Wednesday, November 12, 2014


        On the rare occasions that I find myself at the South, I can't help but be on the look out for some great places to eat. During my short weekend food trip down south a couple of weeks back, My buddy Richard of Tales From the Tummy, invited me to try yet another Ramen place that has sprouted, this time located at Westgate, Alabang. 

     Being the certified carnivore that I am, I was actually hoping for more of a meat based restaurant, instead of a bowl of hot noodle soup. I told Richard about my apprehensions. 

       "I'm not sure I'm in the mood for Ramen. I'm looking for pork-", I said.

      "The name of the restaurant is 'Butamaru'", Richard interrupted. "'Buta' is Japanese for "Pig". The dishes are Pork based.", he replied.

      "So, what time do we meet?"
     Butamaru's kitchen is helmed by Jerome Lim, who studied the art of ramen noodle making under Master Artisan Sugimura-San of Menko Noodle company in Oita, Japan. And even better for me, he also discovered a new way of Chasu! 

  After our short drive from Bellevue Hotel to Westgate, we made our way to Butamaru. It's not easily visible since it's in located near the center part of the arcade, but once you get through the myriad of restaurants at Westgate and find Butamaru, it's going to be very tough to forget. 

   The ground floor of the restaurant uses the counter type seating that is very common for Ramen houses in Japan. 

        While the second floor offers the more traditional seating that can accomodate larger groups.


            I may have crowned Osaka Osho's Bacon and Cheese Gyoza as the best I've ever had, but Butamaru's gyozas made me re-think my rankings. 

          Starting with the Curry Gyoza (P150). Filled with minced Aburi Chasyu and Butamaru's special curry paste, giving the meat a light, fragrant sweetness, but with a bit of a spicy kick. I loved the cook on wrapper, leaving it speckled with bits of burn marks, giving it a crispy texture.

     Off Butamaru's "Secret Menu" is their Cheese Gyoza (P150), something I know Rina is dying to try. At first glance, it reminded me of the Taiwanese Crispy Dumplings I had at Red Onion Cafe earlier this year. The pieces of Gyozas were covered in a thin blanket of cheese, giving the pan fried dumplings a rich spin to it. 

      Something I've got to say about Butamaru, is that their Chasu (P150 for 3pcs) is among the best I've ever had from a Ramen house. This was a little different from the ones I've had in the past. I often get the feeling that other chasu is boiled or something like that.. But this seemed more like it was torched, with a nice caramelization around the edges. 

          Since I wasn't going to go for Ramen, I decided to make my own meal, and pair my side of Chasu with Butamaru's Takana Chahan (P200). The wierd thing about me is that whenever I'm at a Ramen place, I usually order rice as well. 

     This was a nice twist to the usual Chahan. The Takana stands for the minced pickled mustard greens that is mixed into the rice, giving it a wonderful vibrance of texture to go with its added flavor.

          Although I was aware that the more practical dish for me to order would have been the Chasu Don (P280), I simply could not resist the Takana Chahan. Although I must admit, This was a beautiful bowl of food. 

      Beautiful slices of Chasu, laying on a bed of fluffy, Japanese Rice, and served with a soft boiled egg, and the pickled mustard greens, then topped with shredded spring onions and a sprinkling of sesame seeds.


     Some of the available Ramen dishes you may be interested in trying are..

        The Miso Ramen (P350)

       If you like your Ramen with a whirlwind of delicious spiciness, then the TanTanMen (P350) would be more up your alley.

        The Curry Tantanmen (P350) is a unique twist to the popular spicy ramen. Using Spicy Peanut and Sesame, the complex flavors come together in a harmonious fusion of deliciousness.

      Considering that my last ramen experience was from an international chain giant, I wasn't really expecting very much from Butamaru, truth be told. But I was pleasantly surprised to discover that this little ramen restaurant, conceptualized by Filipinos for Filipinos, can definitely hold its own in a country filled seemingly going Ramen crazy.

CE405 Westgate Center
Commerce Ave, Cor. Filinvest Ave

Follow Butamaru on Facebook

Butamaru Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


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