Happiness Overload at Hanamaruken, Trinoma

I have been going through my #ramenphase for quite a while now.  I seek out ramen joints in the hopes of tasting rich creamy broth, firm noodles and flavorful melt-in-your-mouth meat.  The ramen that started this phase is actually the Signature Happiness Ramen I tasted during a Zomato Foodie Meetup at Hanamaruken, Ugong a year ago.  (Check out my Zomato review here.)

Since then, I have been converted to a Ramen Girl.  While I have gone around various ramen shops along my usual haunts in Pasig, Marikina and Quezon City, my thoughts would always go back to the ramen that started it all: the ramen that I measure all other ramen I tasted since against.

Imagine my absolute delight when one fine Friday, after a long and grueling meeting that extended to lunch time, my boss agreed to have a happy lunch with me and my work buddies at Hanamaruken in Trinoma.  And oh, what a happy lunch it was!

Our group of four divided among ourselves:

  • 2 bowls of Signature Happiness Ramen (Php580 each)
  • 1 order of Gyoza (Php240)
  • Initially 1 order of Chocolate Lava Cake with Ice Cream (Php180) but it was sooooo gooood that we ordered another one!

The Signature Happiness Ramen lived up to its legend in my mind.  One bowl was hearty and more than enough to satisfy two hungry and stressed office workers.  The gyoza was also flavorful and whet our appetite for the ramen while the lava cake with ice cream was a decadent cap to the meal.

I look forward to embracing this kind of happiness again when I eat at other Hanamaruken outlets.

This Hanamaruken branch is located at Second Floor, Trinoma Mall, Bagong Pag-Asa, Quezon City (call 02 7209283 for reservations).  Other branches are located at:

  • The Grove By Rockwell, E. Rodriguez Jr. Avenue, Ugong, Pasig City (tel: 02 695 3643)
  • Second Floor, Alabang Town Center, Alabang, Muntinlupa City (tel: 02 869 9857)
  • Hole in the Wall, Fourth Floor, Century City Mall, Kalayaan Avenue, Poblacion, Makati City

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

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Bingsu treat at Jang Da Bang Cafe

Despite the spate of relatively balmy weather these last few days, there’s no denying that summer is already here.

And with the hot summer days, icy snacks like bingsu are a godsend.

I discovered Jang Da Bang Cafe during one of my Korean Food adventures at my favorite Korean resto, Jang Ga Nae, with my daughter – slash – partner-in-crime. After indulging ourselves in our favorite Korean dishes, some of which were quite spicy, we decided to try out the cafe right next door for dessert.We were happy to discover that Jang Da Bang has the same owner as Jang Ga Nae (as if the similarity in their names was not a dead giveaway, duh!). In fact, in our subsequent visits, the family developed the habit of ordering our preferred bingsu dessert at Jang Ga Nae (included in our bill), then hopping over to Jang Da Bang where our freshly made bingsu will be waiting for us.

While Jang Ga Nae’s interiors have the quintessential Korean grill resto look and feel, Jang Da Bang has a brighter and more airy ambiance. Floor-to-ceiling windows let in a lot of natural light that brings out the pops of color in the displayed artwork and plants. It has a more relaxed atmosphere compared to its sister-store, making it an ideal place for hanging out.

We have sampled its two fruity bingsu offerings: mango and strawberry. Both have finely shaved ice flavored with condensed milk and accompanied by cornflakes for texture and red bean paste for added sweetness. A regular-sized order of either is good for sharing among three: myself and my two kids who apparently inherited their “sweet tooth” from me.

Our preference is the mango bingsu (Php199 for regular). Aside from cubes of sweet ripe mango, it also has bits of peaches, pears, nata de coco and the occasional cherry from – standard can of fruit cocktail, and is topped with vanilla ice cream.

The strawberry bingsu (Php205 for regular) on the other hand, suffers in comparison to the other variant only because the tartness of the strawberry bits is not adequately countered by the sweetness of the strawberry ice cream topping.

Going here for dessert after our Korean lunch has become a weekly family habit which will likely continue on for quite some time.

Jang Da Bang is located right across Jang Ga Nae at 8137 Plaza Ortigas, Jose Escriva Drive, Ortigas, Pasig City (behind the University of Asia and the Pacific).

Jang DaBang by Jang Ga Nae Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Carnevores satisfied at Number 1 Barbecues, SM East Ortigas

Number 1 Barbecues is a recently-opened restaurant in SM City East Ortigas.  Because of its Unli-Rice promo, it was always full of people for its first few months that my family was only able to eat there last December in time for my son’s birthday lunch.

