Uma Uma Ramen To Open In The Philippines This June 2016—And It Is 100% MSG-Free!

Originally from Fukuoka, Japan, Uma Uma Ramen will be opening in the Philippines at the new SM Conrad Manila this June 15, 2016. You can expect this spread of ramen, donburi bowls and hot plates!

Raymundo Yu was dining at Elena Arzak’s restaurant in London, Ametza with Arzak Instruction at the Halkin Hotel. The Filipino-Chinese businessman based in Singapore was chatting about his country of residence with his dinner companions. A couple of hours later after dinner, Elena herself, whose eponymous restaurant in Spain is ranked the 17th best restaurant in the world and holds three Michelin stars, comes up to him. “I overheard that you’re from Singapore. I know a guy from there.. his name is Russell Yu.” Raymundo looked at her, “I know Russell very well.. he is my son.”

To have been singled out like that by one of the world’s best female chefs herself shows recognition and respect to a restaurateur who has an influence on his country’s food and beverage scene.  Russell Yu is a 30-year-old Chinese-Filipino, born and raised in Singapore. He and Ignatius Chan (of Iggy’s fame) developed Iki Concepts, which has under their umbrella group in the Lion City: the high-end Kaiseki Yoshiyoku, craft cocktail bar Horse’s Mouth, and Uma Uma Ramen, which will be opening in the Philippinesmore specifically, in Manila at the new SM Conrad, this June 15, 2016.

Russell Yu brought Uma Uma to Singapore through his Iki Concepts, and is bringing it to the Philippines this June 2016
30-year-old Chinese-Filipino Russell Yu brought Uma Uma to Singapore through his Iki Concepts, and is bringing it to the Philippines this June 2016

Originating from Fukuoka, Japan, Uma Uma Ramen has more than 60 years of ramen-making experience behind them. Its name originates from “Wu Maru”, a ramen shop established in 1953 by the father of Uma Uma Ramen’s current President, Masahiko Teshima. Upon taking over “Wu Maru” in 1994, Teshima renamed the venture “Uma Uma Ramen”; a play on the original name of the restaurant as well as a pun on the Japanese word for “tasty”. 

In Singapore– their first franchise outside of Japan– Uma Uma has two branches: 1)  Forum Mall on Orchard Road– also where Horse’s Mouth and Kaiseki Yoshiyoku are located– is the home turf, with moodier, more traditional interiors, designed by Asylum. This branch is more basic; it serves just ramen and donburi (rice bowls). 

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The first Uma Uma in Singapore is located at The Forum Mall on Orchard Road, with interiors designed by Asylum

2) Millenia Walk houses an izakaya-ramenya, a more modern concept, which also features a counter top bar, designed by Avid (the same folks who built dermatologist couple Dr. Z and Aive Teo’s residences both in Singapore and Manila). This branch has the whole lot– ramen, rice bowls, yakitori, cocktails (how impressive to see prohibition cocktails like Last Word and Scofflaw in a ramen place– thanks to their Horse’s Mouth linkage.)

The good news is that Horse’s Mouth head craftsman Johan Foong will be flying in to the Philippines to do the cocktails for Uma Uma Manila—so that’s something to look out for!

Uma Uma Singapore de- Millenia Walk, designed by Avid Designs. 9 Raffles Boulevard, Singapore
Uma Uma at Millenia Walk, designed by Avid, is a lot more modern.. and also features an izakaya– yakitori, skewers and cocktails.

So another ramen place to open in Manila, I hear you say.. what makes this one different from the rest?  Well the most distinguishing factor is NO MSG. Uma Uma’s ramen is all from pure umami. The broth is made primarily from pork bones. These are cooked over high heat for between 10 to 12 hours to unlock the flavors held in the bones into the broth— hence to MSG needed to enhance the flavors! I, for one, am allergic to MSG and didn’t feel the uncomfortable symptoms of puffiness and extreme thirst when I ate in Uma Uma Singapore both times!

Uma Uma is 100 Percent MSG-Free
Uma Uma’s differentiating factor from all the other ramen places out there is that it is 100% MSG-free, with the broth completely from pure umami

Here’s what to expect for the upcoming Uma Uma Manila at the new SM Conrad:

1) The 200sqm space will have on their signature RAMEN on the menumenu: Uma Uma Ramen, Spicy Chasiu Ramen, Mazesoba Chasiu– my personal favorite–, Tan Tan Mien. They will also be launching their Sakura Ebi Ramen in Manila. Ramen bowls will be priced below PHP400. (Shoyu will be imported (from Fukuoka) but they will use local ingredients as much as possible.)

