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Ukokkei Ramen Ron, Soup with Spite-Makati

Ukokkei Ramen Ron
G/F Tesoro Bldg., 822 A. Arnaiz Ave.,
San Lorenzo Village, Makati City
856 4588
Fortunately the food is in better taste than the décor

If there is one thing I have learned in my nearly two decades in the restaurant industry is that hospitality is the number one priority. It’s even called the hospitality industry. Why then does a business like Ukokkei exist and even thrive? To call the service bad is an understatement. It’s contemptuous.

Look on Tripadvisor.com and you’ll see the two most consistent remarks about Ukokkei are great ramen, crappy service. The chef, as RichieZ from thepickiesteater.net so poignantly said “is a total prick.” I couldn’t agree more. They exert a lot more energy in enforcing the house rules than they do on providing quality service.

On one visit I practically needed a flare gun to get the servers attention. We didn’t have enough chopsticks or plates. Drinks were empty and no napkins were provided. But the moment you break one of their rules, this is when they finally notice you. I got barked at by one of their inept servers for putting my foot on the lower step of the elevated dining area to put my shoes back on. And don’t even think about taking any pictures!

No pictures, huh? Suck on it!

I understand that the Japanese take ramen very seriously and I have the utmost respect for their craft. But I’ve also met numerous chefs of Michelin-starred restaurants that were much humbler-spirited than this asshole.

I hate myself for going there. I hate myself further for going there a dozen or so times. But I have yet to find better ramen in Manila. I need ramen. So I keep going back like a desperate junkie only to be further violated.

The soup is really that good. I’ve heard many complain about the prices but I have no doubt that every ingredient in the broth is real and not cheaply produced. For a value comparison I tried the $68 soup at Guy Savoy in Las Vegas when I staged there. It was good, but no Ukokkei. The noodles are consistently great. They have a springy texture and I have yet to have them over or under cooked. The broth is awesome. It’s meaty and sticky, everything a good broth should be. I highly recommend the Shoyu Chasu ramen.

Shoyu Chasu

Then there’s the elusive Tan Tan Men. On my last visit I made sure to arrive at 6:00 so I could secure a bowl. With the restaurant almost empty the I had about six servers standing at attention awkwardly staring at me while I ate. Tan Tan Men is a spicy chicken and sesame based soup with ground pork. It has a layer of oil from the sesame that floats menacingly on top. It is incredibly delicious and spicy but will make you sweat mayonnaise through your pores. He only serves ten bowls per night, not because he can’t serve more, but because he’s a total prick.

Tan Tan Men

So please manila, give me a better bowl of ramen. Give me better ramen and I will drop you, oh Ramen Nazi, disloyalty redeemed with disloyalty. Until then I dutifully return to my pusher. I hate you Ukokkei!

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Comments

  1. Dwight says:

    This post gave me 5 LOLs all-in-all.

  2. Franz says:

    I too have yet to find better ramen in manila, and i believe i’ve tried almost all of them. The one thing Ukkokei has over all the rest is consistency in their quality. Kenji Tei has some decent ramen too, though their broth is inconsistent, great noodles though.

    • Jeremy says:

      Indeed, consistency and quality have won the day for Ukokkei. Please point me toward any you find better. Thanks or visiting!

  3. Lauren says:

    I’ve been to Ukkokei once and the chef must have been in a good mood because I didn’t experience the crappy service everyone has been complaining about. It did strike me as weird that I couldn’t take photos of my food but whatever, I did it anyway. :P

    The best bowl of ramen I’ve had in Manila was in this tiny restaurant at the back of Chotostop, a Japanese convenience store in Little Tokyo. It’s only about P120 for a bowl of shoyu ramen but the broth is so buttery and the noodles firm. I hear choirs of angels sing with every spoonful. Unfortunately the restaurant closed sometime this year, though part of me is just hoping it’s because they’re renovating or something. Chotostop itself is still open.

  4. haze says:

    I highly recommend RAMEN X…

    http://ramenx.ph/

    I especially like their Chikuwa Ramen, spicy and soy-based.

    =)

  5. Hello!

    First of all, ramen is not easy to prepare. Some say that it’s an universe of its own. Not something that could be prepared by a generic Japanese restaurant that serves all other dishes.

    In short, those ramen you may have tried in other most Japanese restaurants are INSTANT. And yes, they are good because they are authentic instant ramen imported from Japan.

