Tsukemen Style at Mitsuyado Sei-Men in Jupiter, Makati

It's 2013 and I'm going to make a very bold food forecast.

For the past years, we've seen a number of food items that have taken Manila by storm. It have made people crave about it, line up for hours for it and sales of these items zoomed up to the high heavens. Such food trends include the year when practically everyone in town were suddenly so in love with milk teas, this was actually such a hit that a number of coffee shops even tried to create their own versions too. Then there was a time that there was a surge of Mexican food stops opening here and there. Even J.Co donuts on its own got everyone craving for donuts once again. Visit one of their branches and you'll surely understand I'm talking about.

Since the 2nd half of 2012, I had a feeling that a new food craze is coming to Manila and for this one, I sure hope and pray it stays for a longer time.

Enter the Year of the Ramen.

mitsuyado seimen
Filipinos are not strangers to Japanese food. Next to Chinese and Filipino cuisines, my family and I have done a couple of rounds in trying a number of Japanese restaurants here in the country. From the really impressive, authentic ones to the quick service and truly affordably priced restaurants, we each have our own choice should the craving for katsudon, ramen or tempura comes about. Then there's UCC, my favorite Japanese coffee shop where I would frequent for a cup of UCC House Blend Coffee and Unagi Rice Casserole.

On the ramen front, while restaurants like Ukkokei Ramen Ron have been around for some time; it's only lately that a lot more joined the club. Given that, us, Filipinos are lucky to be able to be introduced to more kinds of ramen. Who would have thought that there's actually more than one! Back then, we're all used to the typical Hokkaido ramen that's best served with a thin slice of butter and some sweet corn. That combination makes the soup so rich, creamy and extra tasting. In my succeeding entries, I'll show you that there are other kinds of ramen available in the market and they're equally just as yummy!

mitsuyado seimen
Today, I'll talk about Mitsuyado Sei-Men, this is the sister restaurant of UCC thus you can also order a number of UCC's signature drinks here too. Hooray for me as I was able to have my UCC House Blend after one of my meals there.What makes Mitsuyado Sei-Men different is that they specializes in Tsukemen Ramen.

I've been here three times -- the first was upon an invite of a friend, the second was an impromptu lunch date with Mommy and Paul and the third was last Friday dinner with our dear friends Jean, Karl and Sophie. Mitsuyado Sei-Men opened just a few months ago yet word about this restaurant has spread like wildfire that we found ourselves on the wait list despite arriving pretty early for dinner time. Luckily, the turn-over's quite fast so expect to wait just about 10-15 minutes. I'm not sure if they do take reservations but if you're planning to go with a big group, I suggest you try to give them a call to check if this is possible.

Tsukemen means "dipping noodles". Unlike other ramen where you have your noodles incorporated into the soup, tsukemen serves the noodle separate from the soup and the toppings. It's a fun way of eating ramen as you can actually control how "wet" you want your noodles to be.

mitsuyado seimen
During my first visit, I shared a large order of Cheese Curry Tsukemen (Php 340 / Php. 380) with Jane. I was very excited to try this one as I've never encountered having a cheesy noodle/ramen before. Well the rule in eating Tsukemen is to dip some noodles into the soup before taking a bite. I love how the salty cheese a.k.a. cheez whiz-like sauce mixed very well with the slightly spicy curry. It was very good and in fact, it was the highlight of my first dinner then. It was a good thing also that Jane and I shared this dish as the thick curry and the rich cheese sauce can be very filling after having even a small serving. I realized that too late during my second visit when I had the regular order all to myself. Too heavy!

mitsuyado seimen
We also tried the Karashi Tsukemen (Php. 250 / Php. 290) as this was also highly recommended by the server. I just didn't know if I failed to hear her spicy warning but my poor tongue went on fire after taking a sip of the soup. Oh my! I drank so much cold tea right after to put out the flames.

mitsuyado seimen
To go with our ramen, we tried the Gyoza (Php. 180) which I think is one of the best in town. I love the thin, crisp yet not easily breakable wrapper which is quite hard to find here. The drama begins as you take a bite and a small amount of soup will flow out. Be ready to have a soup spoon to catch the soup and just like eating a Taiwanese Xiao Long Bao, dip this into the soy sauce-vinegar mixture before eating the entire piece in one go. This was very very good!

mitsuyado seimen
The Chicken Karaage (Php. 190) also makes a good starter or an accompaniment should you decide to have some drinks at Mitsuyado Sei-men. The chicken was sliced so thinly that it turned out to be so crunchy after deep frying it. It's the Japanese and chicken version of our  local crunchy pork belly!

mitsuyado seimen
Last Friday, I wanted to try something different so I asked the server for some recommendations. She told me about the Ika Sumi Ramen (Php. 450) which is only available for this month. Cooked in squid ink sauce, this ramen comes with squid and veggies.

mitsuyado seimen
We requested to have thin noodles with this one and immensely enjoyed our bowl of ramen. I heard that a restaurant in Hong Kong also serves black squid ink ramen and given that I liked this one very much, I'm more excited to try the Hong Kong version someday. This is a good reason to visit Mitsuyado Sei-Men this January!

I love the relaxed vibe of the restaurant and service was pretty good too. I'm glad that Mitsuyado Sei-Men is finally in Manila and I hope they'd open more branches soon.

Mitsuyado Sei-Men is located at 22 Jupiter street, Brgy Bel-Air, Makati City. Call them at 511-1390.

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