Nothing like a warm, comforting bowl of ramen can chase your blues away. With every sip and slurp, you get a feeling that everything's gonna be all right in the world. Well, except for your wallet if you're ordering a pricey ramen.
How do you satisfy your ramen craving without wrecking your budget?
First, you can download a food app that provides dining deals and discounts at your favorite ramen restaurants.
Second, choose your ramen wisely. You don't want to waste your money on something that's cheap but bland. Fortunately, several affordable ramen options in Manila give a gourmet dining experience on a budget.
Here's a list of the best, value-for-money ramen dishes in Metro Manila priced under PHP 500.
1. Ippudo's Shiromaru Motoaji
Price: PHP 385
Make no mistake—Ippudo's plain-looking tonkotsu ramen may not be as photogenic as other popular ramen dishes. But what the Shiromaru Motoaji lacks in color and appearance, it more than makes up for its broth and noodle quality.
The classic Hakata-style ramen's broth is cooked for 15 hours to bring out a rich flavor. Its chashu is boiled and stewed for more than two hours. The ultra-thin noodles are made fresh daily. If that doesn't make you drool, we don't know what will.
- Order extra-firm noodles, so you can take your #foodstagram shots without getting your noodles soggy.
- Want extra toppings to go with your bowl? Try the Shiromaru Special (PHP 490) with extra pork belly and pork loin, soft-boiled egg, and seaweed. Worth the additional cost!
Ippudo branches: SM Megamall, SM Mall of Asia, Eastwood City, Robinsons Place Manila, Ayala Malls Vertis North, Power Plant Mall, and Uptown Mall
2. Ramen Nagi's Original King Butao
Price: PHP 390
Another strong contender for the best ramen title is served at Ramen Nagi—a flavorful and creamy tonkotsu broth that's cooked for 20+ hours. When it comes to flavor and serving size, every bowl of Original King Butao is fit for a king.
What makes Ramen Nagi's best-selling ramen a crowd favorite? You can customize your order to your desired richness of taste, garlic (from none to extra heavy), pork (shoulder or belly), spiciness level, and more.
Tip: Visiting Ramen Nagi for the first time? Choose the "Chef Recommendation" on your order sheet.
Ramen Nagi branches: SM Aura Premier, SM Mall of Asia, SM City North EDSA, Robinsons Galleria, Robinsons Magnolia, Robinsons Place Manila, Greenbelt 3, U.P. Town Center, Ayala Malls Feliz, and NAIA Terminal 3
3. Ramen Daisho's Hakata Tonkotsu Chashu-Men
Price: PHP 380
Ramen lovers swear by the Hakata-style tonkotsu ramen at Ramen Daisho. Its secret sauce? A thick, milky broth from ukkokei chicken. Combined with thin and silky noodles, chashu, soft-boiled egg, seaweed, and bamboo shoots, the Hakata Tonkotsu Chashu-Men leaves nothing to be desired.
- Book a table via BigDish to save up to 50% off your order at Ramen Daisho.
- The gyoza (PHP 155/five pieces) is to die for! Pair your ramen with this side dish for a satisfying meal.
Ramen Daisho location: Unit 2, Sunshine Square, Liberty Center, 312 Shaw Blvd., Pleasant Hills, Mandaluyong
4. Ramen Kuroda's Kuro Ramen
Price: PHP 180
Ramen Kuroda is as sulit as it gets. For less than 200 bucks, a bowl of savory ramen is yours to enjoy. The taste matches—if not surpasses—that of the more popular ramen brands. Its noodles are freshly made to ensure they're as tender and firm as a ramen should be. A must-try affordable ramen at Ramen Kuroda is the Kuro Ramen, a rich, smoky tonkotsu broth with roasted garlic.
Ramen Kuroda branches: SM Marikina, SM Fairview, SM Manila, Eastwood Cyber & Fashion Mall, Eton Centris, Double Dragon Meridian Park, TV5 (LaunchPad Reliance cor. Sheridan St.), Mezza Residences (Sta. Mesa), Venice Grand Canal Mall, Lucky China Town Mall, Aseana II, RCBC Plaza Makati, and BF Homes
5. Mendokoro Ramenba's Shoyu Ramen
Price: PHP 410
If Mendokoro Ramenba sounds familiar, it might be because it's where the little controversy involving actress Ellen Adarna happened not so long ago. But there's more to this ramen joint than that.
