Saturday, July 6, 2019

#TokyosNumber1Mazesoba: Prepare For A New Ramen Experience by Menya Kokoro Tokyo Mazesoba

Just when you thought the raging ramen revolution is over...

...a new entry barges into the local food scene with an all-new and exciting ramen experience. Literally translated as "mixed noodles," mazesoba is a type of dry or brothless noodles that's rich and unctuous with bold and vibrant flavors. Way past being just another trend, mazesoba is now part of Japan's culinary mainstream. Leading the charge for this new expression of ramen is Tokyo's number one mazesoba, Menya Kokoro Tokyo Mazesoba with its very first branch in the Philippines. Ready for a new ramen experience? Read on and find out why mazesoba is the next big thing in ramen...

A bowl of ramen without the broth? Seems inconceivable at first. But hold that thought for just a minute. If you've had the traditional tsukemen style dry noodles before, this one goes even further for a refreshingly different and new ramen experience. Using much thicker buckwheat and flour soba noodles as the base, mazesoba offers more bite than the usual ramen. And when you lay on a variety of toppings, your bowl of soba is transformed into a rich and flavorful bowl of comforting noodles.

Located at the 3rd floor of Uptown Mall in Bonifacio Global City, the unique ramen offerings at Menya Kokoro Tokyo Mazesoba are the first of its kind in Manila. And the growing number of converts and loyal fans to this new revolution in ramen drives the brand's continued expansion... 

...establishing a significant presence not only Japan but in Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia and Canada. And it's now here in Manila. Barely a year since he first opened Menya Kokoro Tokyo Mazesoba back in 2013, Chef Takuma Ishikawa's popular mazesoba chain has been recognized as Tokyo's Number 1 Mazesoba because of the uniqueness and richness of his ramen creations. It's the masterful layering of flavors by Chef Takuma Ishikawa that adds a flavorful punch to each bowl with the freshest ingredients. Enjoying a bowl of mazesoba also involves a special ritual, adding to your experience (more on the four essential steps below).

At Menya Kokoro Tokyo Mazesoba, it all starts with the soba noodles. The soba noodles are all made fresh in-house daily with multi-grain flour. Using the latest in Japanese technology to "soften" the water in producing batches of their signature soba noodles, each bowl delivers that soft yet chewy bite capped by its velvety smooth texture. 

Before you dive into your bowl of mazesoba, start with Menya Kokoro Tokyo Mazesoba's tasty sides or Ramen Appetizers to pair with their sumptuous bowls including the Takoyaki (140) topped with bonito flakes and spring onions drizzled with a dark and thick sauce. The Takoyaki delivers flavorful bites with a range of sharp and savory notes to complement your bowl of  mazesoba.

Menya Kokoro Tokyo Mazesoba also offers a variety of tempting dumplings like the Gyoza Original (P 120-3 pcs/P 190-5 pcs), Gyoza Cheese (P 140-3 pcs/P 210-5 pcs) and the special Gyoza Wagyu (P 350-2pcs). The dumplings have a perfectly seared bottom for a light crispness contrasting with the soft dough. 

And just how do you enjoy a bowl of mazesoba? Simple. Just mix your bowl of mazesoba draping the noodles with all the ingredients, add a few drops of Menya Kokoro Tokyo Mazesoba's Special Vinegar for just a hint of sharpness to temper the richness, slurp just the way you normally would with a traditional ramen for that burst of flavor, and finally, add rice once you reach the bottom of your bowl and mix to absorb all the concentrated flavors to cap your mazesoba experience. Mix, add special vinegar, slurp and rice. Four easy steps and you're on your way to mazesoba nirvana. Menya Kokoro Tokyo Mazesoba offers eight rich and savory variations of mazesoba, but the best way to get acquainted with Chef Takuma Ishikawa's unique ramen is with the original Tokyo Mazesoba (P 350)...

...the one that started it all and catapulted Menya Kokoro Tokyo Mazesoba to being recognized as the very best mazesoba in Japan. The colorful bowl topped with a delicately poached and runny egg on savory and mildly spicy minced pork is surrounded fresh chives and green onions, seaweed flakes, minced garlic and grinded saba fish.

