Location: G/F Jardin de Zenaida, Unit B1, 34 Sgt. Esguerra Avenue, Quezon City
Opening Hours: Lunch: 12pm – 5am; Dinner: 5pm – 12am
Official website: go-en Ramen
Google Plus: go-en Ramen
Youtube: go-en Ramen
After dreaming about eating a ridiculous bowl of Black King ramen infused with pen ink from Ramen Nagi, I was hesitant to eat ramen again as the thought of eating ramen with bad taste was stuck in my brain for a month. Yes, even nowadays, my love for ramen emanates in my subconscious brain. I even dreamt about eating unlimited Tsukemen once.
For quite some time, go-en Ramen has been sitting on my list. But as I was too excited to bring you more ramen experiences, I decided to brave my evil Pen Ink Ramen thoughts and eat at go-en Ramen. And I must say, go-en Ramen could very well be fighting for the top spot in my guide of ramen joints.
The name go-en doesn’t ring a bell compared to Ramen Nagi, Butao Ramen, Ikkoryu Fukuoka, Tampopo or Hanamaruken. It’s anonymity spurs curiosity among us. Who is go-en Ramen to brave the ramen scene as more and more ramen joints are flocking the metro?
There are different schools of thought when it comes to creating foreign food restaurants. One school keeps the original names of the dishes but changes the flavor and content to the local palates. Another takes the basics of the original cuisine and blends them into one or more other food styles for what is often known as “fusion”.
In Japan, the five yen coin is called “goen”. This coin is usually put in a cash register to bring good luck to a business or shoppe. Phonetically, it is also means good luck in relationships and is often exchanged between friends. go-en looks forward to bringing closer ties through their cuisine and experience.
The place is a certified hole in a wall.
It’s ambience exudes that of a dojo in Japan, with different trinkets representing Japanese culture such as paper fans, manga, and even Kendama. I wasn’t expecting go-en Ramen’s brick and mortar to look like this.
I could well put it as the most traditionalist ramen joint. It’s quite similar to my Butao Ramen experience too, where you can eat at the counter. Versus Hanamaruken Ramen and Ikkoryu Fukuoka Ramen, which is minimalist, modern and zen, go-en Ramen’s ambience plays an important part in contributing to the consumer’s experience. I felt like I was teleported to Japan in no time.
But does go-en Ramen’s cuisine match its traditionalist atmosphere?
Appetizer: Japanese Pickles and some Cold Japanese Tea
We were given some Japanese pickles as an appetizer and some cold tea while we wait for our ramen to be served. It’s sour with a hint of saltiness at the same time.
go-en Ramen’s signature ramen is light in miso broth, topped with cabbage, squid, hosomen, carrots, negi, naganegi, and moyashi.
Sitting on top of all these generous portions of ingredients is a giant prawn. I’d recommend this ramen for those who are on a diet but couldn’t resist the lure of ramen.
go-en Ramen’s Cheese Ramen is a serious contender to Ramen Nagi’s Green King (basil ramen topped with parmesan cheese).
As it was placed on the table, the grated cheese started melting in the luscious thick and hot miso-based broth. go-en’s Cheese Ramen is topped with moyashi, corn, and minced pork. Of course, Ajitsuke Tamago is served as well. go-en Ramen cooks it soft boiled (Hurray!) as it stays true to its pure cuisine.
You can also opt to have Ajitsuke Tamago on the side.
go-en’s Cheese Ramen will remind you of Mt. Fuji in the winter.
As I was a lover of spicy ramen, I opted for Karamiso Ramen. This is one of go-en’s bestsellers.
This creamy miso-based soup with a spicy kick reminds of Hokkaido as where it hails from. Nori, hosomen, menma, naganegi, hosonegi, benishogo, kikurage, naruto and chasu spells “whew” for me. I can’t remember the last time I had ramen with all these ingredients though it certainly made a checkmark in all of my must-haves in a bowl of ramen: corn, negi, and Ajitsuke Tamago. Aside from this, Ajitsuke Tamago is served along with Karamiso Ramen.
But in all honesty, this is, without bull, one of the best ramen I ever had here in Manila. Although, I am partial with their noodles.
I couldn’t quite determine if it’s egg noodles that is traditional in Hokkaido-based ramen. Anyway, if it is instant noodle, don’t argue that this is low quality as instant noodle is Japan’s first ramen.
Ramune Soda ラムネ
I am in the middle of enjoying my ramen when one of go-en Ramen’s staff brings us with Ramune Soda. I think this is also available in many Japanese convenient stores here in town. I truly appreciate go-en Ramen for serving Ramune Soda on the house, as it is seasonal as they say. It is also sold for P95 per bottle and comes with three flavors: apple, strawberry and peach.
Dessert: Vanilla Ice Cream
I was very full after eating my Karamiso Ramen. Then go-en Ramen serves this scoop of vanilla ice cream also on the house to quench our salty palate and thirst. It was one of the best customer service I experienced.
A Game of Kendama
After we ate, the staff even graciously taught us how to play Kendama. It was a fun game which I learned a lot though I wasn’t really trying to learn it because of enjoyment!
If you’re curious how to play the Kendama, here’s a video from go-en Ramen’s Youtube channel:
I like that go-en Ramen is simple and traditional like my taste which is purist and I could find myself going back to try out their bento box meals, Tonkatsu meals, Ramen Burger, and even the Karaage Kare Ramen.
There is no doubt, the entire customer experience was whole and cohesive. The dojo interiors, the hospitable service, the freebies, and the Japanese art elevated the quality of ramen in go-en Ramen Shoppe, and induced the idea of Japanese culture in the entire experience. It’s good that this ramen is actually established by a local and has trained their chefs in the arts of Japanese ramen to maintain authenticity. I applaud this really brave move in an attempt to compete with the other brands.
Does it top my list of ramen joints? My stomach says yes and I am certainly coming back to go-en Ramen.
go-en The Japanese Ramen Shoppe Rating
|Taste and Originality:||(3.0 / 5)|
|Customer Experience:||(3.5 / 5)|
|Value for Money:||(3.0 / 5)|
|Brick and Mortar:||(3.0 / 5)|
|Average:||(3.1 / 5)|