Case in point: its soy sauce-based tonkotsu ramen bursting with rich flavors and smoky, tender pork slices that melt in the mouth.
Enhancing the overall experience is the Mendokoro Ramenba's open-kitchen setup, where you can watch and take pictures as chefs prepare bowls of ramen.
- Expect a long line at Medokoro Ramenba, as it can seat only 20+ customers.
- Finish your bowl as fast as you can. Not only does it make your ramen experience better, but you're also being considerate to other customers waiting outside.
Mendokoro Ramenba branches:
- Makati branch: Shop 18, V Corporate Center, Leviste St., Salcedo Village, Makati
- BGC branch: Icon Plaza, 26th St., Bonifacio Global City, Taguig
6. Ramen Yushoken's Shoyu Ramen
Price: PHP 400
Craving a tasty ramen that isn't too heavy? If you live in the South, head over to Ramen Yushoken to taste the winning bowl of smoky, flavorful broth and barbecued pork.
Ramen Yushoken location: Molito Lifestyle Mall, Madrigal Ave. cor. Commerce St., Alabang, Muntinlupa
7. Butamaru's Curry Tantanmen
Price: PHP 370
Those who have been to Butamaru are all praises for the Curry Tantanmen—a dish that stands out amid the typical bowls of tonkotsu ramen. Butamaru cooks its broth for 16 hours, bringing out a strong flavor that delights the palate.
The popular and affordable ramen combines a spicy broth with curry, peanuts, and sesame sauce. You can even have its spiciness level adjusted depending on your tolerance for spicy food.
Tip: Get a 10% to 50% discount at Butamaru when you reserve via BigDish.
- Alabang branch: E405 Commerce Ave., Westgate Center, Filinvest Corporate Center, Alabang, Muntinlupa
- Ortigas branch: G16 Ortigas Technopoint Bldg., Ortigas Home Depot Complex, 1 Doña Julia Vargas Ave., Pasig
8. Ikkoryu Fukuoka Ramen's Ajitama Tonkotsu
Price: PHP 380
The full-flavored Ajitama Tonkotsu at Ikkoryu Fukuoka Ramen will blow you away. Enough said.
Ikkoryu Fukuoka Ramen branches: Shangri-la Plaza, SM Aura Premier, Power Plant Mall, Estancia Mall, Bonifacio High Street, Century City Mall, Alabang Town Center, and Newport Mall
9. Hokkaido Ramen Santouka's Shio Ramen
Prices: PHP 385 (regular) / PHP 445 (large)
Hokkaido Ramen Santouka's claim to fame is its authentic home-style Japanese ramen recipe. Its broth is cooked fresh daily in-store, with pork bones simmered for 20 hours, under the supervision of a Japanese chef.
Sounds impressive? Don't take our word for it. Go taste a bowl of Shio Ramen to see for yourself if the famous ramen lives up to the hype.
Hokkaido Ramen Santuoka branches: SM Mall of Asia, Glorietta 4, TriNoma, Greenhills Shopping Center, Eastwood Mall, Alabang Town Center, U.P. Town Center, and Ayala Malls Cloverleaf
10. Tongara Ramen
Price: PHP 390
A new small ramen joint has opened in Marikina—and it isn't your ordinary affordable ramen place. It offers a special broth called tongara, with a sweet, milky taste from pork bones and chicken bones simmered for hours. Tongara Ramen's signature dish also has fresh wheat noodles, succulent grilled pork belly, soft-boiled egg, and bamboo shoots.
Tongara Ramen location: Lamp Quarters, Gil Fernando Ave., Marikina
11. Takashi Japanese Cuisine's Volcano Ramen
Price: PHP 320
Up for a spicy ramen challenge? The Volcano Ramen at Takashi will test your tolerance for anything spicy! With the bright red color and fiery broth of this affordable ramen, your taste buds are sure to explode. You can choose from five spice levels to suit your preference.
Takashi Japanese Cuisine branches:
- Pioneer branch: Pioneer Center Supermart, 8006 Pioneer St. cor. United St., Kapitolyo, Pasig
- Makati branch: G/F Elizabeth Place Condominium, 332 H.V. Dela Costa St., Salcedo Village, Makati
Which affordable ramen is your favorite? Anything you want to try on your next food crawl? What else would you recommend for ramen enthusiasts? Share your picks below!