Uma Uma Ramen- Chasiu, Spring Onions, Black Fungus, Spicy Miso and Egg
Uma Uma Ramen: chasiu, spring onions, black fungus, spicy miso, egg
Uma Uma Ramen- Tan Tan Mien
Tan Tan Mien: Sesame base, minced pork, chili oil, white onion, egg
My personal favorite-- Mazesoba Chasiu-- or a soupless ramen made up of chasiu bits, spring onion, bamboo shoots, chillli oil, leeks, sesame seeds and onsen egg. This is also available as a vegetarian option, without the chasiu
My personal favorite– Mazesoba Chasiu– or a soupless ramen made up of chasiu bits, spring onion, bamboo shoots, chillli oil, leeks, sesame seeds and onsen egg. This is also available as a vegetarian option, without the chasiu

2) They will also be offering the full Uma Uma experience, with donburi and rice bowls (ranging from PHP170 to PHP200) and side dishes like gyozas, chicken karaage, etc. ranging from PHP120 to PHP160. 

Uma Uma's Salmon Don
Uma Uma’s Salmon Don
Cha Siu Don
Uma Uma’s Cha Siu Don
Chicken Thigh Yakitori
Chicken Thigh Yakitori
Uma Uma Shiitake Yakitori
Uma Uma Shiitake Yakitori
Chef Satoshi Nakamura will be heading the kitchen at Uma Uma Manila
Chef Satoshi Nakamura will be heading the kitchen at Uma Uma Manila

3) Horse’s Mouth craftsman Johan Foong will be in the country to create the cocktails at Uma Uma in Manila. I loved his cocktails at Horse’s Mouth in  Singapore, so I have no doubt these ones in Manila are going to be amazing. According to Russell, they will have two food-driven cocktails to be served, a wagyu fat-washed Bloody Mary with salted egg rim; and a drink along the lines of green mango margarita with bagoong.

In the meantime, while we are waiting for them to open, here’s a little “taste” of some of Johan’s delicious cocktails at Horse’s Mouth in Singapore to give you an idea:

I don't normally like rum as my cocktail base but this Hadouken Sour at Horse's Mouth surprised me loads.😍😍😍 Kraken spiced rum (I was still skeptical when I saw this bec aroma-wise it smells like a rum I know that's not been a great cocktail base), but... When combined with umeshu (plum wine) + lemon juice + brown sugar + amargo bitters (a Peruvian bitter made from pisco) + egg white = SO Good!!!
I don’t normally like rum as my cocktail base but this Hadouken Sour at Horse’s Mouth surprised me loads. Kraken spiced rum combined with umeshu (plum wine) + lemon juice + brown sugar + amargo bitters (a Peruvian bitter made from pisco) + egg white = SO Good!!!
Decadent and delicious, Koi & Kaya is a tribute to two of Singapore's breakfast staples: coffee + kaya (toast). Here, Ketel One Vodka is chilled over ice with coffee and sugar and topped with hot kaya foam. Also notice the menu.. horse's mouth.. :)
Decadent and delicious, Koi & Kaya is a tribute to two of Singapore’s breakfast staples: coffee + kaya (toast). Here, Ketel One Vodka is chilled over ice with coffee and sugar and topped with hot kaya foam. Also notice the menu.. horse’s mouth.. :)
Meet Johan Foong of Horse's Mouth in Singapore. He's in Manila to craft the cocktails for Uma Uma Philippines at SM Conrad
Meet Johan Foong of Horse’s Mouth in Singapore. He’s in Manila to craft the cocktails for Uma Uma Philippines at SM Conrad

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My dear friends Anton Diaz (Our Awesome Planet), Jin Perez (Jin Loves to Eat) and I (CherylTiu.com) had a wonderful time experiencing Uma Uma in Singapore with the Iki Concepts family, represented by Zhongyu Luo, and of course Russell Yu (here we are eating durian at Russell’s residence during one of our down times.)

My dear friends Anton Diaz (Our Awesome Planet), Jin PErez (Jin Loves to Eat) and I had a wonderful time with the Uma Uma family, represented by Zhongyu Luo, and of course Russell in Singapore. We are sure you are, too! Here we are eating durian at Russell's residence in Singapore.
Anton-Diaz, Cheryl Tiu, Jin Perez, Zhongyu Luo and RussellYu in Singapore

And.. if we’re not enough for you (ha!), Mugaritz legend, THE Andoni Aduriz was himself at Uma Uma Singapore not too long ago, and “Man vs. Food TV host Adam Richman was also spotted at Horse’s Mouth. We are sure you will enjoy Uma Uma / Iki Concepts as much as we all did! xx

Top: Russell Yu, Uma Uma founder Masahiko Teshima, Ignatius Chan and Andoni Aduriz of Mugaritz at Uma Uma Singapore-; Bottom: Adam Richman of Man vs. Food at Horse's Mouth Singapore
Top: Russell Yu, Uma Uma founder Masahiko Teshima, Ignatius Chan and Andoni Aduriz of Mugaritz (he’s even wearing the Uma Uma shirt!) at Uma Uma Singapore-; Bottom: Adam Richman of popular TV show “Man vs. Food” at Horse’s Mouth Singapore

Uma Uma Manila will open on June 15, 2016. It is located at Level 2 of SM Conrad, Seaside Boulevard cor Coral Way, Pasay City. (Close to the SMX Convention Center). Follow @umaumaph on Instagram for more updates.