When we hear the pitter-patter of raindrops, accompanied by the throng of dark clouds and cool wind, our first impulse is to think of something warm and cozy. It can come in the form of a thick blanket, a steaming cup of coffee or hot chocolate, or a glorious bowl of soup. But of course, being stuck in the office crosses out the blanket idea already, so why not jump into the next best thing—soup!
If you’re headed out for lunch, or if you’re thinking of rewarding yourself after a long day at work, a warm bowl of soup is the perfect companion to this chilly weather. The great thing about this simple staple is the variations that come with it for every cuisine. So whether it’s Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, or Filipino that you are craving for, there’s always a soup that will satisfy your palate.
The ramen trend has entered the Philippines (finally!), with a number of restaurants mushrooming all around the Metro.There’s almost one place worth eating at in every area. Some of the popular ones up north are Nomama Artisinal Ramen in Quezon City, Ramen Cool in Kapitolyo, and Ramen Bar in Eastwood. But the cream of the crop lies more in the middle and Southern sides, namely Ukkokei Ramen Ron in San Lorenzo Village and Kenji-Tei, which has branches in Greenbelt and BF Homes in Parañaque.
Ukkokei Ramen Ron, San Lorenzo Village, Makati
Ukkokei Ramen Ron is one of the up-and-coming ramen restaurants in the country. Aside from the extremely filling ramen bowls that are rich in flavor, it also serves other Japanese delights such as soft-boiled eggs (a must-try!). Ukkokei is home to a wide array of Japanese ramen choices that are all very delicious and satisfying, but its specialty ramen is actually a secret.
Ukkokei is known to the select few for their Tantanmen Ramen, which you won’t find on the menu. It only serves 10 bowls of this ramen at 6PM, making it a sought-after gem. What makes this Tantanmen Ramen special is the soup. The broth is jam-packed with meaty flavor since pork bones are soaked for a very long time in order to get the most out of them. This is an elusive but delightful experience for ramen lovers everywhere!
Kenji-Tei, Greenbelt 5, Makati & BF Homes, Parañaque
Hidden in the outskirts of the South is this hole-in-a-wall ramen house that has already garnered a number of loyalists. We’re lucky that it finally opened a branch in Makati, making it more accessible. Kenji-Tei is known for its Miso-based ramen bowls, as they are seasoned heavily and filled to the brim with authentic Japanese flavor. They are also pretty generous with the toppings that go in their ramen bowls. The Cream Cheese Gyoza is also definitely worth a trying.
Despite the variety of ramen bowls you can find in Kenji-Tei, they are known for their simpler dish called the Miso Butter Ramen Bowl. You’ll be surprised to know that sweet and silky butter complements the savory miso ramen soup! This is definitely one of their bestsellers, and it is no surprise why.
Chinese Mami and Congee
After tackling the glorious entrees from the Land of the Rising Sun, let’s jump to the well-loved Chinese cuisine here in the Philippines. The rainy season demands bowls of mami and congee (also referred to as lugaw), and here are some of the best places to find them. A disclaimer though: since most of the authentic Chinese restaurants are found all the way in Binondo or up North in the Banawe area, a little bit of travelling is required, but trust us when we say it’s worth the trip.
Ling Nam, Sta. Cruz, Manila
Ask any Chinese friend and the chances are high that she’ll tell you to head over to Ling Nam for the best noodles in town. The secret to their mami is that the noodles are freshly hand-pulled everyday, giving it that delicious bite, just like al dente pasta. A must-try in Ling Nam is their Beef Brisket Noodle Soup that will make you crave for a second helping. The beef is broiled to perfection in different Chinese spices. A bowl of their mami is perfect to have when the rain starts pouring. Also try their jumbo siomai; it’s possibly the best you’ll ever eat.
