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Send Noods! Tongara Ramen Opens its Flagship Branch in Pasig

When it comes to ramen, authenticity—and sometimes, audacity—is key. Take your tastebuds all the way to Shinjuku without booking a flight out!

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Tongara Ramen is now open in Estancia Mall, Capitol Commons, Pasig

Broth. This is the first word that comes to mind when we think about what makes or breaks a serving of ramen. Of course, there are many elements to consider, but the broth has always been the body and soul of each bowl. All the great ramen masters have their own secrets, ranging from the traditional to the audacious, with some locking in a captive culinary audience by exploring the in between. One such figure is Makoto Okazaki, an architect by profession and a foodie at heart—he opened his restaurant simply because he loves ramen—who labored for over a decade learning the tricks and trades of the kitchen, and three more mastering the eponymous Tongara broth. 




The term and the idea of “Tongara” is derived from two pre-existing words: “Tonkotsu” (pork bone stock) and “Torigara” (chicken bone stock). This gives the broth a striking, well-balanced flavor profile that complements the textures of the fixins. To date, it is only Okazaki that makes the broth and the sauces with no preservatives or enhancers—enough to supply its sole branches in Tokyo and Tel Aviv, and two in the Philippines—which are then shipped out. “To make good quality ramen, it should be hand-made and you should be immersed in the moment of making the ramen. One must have the passion and be passionate about it. Strong and passionate feelings are involved in making a bowl of the best ramen. You should also check the customer's reaction when they eat the ramen. When you see them smile or happy about the ramen then you hit your goal. Put passion into making a bowl of ramen,” says the ramen master.

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Tongara Ramen

Curious ramen aficionados need not book a flight to Tokyo, nor do they need to make the trip to Cebu because Tongara Ramen’s flagship branch is now open at the Estancia Mall in Pasig. Managing partners Vinch Cuevas and Ricky Nicolas brought Tongara Ramen to Manila—from a now closed space in Marikina—after falling in love with it in Cebu. “I tried it for the first time in 2018,” Cuevas says. “To sum it all up, it was a eureka moment. It was a different kind of ramen, we liked it, and we felt it could compete with the current players in the market.”

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L-R: Tongara Ramen Managing Partners Ricky Nicolas nad Vinch Cuevas
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A spread of Tongara Ramen's bestselling food items

And it is more than capable of doing so. Aside from its famous signature ramen, Tongara also offers ebi-miso, seafood, shoyu, tsukemen, paco, and my personal favorite, tantanmen bowls. Each serving is an explosion of flavors and textures, and the famous broth—a true superstar—pulls everything together nicely. Pair your noodles with a side of chicken karaage, gyoza, or chahan, and you’ll be happily full until your next meal. And because this is the Philippines, Tongara serves donburi (Japanese rice bowls) as well. The selection includes tried-and-tested classics such as gyudon, katsudon, and oyakodon. In the mood for a post-ramen sweet treat? End your dining experience with some premium handcrafted ice cream from Kurimu. 


“Ramen is special because, to put into words, it is ‘difficult’,” Okazaki shares in a video interview. “The process itself is easy, however, the taste would always turn out different even if you use the same ingredients.” Even if it is made by the same master using the same recipe, it is always a different bowl and a different experience that awaits each eager diner. 


Visit Tongara Ramen at the 3/F of Estancia Mall, Pasig. For more information and updates, follow Tongara Ramen on Facebook and Instagram @tongara_ramenph


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