Mix it all up and you'll be surprised with the bold and vibrant richness on your very first slurp. The rich and unctuous savory notes of the sauce are amplified by the spicy minced pork and egg, followed by the clean and refreshing hints of the chives, the nutty flavors of seaweed and garlic, and umami finish of the dried fish. It's this range of flavors that make Chef Takuma Ishikawa's mazesoba special. And you won't miss the broth at all. All of the mazesoba variants have a subtle heat that perfectly tempers the richness but you can have your bowl without the spice, just inform your server. Menya Kokoro Tokyo Mazesoba takes this richness to different levels with their other tasty variants... the Vegan Mazesoba (P 380), a refreshingly healthier meatless option without holding back on flavor. Loaded with garden fresh greens, tart tomatoes, sliced cucumbers, pickled vegetables, corn, savory minced tofu and a rich creamy sauce with hints of turmeric and mustard, it's not your usual soba. Admittedly, I wasn't all too excited with the vegan variant...until I got a taste from a friend's bowl. The tofu recreates the rich and savory notes of their signature minced pork, adding depth to a flavorful bowl without proteins. The special sauce mimics the egg with its creamy texture and a squeeze of lemon completes the flavors. The richness is all there, and it's just as intense as the other variants. It's definitely one of those unexpected and tasty surprises you'll find at Menya Kokoro Tokyo Mazesoba.  

Looking for a double dose of creamy richness? Menya Kokoro Tokyo Mazesoba's Cheese Mazesoba (P 430) does exactly that with a mound of mozzarella. Along with the poached egg, the mozzarella and egg drapes the noodles with an indulgent texture, complemented by the other ingredients for that unique and flavorful mazesoba that can only come from Menya Kokoro Tokyo Mazesoba.

Malvin Ang, the man behind Brotzeit (for more on Brotzeit, see my other post, Breadtime Sandwiches at Brotzeit with Helmut, Dirk, Angela, Hasselhoff, Beethoven, Von Trapp and Reuben) and the new Menya Kokoro Tokyo Mazesoba in Manila, has an interesting theory. The inherent richness and umami of mazesoba lingers long after that last bowl. But you'll be looking for it immediately a day or two after. Based on his personal experience when he first tried mazesoba in Japan, that was exactly the case. That theory is spot on. I'm now craving for a bowl after just one day, validating Malvin's theory. Other tasty variants include the Spicy Mazesoba (P 370), Curry Mazesoba (P 430), Currydon (P 320) and Mazedon (P 320). It's ramen with a new and refreshing spin.

Wash it all down with canned sodas (P 80) and ice-cold UCC Coffee (P 110), but there's just nothing quite like a cold bottle of Japanese Beer (P 150) to complete that Japanese vibe.

And there's more. The Zenbu Mazesoba (P 470) is Chef Takuma Ishikawa's ultimate mazesoba creation loaded with slow-braised chashu, savory and spicy minced pork, soft boiled egg, delicately poached egg, fresh chives, bamboo shoots, seaweed, minced garlic, grinded saba fish, green onions and seaweed flakes. That's everything on a bowl, and then some. 

The juicy and smoky notes of the tender pork packs a solid flavorful punch...

...pairing well with the different ingredients of the ramen. The noodles are evenly coated with the special sauce, all without the broth.

And as you reach the bottom of the bowl...

...add a portion of sticky Japanese rice (inclusive in your order along with a bowl of mushroom soup) to soak up all the flavors. Like all the good stuff, everything's right there at the bottom just like your childhood bowl of cereal.

One more drizzle of Menya Kokoro Tokyo Mazesoba's Special Vinegar balances the rich umami notes of your remaining mazesoba. You may have tried Japanese dry noodles before, but there's just nothing that compares with mazesoba. It's no surprise then that this inventive new ramen expression is now part of the popular culinary mainstream in Japan.

Looking back at the empty bowls, it's pretty clear how Chef Takumi Ishikawa sparked another ramen revolution with his unique creation. Rich and bold flavors without even using a single drop of broth can be just as sumptuous and satisfying as the traditional ramen. But it's the constant evolution of traditional dishes that makes Menya Kokoro Tokyo Mazesoba so exciting...

...reigniting your love for a bowl of comforting noodles in a totally new expression of ramen. With your palate still draped with the lingering richness of Menya Kokoro Tokyo Mazesoba's signature ramen, end your feast on a high note with their Kurugoma Ice Cream (P 90) and Matcha Ice Cream (P 90). 

Mix. Add. Slurp. Rice. Discover the new way of enjoying ramen. Save the date. Tokyo's number 1 Mazesoba, Menya Kokoro Tokyo Mazesoba, opens its doors to the ramen-crazy public this July 12, 2019 with its very first branch at Uptown Mall. 

Menya Kokoro Tokyo Mazesoba is located at the Veranda Area of the 3rd Floor, Uptown Mall, Bonifacio Global City. For more updates, visit their FB Page at

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