Today I tried out the ramen from the new shop that opened in Alabang Town Center. It’s called Hanamaruken, which I understand already opened up north previously, but it’s the first restaurant it opened down here. It’s still on soft launch as of this writing, so a lot of things weren’t available yet, but I got to try their signature Happiness Ramen.
How to describe it? After the gargantuan bowl was set in front of me — and it is HUGE. Like, the biggest ramen bowl I have ever seen — I could only stare blankly at the huge slab of pork I was now going to devour right after going back to my Paleo-style diet. Well, ramen is a bit of a cheat because of the noodles, but otherwise this bowl works pretty well for a Paleo-type meal (I often eat Yushoken soup without noodles for a Paleo-friendly meal).
So let’s get down to the tasting. This ramen has some nice al dente style noodles which are of good quality. They don’t sog easily and are quite firm and nice to chew. There’s a lot of green onions garnishing the broth, which is thick and tastes strongly of tonkotsu pork and soy sauce. It’s very close to a regular shoyu.
Sadly, the broth isn’t anywhere as good as Yushoken’s shoyu, and it lacks a lot of complexity and layering in its taste. It is more salty broth with some soy overtones. At least, though, the taste was pretty rich and thick, even if it wasn’t particularly heavenly and complex.
The real star of this “Happiness Ramen” though is the huge slab of pork dunked right into it. How do I say this? If you’re a huge fan of Lechon Paksiw, this is the ramen for you. It really tastes like lechon paksiw, so soft and tender and juicy, stuffed into that delicious broth. And there’s a whole LOT of it… already crowding into an already overflowingly huge bowl. The fats on the pork melted in my mouth, it was such goodness and the pork was easy to separate with your chopsticks, to be put into small pieces you could eat up in chunks. The only real downside was that it does take some extra effort to separate the pork into eatable pieces with your chopsticks, and I got some soup on my hands when I screwed up and violently smashed my sticks against the bowl. Overall, though, if you love your pork, you’ll love this bowl.
For 480 pesos, this was okay, especially considering the huge slice of pork you got, and what great pork it was. Still, I would’t eat here over my favorite Yushoken unless I wanted some variety, and my bill at Yushoken is also a 100php cheaper. For meat lovers though who want a huge serving of pork, this is the ramen to get.