So apparently virtually all ramen broths are made from pork. Yes, likely even the supposedly vegetable and seafood options. The shoyu broth? Uhuh, pork. Miso broth? Yep, still juice of boiled pig. I would be an ecstatic pescetarian if anyone can tell me I’m wrong about this. In the meantime, I will be getting my ramen high from Wabi-Sabi Noodle House.
I found out about this gem thanks to a simple, frustrated Google check for “vegetarian ramen Makati.” Tucked in a corner of Makati, a few minutes of traffic away from the Ayala-Buendia CBD, Wabi-Sabi Noodle House sits inside the art and food warehouse called the Collective. Just like its location, Wabi-Sabi is plain and unassuming, but the offerings pack a good punch.
My sister and I arrived hungry and ordered half the menu, taking part in the ramen war between Fernando Pho Jr and Ramen Padilla. Fernando Pho (P95), obviously the Viet bet, has a clean, mild flavor, thinner noodles, and a healthy smattering of vegetable chicharon. Ramen Padilla (P95) was the vegetarian shoyu ramen, tasting every bit as rich as its carnivorous version.
The mushroom shumai (P55) had an interesting texture and mild flavor that my sister called weird and bland. I guess we are yet to find something as tasty as the original pork siomai. The veggie pot stickers (P55) were more predictably good. It was the bahn my (P75) however, that was a pleasant surprise. I have not had a proper bite of barbecue since I recommitted to a meat-free diet, and to taste the rich smoky flavors in squished between crisp vegetables and fresh French bread was a delightful experience. I’m still not going to make mock meat a staple in my diet, but a bite of this every so often sounds like a good treat. We sloshed everything clean with tall glasses of lemongrass iced tea (P50) and Thai milk tea (P60). I did feel like there was still stomach space for dessert, but I will save that for the next visit.
Come to Wabi-Sabi Noodle Shop and expect friendly service, awesome food, unpretentious decor, and fun writings and pictures on the walls. It is the type of place where you can call out additional orders to the super nice ladies behind the counter, and they will holler cheerfully back; like a hole-in-the-wall joint you can find in the alleys of Hong Kong or Binondo, only the food is not basted in pork lard.