    Like one mentioned, CHOTO STOP. Their ramen is without doubt, instant. The ramen served at UCC is obviously instant.

    But there are just a few that prepares REAL ramen which they prepare from scratch. Ukokkei Ramen Ron’s ramen is one of them. They even import the noodles from Japan. Thus the price.

    There are in fact good ramen houses that are not discovered yet by many local foodies, such as GENKI along Macapagal and TAMAGOYA in Antipolo. I always hate to reveal these names.

    By the way, UKOKKEI is a kind of chicken = black chicken. And it is not really the name of the restaurant. They specialize in ramen broth made from black chicken and that’s where it comes from. The name of the restaurant, really is RON.

    In Japan, where many mom and pop resto’s exist. There are many that runs with their own style. Some even slaps customers or shoo them just anytime they want. But it’s the food that the customers go back for. But then again, we Japanese understand too, that you can’t replicate that abroad, specially in the PH.

    According to reports, they were closed for not having the proper permits. But I doubt. And if the rumor is true, they may not open again.

    But remember, they have a branch in Mabini!

    Cheers!

    • Jeremy says:

      Welcome and thanks for the info and your viewpoint. I am a ramen lover, and I would never disparage the craft. However, for comparison, when I ate at Pierre Gagniare in Paris, which is a Michelin 3-Star restaurant, Chef Gagnaire very humbly visited our table and asked us if we were enjoying our meals. I would put him in the top 5 chefs in the world. When I worked in high end restaurants I would go out of my way to make people feel welcome and comfortable.

      But, he makes the best ramen and will always bring people back for that. Just not in Makati anymore…

  6. Kenji-tei tastes like that of Shinjuku which is run by a Filipino chef. Not to disgrace the Filipino chef, but it’s not something us Japanese would think of what good ramen is.

    I haven’t been to Ramen X but unlike its name, the menu doesn’t have that X factor.

    Usually for new Japanese restaurants, I could already tell from its name and/or menu. And I don’t believe this one is.

  7. ben says:

    Just read this and many other reviews/magazines, was really looking forward to going and checking out this hallowed ramen house. Can’t believe they are trying to close it down hopefully sense will prevail and it will reopen so that I can go and see what all the fuss is all about.
    If he is the kind of man that wakes up at 3am every morning to nurture that broth and look after it like a new born child, pouring sweat and blood into it, doing it not for money or recognition but just for that broth; then I am in and I will take his crap (not his staff’s) crap. =) Long live the SOUP/RAMEN NAZI.

  8. Karla says:

    ok I discovered your site just now when I googled ‘blind pig’ and boy I am glad I found this one. This blog entry is freaking hilarious. You just made me want to go to ukkokei right now…wait is it back in business?

  9. Matt says:

    I personally didn’t experience the crappy service. The staff were very accomodating and the serving was generous. There were tissues, tea and chopsticks. I just dont like the house rule, taking off your shoes, some customers may have smelly feet : P

    • Jeremy says:

      I must say that I have not had crappy service every time I’ve gone. Just about 60-70% of the time, hardly a sterling record though. On our last visit they forgot to place our order and then lied about it. We busted her turning in the ticket 15-20 minutes after we ordered. Our food didn’t arrive until 40 minutes after we ordered. Every table around us arrived after us but was served first.

  10. Dave Matthews says:

    Hello! Ukokkei is overrated. Ramen tastes average, and service is really lousy on both branches. At one time we asked if they can split a bowl to two, they unreasonably declined. :) Then after some debate, we gave up and just had gyoza and beer. You can get ramen somewhere else and not as pricey as Ukokkei, with professional and courteous service. Avoid this Resto.. NotUkokkei!

    • Jeremy says:

      I’m definitely with you on the service, but in my opinion it’s still the best ramen in town.

    • JV says:

      I’ve never had bad service in Malate. And I’d love to hear what ramen place you think serves better ramen?

      • Jeremy says:

        I’ve never been to the Malate location. I do think, however that Ukokkei is still the best. I could just do without the blatant rudeness.

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  1. [...] notice couldn’t be worded any more cryptically but it smells fishy to me. We had our issues, but this makes me sad. Anybody have some information on [...]

  2. [...] official! I just called and confirmed that Ukokkei is open again on Pasay Rd. in Makati despite rumors from the mayor’s office that they had no [...]

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