Thursday, November 26, 2015

Kendama and Ramen at Go-En The Japanese Ramen Shoppe

A game to test your hand-eye coordination, and a comforting bowl of ramen as a reward. Good Go-En The Japanese Ramen Shoppe.  

Inspired by the Japanese coin called "goen" which loosely translates to "luck," Go-En The Japanese Ramen Shoppe shares their own brand of positive vibes through the rich flavors of their Japanese dishes, including their signature ramen. And a game called Kendama...

Go-En The Japanese Ramen Shoppe's  John Geron (L) brings the richness of Japanese culture, in both traditional games and flavors, to local diners for a unique dining experience. At Go-En, one can find a wide variety of the Japanese ball and cup game, the Kendama (R), along with other distinctly Japanese items in popular culture.

After going a few rounds with the Kendama, and with a few helpful tips from John Geron, I finally get to land the ball on a cup. It's just one of the many elements that thread your experience at Go-En, capped by their own take on real Japanese flavors. The semi-open kitchen at Go-En then fired up to prepare their signature dishes...

After a few more rounds with the Kendama, I began my dining experience at Go-En The Japanese Ramen Shoppe with their Gyoza (P 250 for five pcs), traditional pan-fried dumplings filled with savory and juicy ground pork and vegetables. Soft and chewy on one side with just a layer of light crispness on the other, each bite releases the juicy and savory notes of the ground pork and vegetables. Having lived in Japan for almost twenty years, John assures the flavors are just the way it should be, never tweaked or adapted to fit the local taste preferences.

Nothing like Kara-Age (P 250) fresh from the fryer, Japanese-style fried chicken with crisp and juicy chicken thighs battered in garlic with a special and creamy sauce on the side. The Kara-age is perfectly executed, tender and juicy with a crisp outer layer for contrasting textures. The subtle hint of garlic from the batter comes through, capped by the smooth and creamy notes of the sauce.

More dishes were served, including the Okonomiyaki (P 350), an Osaka-style pancake with chopped cabbage, egg, squid, sakura ebi topped with pork, katsuboshi, and aonori, drizzled with special sauce. The medley of rich flavors bursts with every bite, and it's another good dish to complement your feast at Go-En.

John then shared one of their newest dishes, his take on the Omu Rice, with soft and fluffy rice wrapped in egg topped with pork and sweet corn draped in a sweet and tart sauce. A meal in itself, this one is guaranteed to satisfy the heartiest appetites.

Then, the first of four ramen bowls were served, starting with the playfully inventive Tomato Ramen. The richly flavored broth is tart, with vibrant colors to match the equally vibrant and sunny notes of the broth. It's not sweet as I imagined it to be, in fact, the mildly sour tartness makes this one different.

Each sip delivers the bold notes of the tomatoes, perking up the palate with its clean flavors. The soft and chewy noodles absorb the flavors of the broth, blending seamlessly with the other ingredients.

If you're looking for some soothing heat, Go-En's Tantanmen (P 380) should do the trick, with its spicy sesame broth flavored with chili oil and topped with hosomen, ajitsuke tamago, savory ground pork, naganegi, and chingensai. The mild spicy notes linger long after the first sip, making this one a refreshing bowl of ramen with bold flavors.

How about some cheese in your ramen? Go-En's Cheese Ramen (P 350) is a zesty take on the traditional ramen with a tasty miso-based broth with moyashi, ajitsuke tamago, minced pork, sweet corn and a hefty mound of cheese. I enjoyed the combination of cheese and sweet corn, adding its own unique layers of flavor to the ramen.

The Tokyo-style Kogashu Ramen (P 380) is an intensely flavored ramen with a deep and smoky flavored shoyu broth spiced up with whole black peppercorn and topped with hosomen, ajitsuki tamago, menma, thin kakuni, shiraganegi and naruto. This one's a personal favorite. John suggested mixing up the bowl first before taking a sip and a bite for balanced flavors. There's whole black peppercorns in this bowl for pure flavors.

For dessert, take in more of the good vibes with Go-En's Mochi Ice Cream (P 80), a delicate hand-made mochi stuffed with ice cream filling.

Real flavors, positive vibes, and great service. And you can find all these at Go-En The Japanese Ramen Shoppe. And if you find John doing his Kendama tricks, pick one up and join the fun.

Go-en The Japanese Ramen Shoppe Plus is located at Jardin de Zenaida, Unit B1, #34 Sgt. Esguerra Avenue, Brgy. South Triangle, Quezon City or call 441-4636 or 376-5761 for more information. You can also visit their website at For more on Kendama, visit

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