Before Ippudo and Ramen Nagi came along, diners already patiently lined up in Glorietta to grab a coveted table inside the quaint and cramped Hokkaido Ramen Santouka (hereafter, Santouka). Now set to open its 5th Philippine branch in Eastwood Mall, the franchise proves that it’s a formidable player in the highly competitive ramen industry.
Kurobuta Gyoza
A staple appetizer in ramen restaurants would be the Gyoza. Santouka provides an option for Chicken or Pork Kurobata (P240) as fillings for these Japanese potstickers. I consistently opt for the Pork Kurobata since the flavor of the meat is more prominent than that of the chicken variety. Despite the filling being tasty and delicious, it’s the wrapper which always wins me over. It has the right texture (slightly chewy), right thickness (won’t break that easily in between bites), and right crunch; all consistently done in all my visits to Santouka.
Normal Aburi Tokusen Toroniku
If you’re feeling a bit indulgent, order the Normal Aburi Tokusen Toroniku (P270). Beautiful thin slices of perfectly roasted pork cheeks served atop a special grill await you. Taking a bite from these slithers of tender and delicious pork cheeks will make you realize why the restaurant goes through the trouble of plating this appetizer in this manner. It’s truly a delectably divine experience.
Tori Karaage
The Tori Karaage (P220) was just alright for me; the meat of the deep-fried chicken pieces was tasty and moist; but Ramen Nagi’s Karaage is starkly superior. Aside from the typical Japanese mayonnaise dip, sweet chili sauce is also served on the side.
Kara Miso Ramen and Grilled Salmon and Salmon Roe Rice Bowl
Santouka provides a wide selection of set-meals for diners who yearn to have the best of both worlds: ramen, and or rice bowls/furai dishes. The best part about their set-meals is that they allow you to further customize it according to your preferred soup base (Shio, Shoyu, Miso, Kara-Miso); and size of ramen bowl (Small, Regular, Large). A small-sized ramen set meal (+appetizer shared by 2-3 persons) is enough to fill up a heavy appetite!

My staple order would be the (Small) Kara-Miso Ramen + Grilled Salmon and Salmon Roe Rice Bowl set (P420). The Kara-Miso is the spicier version of the restaurant’s Miso soup base, and the most flavorful among the soup bases Santouka offers. Although you would have to pay P20 more for this option, I assure you, each peso goes a long way.

Each set comes with a side salad, pickled vegetables, and hot tea. However, back in the restaurant’s first year, a cup of steamy Chawanmushi also came along with the set. I appreciated how they filled this beancurd dish with tasty shrimp, chicken, and mushroom chunks which made eating it tremendously enjoyable. Back then, even I couldn’t finish a small-sized order!
Hiyashi Chuka with Tokkusen Toroniku
Another thing I love about Santouka is that it offers a variety of other kinds of noodle dishes such as the Hiyashi Chuka (P350); its take on the cold soba noodle. Still served with tender slices of tasty pork cheeks; this lighter and healthier alternative doesn’t skimp on taste. The color and the freshness of the ingredients definitely made this dish a delight to eat.
Shin Aji Ramen
The Shin Aji Ramen (P320) is a tsukemen-inspired dish which comes with firm noodles, and an indulgent steamy hot dipping sauce. The soup was really oily (so it’s not really recommended for slurping); but really tasty. The set only came with one thin slice of chashu; but fret not because tasty ground meat can be found in the sauce. This dish was delicious, but too rich for my liking. I guess trying it out once is enough for me already.
Hokkaido Tsukemen (Miso)
Similar to the Shin Aji Ramen, the Hokkaido Miso Tsukemen (P360) also boasted of a thick tasty broth; fortunately, with less of the oil content. The oil was replaced by freshly sliced carrots and lettuce, lending a pleasant crunch to every bite of the Tsukemen. The noodles remained wonderfully firm, although they started sticking together after a while. Instead of pork chashu, and tasty ground meat, the Miso Tsukemen opts for the subtle and smooth taste of grilled salmon. I thought that the rich broth would overpower and ultimately, ruin the flavor of the salmon; surprisingly (and fortunately), both flavors were distinct in the dish.
Red Bean Mochi and Cheesecake Mix
Dessert selections of Santouka are handled by Mochi Cream Café, famed for its frozen mochi balls, green tea desserts and drinks, and coffee variants.

Out of its mochi variants, we opted for the Red Bean Mochi (P75). The thick bland layer and the faint taste of the filling made the mochi disappointing. Mochiko and Dezato would be better places to get your mocha craving fix from.

We were a bit disappointed with the size of the Cheesecake Mix (Caramel and Brulee Cheesecake) (P80); but these were surprisingly really delicious. The cheesecake base was smooth, and small as these were, they didn’t skimp on the cream cheese. Attention was given to make sure that the top layer had just the right amount of sweetness so as to not overpower the dessert.

I just hope that as the franchise continues to expands, it would continue to maintain the quality that I’ve always associated with it. Unlike other ramen restaurants, you won’t feel rushed to devour your steaming bowl of noodles. Its ambiance evokes a slower and more laidback ambiance more conducive for long conversations. At the end of it all, it consistently delivers on flavor, variety, and value for money. That’s why I can’t help but keep coming back for more dishes from Santouka.
(The above review is the personal opinion of a user which does not represent OpenRice's point of view.)
Date of Visit
Dining Method
Dine In
Recommended Dishes
Kara-Miso Ramen, Grilled Salmon and Salmon Roe Rice Bowl
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