Thursday, January 15, 2015

Kichitora of Tokyo: A Different Take on the Ramen Wars

The ramen wars, it seems, is far from over. At Kichitora of Tokyo, the order of battle in the local ramen wars takes on a different approach with their distinct and unique broth... 

A collaboration of two families, Kichitora of Tokyo brings the traditional yet contemporary flavors of cosmopolitan Tokyo with its Torigara broth as a key element to differentiate its ramen from the rest. The collaboration is captured in its name, with the two symbols translated as "lucky" and "tiger" to represent the two families. And the result of the collaboration is best experienced with a bowl of their signature ramen...

Located at the third floor of the new Bonifacio High Street Central Square (near the cinemas), Kichitora of Tokyo expands its growing network of branches to four locations in the metro serving its signature ramen with the distinct Torigara based broth, a rich Tokyo-style chicken stock. 

The use of chicken stock is a unique variation based on the Tokyo style ramen, adding its own unique flavor and richness. A homegrown brand, Kichitora of Tokyo brings together the signature recipes and flavors from three of Tokyo's popular ramen and soba chains, Kohmen, Kokai, and Daijin.  

Start with a refreshing salad, Ban Ban Ji (P 295), fresh greens topped with Kichitora's tender chicken chashu with a rich sesame dressing. The medley of fresh vegetables provide a rich palette of flavors and textures, with strips of tender chicken and crunchy fried gyoza wrappers adding its unique notes to the playful mix, all balanced by the nutty sesame dressing. The salad dish is an ideal way to perk up your tastebuds before the mains at Kichitora of Tokyo.

Don't forget to include an order of Gyoza (P 150), the classic pan-seared dumplings filled with meat, herbs and spices to your meal at Kichitora of Tokyo. The tasty little dumplings have a soft yet firm and chewy texture that contrasts with the crispness of the seared bottom for that classic gyoza feel. And the savory filling, with its mild and delicate notes, complete the flavors. You may want to order two of these just to be sure.

Why not include some fried chicken in the mix? Chicken Karaage (P250 Family Portion/P 150 Single Portion), Japanese style boneless fried chicken served with a creamy Japanese mayo dip. One bite through the crisp outer layer releases a burst of flavors from the tender chicken. The tender and juicy meat and crisp outer layer of skin provide contrasting layers that make you go for another piece. And another. You'll probably want to order two of these just to be sure as well.

Kichitora of Tokyo offers a wide variety of Japanese style noodles, including a selection of dry noodles. The Jajamen (P 360), Kichitora's inventive take on the popular Beijing dish, with tsukemen noodles topped with sweet minced pork sauce, onsen tamago, and spring onions is one such option. Mix it all up to evenly distribute the flavors of each ingredient, and dive right in. Gently pick up a healthy load of noodles with your chopsticks, and experience the range of flavors all in one dish. Initially, the subtle sweetness of the minced pork sauce dominates the palate, followed by the creamy onsen tamago and just a hint of sharpness from the fermented pickled bamboo shoots or menma and spring onions. Complex yet balanced flavors makes this dish an excellent introduction to Tsukemen style dry noodles.

But there's one dish that should be on your table, and Kichitora's signature ramen then arrived...

Paitan Ramen Zenbu no Se (P 420), a rich and creamy white torigara broth topped with tender pork chashu, dried seaweed, molten lava egg or ajitsuke tamago, drizzled with flavorful garlic oil or ma-yu. The flavors of the chicken stock are intense and concentrated, with a subtle buttery mouth feel that is almost similar yet very different from the familiar pork-based broth. The creamy broth feels much lighter, yet the flavors remain bold and upfront.

The soft thin noodles, made from the highest quality flour, are light and easy. Thinner and softer than the usual ramen noodles, but it still works just as well with the flavorful torigara broth. The tender pork chashu should satisfy your craving for that familiar pork element blending its own richness with the broth. You could also opt for the light chicken chashu instead of the pork. The menma, crisp nori, and fresh vegetables combine for that perfect bowl of ramen. I have to admit I had some serious doubts about the chicken stock, and if it could compare with the usual creamy pork bone broth. The flavors and creamy mouth feel are there, and if you didn't know it was made from chicken stock, this could easily pass as a hearty pork broth. But then, there is a lightness to the broth not in terms of flavor, but the feeling after you consume the bowl. And that seems like a good thing...and something I'd go back to in a heartbeat.    

If you're looking for a spicy kick, try Kichitora of Tokyo's fiery Tan Tan Mien (P 395), a rich and creamy broth made with sesame topped with minced pork, sesame seeds, vegetables, spring onions, and a blend of spicy oil and garlic oil. Another spicy option is Kichitora of Tokyo's Hokkaido Spicy Miso Ramen (P 395), with a spicy miso base.

Cap your meal with Kichitora of Tokyo's smooth and creamy Coconut Pudding with Matcha and Azuki (P 150)...

...or the rich and indulgent Almond Jelly (P 150), both excellent desserts to end your meal on a sweet note. And here's a sweeter deal, check out Groupon's limited offer on special discounts at Kichitora of Tokyo at their website here at

I have to say I was pleasantly surprised with the Tokyo style torigara chicken broth, with its bold and robust flavors and creamy mouth feel. It's what you feel after that makes Kichitora of Tokyo's signature ramen, the Paitan Ramen Zenbu no Se, different. And sometimes being different and unique is all it takes to succeed in the local ramen wars. Check out Kichitora of Tokyo and its line of Tokyo-stye ramen dishes, now open at Bonifacio High Street Central Square, and experience the difference.

Kichitora of Tokyo is located at the 3rd Floor, Bonifacio High Street Central Square, 5th Avenue corner 30th Street, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City, Metro Manila.

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