There’s not a lot of meals as hearty and satisfying as a bowl of ramen. But we recently discovered that even more comforting and flavorful than the pork ramens we’re used to, with its pork slices and pork broth, is a chicken ramen. And we’re glad to have Ramen Keisuke Tori King introduce it to us.
Ramen Keisuke Tori King is a non-assuming ramen joint at the back of Tower 1, Corporate Plaza in the corner of 9th Avenue and 26th Street in Taguig (if you’re on 9th Street and walking from Bonifacio High Street, it’s on your left just before you reach 26th). On the ground floor, it has two booths, a few square tables and a bar decorated with pink faux Sakura flowers on top. The walls, meanwhile, are a patchwork of various vintage-style Japanese posters.
But we forgot all these trimmings as soon as the bowl of ramen was placed in front of us, with the golden-skinned chicken thigh sitting proud at its center. We had the classic Tori King Ramen (there is a Black Spicy, a Red Spicy and a Clear). The presentation is on-point but the broth here is the thing. It’s richness and thickness distinctively owing to the chicken broth which, according to co-owner Martin, is usually cooked for up to seven hours.
All other ramens can taste the same after a while but this one is so uniquely, beautifully different. The noodles are just right. The chicken is tender and delicious. It is boiled first, says Martin, before it is grilled where it gets its roasted skin.
It turns out this Ramen Keisuke Tori King is a franchise from Japan by way of Singapore—where Martin and his wife used to live. They opened in Manila in February and just powered through the pandemic from it’s scary early days. The broth, says Martin, is the favorite of his wife and is the signature of the brand, developed by its founder Keisuke Takeda.
Takeda is from Hiroshima and was already cooking even during his childhood in the 70s. He first worked as a chef in a French restaurant for 12 years, before moving to a Japanese restaurant that would pave the way to opening Bimisenryu Tanka where the cuisine was modern Japanese. In 2005, he started innovating on the ramen, eventually opening a ramen restaurant of his own.
Testimonies on the site invariably praise the chicken broth and it’s service (“Very good,” says restaurateur Elbert Cuenca), the tenderness of the chicken, and the nostalgic ambience (“Makes you feel like you’re in Japan,” said one). As for us, we liked that we were able to find a seat right away on a Thursday lunch hour. That it was easy enough to practice social distancing. We liked the cold bean sprouts, too—light and refreshing!—served during the short wait for the main event: the Tori King Ramen, which is really the best thing of all.
Ramen Keisuke Tori King is located at Units 1 and 2 Ground Floor, Tower 1 Corporate Plaza, High Street South, BGC. Contact +639774791755