If you're tired of the overpowering flavours from places such as Ramen Nagi, Ramen Ichiban-kan is a welcome respite.
The shop is located at a very unassuming building along Mabini Street at the heart of Manila. (If you're driving it's best to use Waze to locate the place.)
When we arrived, they offered us cold towels to wipe our hands with. Very nice on a hot sunny day (although not one for someone who gets easily cold like me).
For starters, we had their gyoza and found it to be the perfect combination: a bit of crispy brown dumpling skin on the outside, and moist and juicy on the inside.
We dipped it in some spicy sesame seed oil and that added a lot to its flavour and made for a very sumptuous appetizer.
They gave us service tea. They made us choose between the hot or cold versions and we picked the cold one - it tastes like your standard Japanese service tea but it was very refreshing indeed.
We had the Ichiban-kan ramen and it tastes like a milder version of the ramen we're so used to in Metro Manila. It comes with thin noodles, a pork slice, some bamboo shoots, fish cake, and of course, seaweed.
We also tried the Seafood Ramen which is much tastier and filling. It comes with a lot of seafood bits, vegetables, and extraordinary chewy noodles - the type you usually find in Japan. That's really the highlight of the meal as it's quite rare to find authentic chewy Japanese noodles here in Manila.
All in all, it was a good meal. We weren't able to try everything on the menu and is just another reason to come back. (Their tempura and set meals seem really delicious.) They gave us a coupon for some free gyoza on our next visit and who can say no to that.
Address: 2101 A. Mabini Street
Phone number: +63 2 524 4779