MANILA, Philippines – Whether it’s the slippery, al dente goodness of Italian pasta or the warm-to-the-bone comfort of ramen, noodle mania is hard to resist.
This carbohydrate-rich genre of dish is filling while providing a variety of tastes and textures, making it unlikely for anyone to get tired of savoring it. Noodles can come smothered in tomato or white sauce or with a liberal sprinkling of vegetables and olive oil, or steeped in a bowl of piping hot soup, with spices, beef chunks or chicken strips.
In Glorietta Mall in Makati City, 3 restaurants offer distinct noodle cuisine experiences.
1. Mu Noodle Bar
This sleek and stylish resto specializes in Chinese and Japanese-style noodles. Simmering hot and welcoming in its heavy black bowl is their best-selling Beef Tendon Ramen. Strips of chewy beef are gloriously steeped in piping hot broth and spices.
Offset the noodle soup with crunchy Cereal Prawns with Hoti (fried seaweed). The prawns are brawny–definitely no shrimps here–making the dish very filling. The seaweed coating on the prawns makes them crunchier, adding a bitter oomph with the right saltiness.
For something more tangy, go for the leaf-topped 3 Cup Chicken, so named because of its 3 cups of basil, fried garlic and ginger.
Wash everything down with a sharply refreshing glass of frozen tarragon iced tea.
Location: Second floor, Glorietta 2
Website: Mu Noodle Bar Facebook Page
Watami’s interiors combine the futuristic feel of a spaceship with the calming lines and textures of Japanese design.
The pulsating lights that bask its walls in sunset-radiance complement the spacious booths which are perfect for feasting.
Chicken cutlets float in a pot of broth as scrambled egg is poured in. This thickens the soup, amplifying the chicken’s saltiness and tenderness. The noodles beneath these toppings are perfect – nicely smooth, against the rough, crusty texture of the chicken, that provide a respite from the broth’s explosion of flavors.
Who says you can’t eat a rice meal along with noodles? The spiced up meat in Pepper Beef Rice in Stone Pot, tempered by a layer of corn, goes well with any noodle soup.
Combine the main dishes and appetizers on the menu with refreshing fruit juices. Watami serves them in glasses so heavy and large they need handles. There are many to choose from but Passion Fruit Tea with Mango stands out for its blend of flavors, the sourness of passion fruit seamless with the round sweetness of mango.
Location: Ground floor, Glorietta 1
Website: Watami Philippines Facebook Page
3. Spaghetti Factory
If you want to take your noodle craze to the Western part of the world, Spaghetti Factory offers pasta dishes to suit every taste. Diners can customize their pasta by choosing the type of noodles (from macaroni to rigatoni), sauce and toppings.
Their seafood red sauce pasta doesn’t scrimp on mussels, shrimp and clams. You’re guaranteed to have seafood in every spoonful, dripping with creamy, full-bodied tomato sauce. Chubby pieces of ravioli filled with spinach and ricotta cheese lie hidden, but not for long, beneath a blanket of tomato herb sauce and a drizzle of cheese shavings.
Aside from their pasta, Spaghetti Factory can be proud of its baby back ribs. The succulent meat covered with sweet and salty sauce drips off the bone and melts in the mouth like a beef flake.
With its warm interiors and affordable prices, Spaghetti Factory is great for lunch breaks and casual meetings. The dishes are classic fare cooked excellently.
Location: Ground floor, Glorietta 1
Website: Spaghetti Factory Facebook Page