Friday, November 30, 2012

Moshi Koshi: The Best Noodle Diner in Manila

I have never really considered noodles to be an actual meal. Growing up, the only noodles I'd have were of the instant variety, and they were mostly eaten as a snack rather than for lunch or dinner. When I got a bit older, they turned into the Korean variety (still instant) - which only stopped because of a customs recall (apparently, they're cancerous). In my head, noodles were something to chow on to pass the time until the next meal of the day. That is, until I went to Moshi-Koshi Noodle Boss.

Moshi Koshi, which loosely translates into "hello fresh and perfectly made food", is a new Japanese noodle place with restaurants in Shaw and Market! Market! and new stores yet to be opened at Robinsons Galleria and other popular Metro Manila hang outs next year.

Being a noodle eater all his life, the owner had this crazy dream of bringing good Japanese food to Filipinos that wasn't expensive yet had that authentic Japanese taste. Around a half a pound of noodles go into every serving of noodles at Moshi Koshi - you'd either be crazy or have an appetite of a sumo wrestler if you think you can polish off one of their rice dishes and a bowl of noodles at the same time. And unlike the traditional ramen houses that only serve different kinds of ramen, Moshi Koshi is a fresh Noodle Diner, serving all types of freshly-made noodles!

Walking into Moshi Koshi at Market! Market! I liked that the vibe of the restaurant was very fresh, causal, and what I'd like to describe as modern Japanese. Not at all intimidating, the glass windows let all the natural light filter in, allowing you to admire the bright space with the traditional wood furnishings and modern chairs and tables - they have a bit of old school meets new school going on. You order at the counter up front while admiring the quirky wall mural, and then pick a comfortable spot to get your noodle on.

Wanting to fully immerse myself in the Noodle Boss experience, I did the unthinkable and tried out three different types of noodles - a noodle degustation if you will - and ended up happily rolling myself out of the noodle diner an hour later.  There was definitely a lot of slurping going on!

Miso Ramen. The rich, hearty broth hails from Hokkaido, and is primarily made of fermented soybean topped with nori, naruto, greens, shinachiku (bamboo shoot) and Chasu (soft pork slices). The bamboo shoot and ramen noodles have that perfect, nice chewy bite to it - what the Japanese would call "koshi". Along with the flavorful broth, the chasu fat melts in your gob once eaten, with all the lovely delicate flavors melting onto your tongue, merrily mixing with the slightly salty broth. I have never looked at ramen the same way again.

Tempura Soba. Made up of buckwheat noodles, soba is the traditional noodle of choice for Tokyoites. I liked slurping the noodles up, the nuttiness of the soba nicely complimenting the slight saltiness of the dark soy-based broth. The light, fluffy shrimp tempura is a welcome offset from and brings another dimension of flavor to the meal.

To cleanse the palette, I tried their Kani Salad - shredded cabbage and crabsticks tossed in a light Japanese mayonnaise. 

Kara-age Udon. The thickest noodle of the lot, you can't really slurp this without getting it all over yourself. The dark brown mildly flavored broth lets the thick noodles shine - think really big lomi! The udon dish came with Kara-age - chicken cutlets seasoned with ginger and deep fried - you can distinctly taste the ginger in every bite without it being too overpowering. This is my hands down favorite!

The Agedashi Tofu is another nice siding - the silky tofu is lightly dusted with cornstarch, deep fried and served in a hot tentsuyu broth topped with what I think is grated daikon.

After that huge meal, I ended my trip to Moshi Koshi with their famously great-tasting Green Tea Ice Cream - my two favorite things in a pot of happiness that is perfect for sharing!

A happy find, Moshi Koshi is definitely one of my new favorite Japanese joints when mucking around Manila. Not only is their food affordable and served pretty fast and piping hot, the dishes taste authentically Japanese, too - they don't skimp on quality as long as the Noodle Boss is around.

Moshi Koshi: Noodle Boss
+632 816-6744, +632 621-9853
Ground Floor, McKinley Parkway
Market! Market!
Bonifacio Global City, Taguig, Metro Manila
(in front of One Serendra)
Open Daily: 11am - 12am