Masuki, Binondo, Manila
Masuki boasts of having the number 1 mami, and it probably has the right to brag. In fact, Masuki is the oldest noodle parlor in Binondo, and has hundreds of people flocking to the tiny restaurant every week just for a taste of their famous Chicken Mami. At a glance, the mami seems to have soup that’s too clear and chicken slices that are too white, but don’t let its appearance fool you- this soup is packed with so much meaty flavor, and the chicken meat is tender and seasoned just right. Add a bit of their special sauce and you’re sure to be blown away.
North Park, Banawe, Quezon City
North Park is probably the best place to get your easy Chinese fix, but what makes its particular branch in Banawe stand out is its congee. If you’ve been to Hong Kong or China, you would have noticed that their plain congees are good to eat on their own! There’s something special about the North Park congee that makes you feel like you’re being transported to a foreign land. It’s probably the aroma or the broth in which they cook the rice, but whatever reason it may be, this congee is the ultimate Chinese comfort food to have on a rainy day.
Korean Ramyun and Jjampong
Korea is known for their spicy food, so if you’re looking into something that adds more heat in this cold weather, then it is suggested that you opt for Korean Ramyun or Jjampong. Korean Ramyun is basically their version of Ramen, but with a spicier kick!
Korea Garden, Jupiter Street, Makati
Korea Garden is known to be a bit pricy but worth every centavo. It has been frequented by a lot of well-known personalities, even PNoy himself! Korea Garden serves stellar Korean dishes that are sure to keep you coming back for more. The hearty servings are sure to fill you up and keep you warm during this rainy season.
Ye Dang Korean Restaurant, Ortigas
Koreans are known for their hospitality and you’re sure to find it here in Ye Dang. Aside from their scrumptious meals and homey ambiance, Ye Dang is known for its Jjampong and Korean Beef Stew, both of which are both so delicious that you’ll forget you’re in the Philippines.
Pho is one of the cleanest and yet, most diverse noodle soups you will ever taste. The freshness of the ingredients is crucial to making this dish stellar. The Pho bandwagon hasn’t really picked up yet in the Philippines, but it is a definite hit for the flavor-lovers and health-conscious alike.
Pho Hoa, around Metro Manila
Despite the handful of Vietnamese restaurants that have come to stay in Metro Manila, Pho Hoa still probably reigns as the best in this selection. The meat used is consistently lean and tender, and the vegetables are oozing with freshness. The restaurant also offers spicy variations if you’re craving for a hotter soup! Pho Hoa is usually seen jam-packed, especially during the rainy weather. But it is also ideal for delivery since they separate the soup from the noodles, allowing you to assemble them on your own as you wish. For a healthier alternative, choose Vietnamese.
Filipino Sinigang, Kansi, and Bulalo
And of course, who can ever forget the dishes we have from home! Our local dishes are also great enough to warm up any cold day. How about a bowl of Sinigang or Bulalo…or some Kansi, perhaps? If you’re one who’s craving for some grub from your grassroots, here are a couple of options for you.
Abe, Serendra, Fort Bonifacio
Abe is growing to be a household name when it comes to fine Filipino cuisine. Aside from their famed Lamb Adobo, Abe is also known for their takes on Sinigang and Bulalo. Their Sinigang can be made either from Tamarind or Bayabas, depending on your tastes. The Bulalo is indeed the perfect accompaniment to the rainy weather as the beef shank is cooked until extremely tender and added to the marrow-filled soup with vegetables. Who can go wrong with this?
Sentro 1771, Greenbelt, Makati
Known for their Corned Beef Sinigang, this is perfect for people looking for a cross between Bulalo and Sinigang! An interesting combination, this dish never fails to warm the hearts of Filipino foodies everywhere.
Pat-Pat’s Kansi House, San Antonio Village, Makati
Curious about Kansi? Well, it’s the Iloilo version of Bulalo—sans the veggies and the corn! A different variation of this Bulalo has caught the eyes of the workforce in Makati, especially during this rainy day! You can also have the option of having the marrow served on the side for a truly cholesterol-laden feast. The dishes are priced relatively cheap compared to the others, but you’re in for an explosion of flavor in every bite.