomiyaki is a bit different from the ones I’ve gotten so used to eating, but it doesn’t mean that I disliked it. Their version is said to be the one served in Osaka and comes with their own special sauce. Like other okonomiyakis around, this one is heavy and can easily take up much space in your stomach.
For me, tempura is always a welcome sight and Go-en Ramen’s Tempura Platter is perfect for sharing with your companions. It consists of pieces of shrimp, assorted vegetables and my favorite succulent chicken chunks and leeks, all battered and fried for your enjoyment.
Their take on the tonkatsu is bit leaner than the other pork cutlets I’ve tried before. This one’s served with mashed potato and a side salad.
Their cute bowl of fluffy, white rice will bring a smile to anyone’s face.
For dessert, I suggest you try the mochi ice cream which they make on their own. I’m not a big fan of mochi ice cream in general, but I really enjoyed the one from Go-en Ramen. This was mainly because unlike the other ones I’ve tried before, theirs had a skin which wasn’t overly thick and chewy. It made eating it a pleasurable experience.
Oh, before I forget, Go-en Ramen also offers this crazy Japanese drink called the Ramune. We were able to try the peach flavored one and I found the fizzy, sweet drink to be refreshing. It doesn’t look like it became a crowd-favorite though, but I’m personally looking forward to trying out the other flavors. I don’t shy away from “weird” stuff!
Each bottle is sealed with a marble inside and there’s an art to opening it without having most of the contents spray into the air. John told us that you have to cover the top part of the bottle and gently push down to release the marble. Let go only once you notice that the carbonation has died down. You may then pour the contents into a glass, making sure that the indents on the bottle are facing down. Now that you know your way around a ramune, you’re ready to order one on your own. 🙂
From enjoying a humble bowl of noodles to getting addicted to a centuries-old game, Go-en Ramen is the place to be when you want something comfortingly fresh. You’d be hard pressed to find a place where your your stomach is not the only one satisfied every time you visit. So if you’re looking for something different in your next ramen run, head to Go-En Ramen!
Facebook page: Go-En The Japanese Ramen Shoppe