go-en The Japanese Ramen Shoppe has been around , interestingly, since 2012. A quaint and humble place that you wouldn’t know unless someone gets you invited or you, yourself have discovered in the search for great ramen soup.
go-en from Japanese is the five yen coin which is considered as a good luck charm both in terms of money and relationships. This name given by owners Marilyn Pefianco and John Geron, two expats who brought their love for food and things Japanese to the country, aims to forge strong relationship through their commitment to good food and friendly atmosphere.
As if there are countless Japanese and ramen restaurant already established everywhere, go-en takes a little far venture of presenting a real Japanese experience, combining good food and subconsciously teaching the art of discipline by learning the pop cultures Japanese skill toy, kendama to the table.
Ramen is subjective to the taste of each individual. One person might find go-en ramen’s flavor close to Tokyo‘s and another individual may not. Ramen has different flavors and ingredients. go-en takes one step further and introduces another which can’t be find elsewhere.
Take for instance go-en’s Wonton Tomato Ramen and Cheese Ramen. These two varieties are innovative take on ramen chemistry that will blow customer’s mind and curiosity. Sure, every ramen place you already know would offer Shoyu, Tantanmen, Karamiso, etc., but not all will serve to your table these flavors, we thought had never existed.
What we like about go-en’s ramen is how they made it light, less oil, not too salty, and there’s no feeling of getting bloated after finishing off one soup bowl. John, who is Texan by the way, makes sure that all the right ingredients are in place in each ramen variants and the real flavors will come out, based on how it look on the menu and how it will look on the customer’s table. John is the ‘taste test’ manager at go-en, while Marilyn do the menu preparation and all. Actually, John’s contribution happens to be the all-around support guy to non-food related items for the restaurant, the design, logo, and the ‘game master’ of kendama. But that doesn’t make John less knowledgeable when it comes to Japanese cuisine, especially the ramen.
Aside from ramen, go-en also serves their Noodless items, which in layman’s term will be anything without the noodle. They have Tonkatsu, Katsudon, Katsukare, Kareraisu, Chikinteri, Okonomiyaki, Kara-age, Ebi furai, and Tempura Platter.
As for dessert, go-en invites everyone to try their Mochi Ice Cream, proudly handmade mochi with ice cream filling for only PhP 80; Maccha Pudding, that sweet flavors of Japan‘s fine green tea pudding topped with azuki beans and dollop of whipped cream for PhP 90; and this one’s our favorite, Taiyaki. It’s a stuffed waffle shaped like a fish that is a festival favorite in Japan. Taiyaki sells for Php 80.
Every Japanese restaurant you’ll go, you’ll see bits of Japanese culture as part of the interiors. At go-en, you’ll see ukiyo-e pictures, manga comics, noren curtains, super-sized portable yatai, jinbe outfits for the waiters, and wide array of kendama collections.
Outside the door is a friendly maneki neko sign to greet customers. And when you’re lucky, you’ll run into Sylvester, the cat as you enter inside go-en.
go-en’s Tantanmen is truly a ramen experience. Tantanmen is on of the most popular ordered ramen anywhere, maybe it’s because of the special spicy sesame broth and its mix of flavorful ingredients: hosomen (thin noodles), ajitsuke tamago (medium/soft boiled egg), ground pork, naganegi, and chingensai. For starters, we recommend the Tantanmen. Only PhP 380 per serving.
If you think Tantanmen’s spicy flavors isn’t enough, don’t put away that chopstick and treat yourself to a Sichuan’s dish mabotofu that makes Mabo Ramen ver special, and hot. Mabo is go-en’s spiciest concoction to date.
Mixed with cubed tofu and pork stir-fried with chilies, black bean paste, and few other tasty secrets. Crank it up to your hottest level of spiciness up to 11 with ground red pepper on your table. Only Php 350 per serving.
It’s one of the best-selling item from go-en’s menu. The Osaka style Okonomiyaki is very rich and packed with ingredients, a meal of its own. Sometimes called Japanese pizza or pancake, the Osaka version has chopped cabbage, egg, squid, sakura ebi, topped with pork, katsuboshi, aonori, and go-en’s special sauce that complete this tummy filler dish. Only PhP 350.
go-en aims to build a warm relationship with each customers, and with customers themselves. It’s a different experience once you stepped inside go-en and it would be a shame if customers will stay focus on their phones rather enjoying the food, the aesthetics, and the pleasure of learning kendama.
I like the way that through kendama, go-en has contributing a lot the art of discipline to their customers. It’s not just a wooden toy. Kendama, as you focus on this toy, teaches discipline, respect, and encourages patience to individuals learning from it.
I would love to see a ‘kendama wave’ happening in our country as John tries his best in promoting this skill toy in the country.
If you’re interested in learning the kendama, stop by at go-en The Japanese Ramen Shoppe along Sgt. Esguerra Street in Quezon City or visit www.goenkendama.com to know more about this ancient and cultural sport from Japan.
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