Interestingly, Number 1 Barbecues offers a range of dishes from different cuisines including Filipino, American, Japanese and Mediterranean, so there would be something for everyone. Its’ relatively cheaper pricing and free unli-rice offer makes it a great venue for group and family meals.

We ordered the following:

  • Lechon Belly (Php109)
  • 12-Hour US Smoked Beef (Php129 + Php50 for extra smoked beef) – served with mashed potato and coleslaw
  • 12-Hour Smoked Pork Belly (Php119 +Php40 for extra pork belly) – served with mashed potato and coleslaw
  • 5 pcs Shrimp Tempura (Php149)
  • Kani BBQ Bacon (Php99)
  • Chocolate Cake ala Mode, Chocolate Mouse and Creme Brulee (Php39 each)

The meats are tender and well-seasoned but the servings are quite small so it’s a good thing we ordered extra servings of the smoked beef and pork belly, satiating our group of carnevores.  The desserts are adequate bookends to the meal.

Number 1 Barbecues is located at Ground Floor, SM City East Ortigas, along Ortigas Avenue in Pasig City.

Number 1 Barbecues Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sweet indulgence at Baskin Robbins

The home of the famous 31 flavors opened in SM City East Ortigas, serving classic ice cream flavors and more to us East of Manila folks.

Founded in 1945 by brothers-in-law Burt Baskin and Irv Robbins by merging their own ice cream parlors in Glendale, California, Baskin Robbins now claims to be the largest chain of ice cream specialty stores in the world.  Its slogan “31 flavors” highlights the its proposition that their customers do have the option to sample a different ice cream flavor every day of the month.

After dinner and while waiting for the last screening of Justice League, Hubby, my daughter and I decided to get our just desserts at this ice cream shop.  What sold the place to us was the available seating located under the stairs beside the free-standing stall (great use of what would have been wasted space). Hubby and the daughter went for the more classic flavors: Chocolate in a cup and Vanilla in a Chocolate Cone, respectively.

I went for one of the BR Flavors: Maui Brownie Madness.  It’s composed of chocolate frozen yogurt littered with pieces of macademia nuts and chunks of rich chocolate brownies.  I even added a topping of chopped almonds.  The confection was smooth and creamy which made a nice contrast the bits of brownies, macademia nuts and almonds.

This branch of Baskin Robbins is located at the Ground Floor of SM East Ortigas, along Ortigas Avenue Extension, Pasig City.

More details about Baskin Robbins:

Baskin Robbins Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Fresh, huge and great burgers at Zark’s

There are days when you just want to forget about greens and calorie counting (which to me is everyday) and sink your teeth into some sinful, hearty and greasy burgers.  These are times when a visit to this burger joint comes in.

Zark’s Burgers was named after its owner, Zark Espina Varona, a burger fan himself who put up his first store near De La Salle University along Taft Avenue in 2009 (all the better to cater to those hungry students, I guess), with the mission of offering burgers that are “FRESH. HUGE. GREAT.”  The chain has since grown to 29 stores with branches in Metro Manila, Laguna, Batangas, Cebu, Iloilo and Bacolod.

When my hubby and I craved for sinful burgers, we visited the branch in SM East Ortigas and treated ourselves to:

  • Chicken Fingers and Fries (Php159) for sharing
  • The Zark’s Classic Cheeseburger (Php109 + Php40 for fries and drink) for me.
  • The Zark’s Ultimate Burger (Php149 + Php40 for fried and drink) for hubby. It’s composed of a quarter-pounder burger with caramelized onions, sauteed mushrooms, cheese sauce and, of course, bacon
  • Snickers Ala Mode (Php149) for sharing.  It’s a Snickers bar dipped in batter, deep-fried and served with a dollop of vanilla ice cream and drizzled with chocolate syrup

In a later visit, I even tried out the heart-healthy (not! But YOLO – Uh-oh!) Deep Fried Bacon Wrapped Burger (Php279), a burger completely wrapped in bacon strips, then deep-fried, giving it a crispy crust that gives way to a juicy burger as you bite into it. I didn’t even need the Mamba sauce that came with it.

This Zark’s Burgers branch is located at 2nd Floor, SM City East Ortigas, along Ortigas Avenue Extension in Pasig City.

More info at:

Zark's Burgers Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato