Tomochan Ramen Express is a relatively new entrant in the local ramen scene yet it is already boldly carving a name for itself in the industry. Unlike most similar restaurants, it is positioning itself as an affordable alternative for those who want to enjoy authentic and delicious ramen without breaking their budget.
Tomochan served its first bowls of ramen in Angeles city, Pampanga in July last year. In a span of eight months, Tomochan has grown to five branches with locations in Ayala Fairview Terraces, Marquee Mall, Solenad, LKG Tower, and New Point Mall. These stores can be found inside food courts, a deliberate strategy to give more diners quick and easy access to their favorite Japanese dishes.
According to its founder, Ms. Akiko Okamoto, Tomochan plans to expand in the next few years to more locations around Metro Manila and in Batangas so that more Filipinos can have a taste of real Japanese ramen at a reasonable price.
Tomochan is your daily Japanese ramen
Tomochan is a combination of the words “Tomo” and “Chan.”
Tomo is the shortened form of “Tomodachi,” a Japanese term which means “friend” while “Chan” is a Japanese word that is used to refer to little children, female family members, and close friends. Tomochan is thus a name that connotes solid friendship; one that espouses love, loyalty, and dedication.
Last weekend, I had the privilege to be invited to try out some of Tomochan’s offerings together with other food bloggers from the metro. It was good that the event was held at Tomochan’s Ayala Fairview Terraces branch which was near our house.
The restaurant’s menu, I found out, is composed of shoyu (soy-based broth) ramen and miso ramen varieties as well as rice meals. Its soy-based lineup is composed of Shoyu Basic, Shoyu Vegee, Spicy Shoyu Tantan, and Shoyu Special. Meanwhile, its miso-based selections are Miso Basic, Miso Vegee, Spicy Miso Tantan, and Miso Special. Price starts at Php99 so that’s definitely a steal.
As for Japanese rice meals, Tomochan currently has three choices available in its menu. These are Chicken Karaage, Katsu, and Gyoza, all competitively-priced at Php79.
For diners who would want to sample all the dishes on offer, set meals composed of rice meals and ramen are available. An even better news is that Tomochan has delivery service unlike other similar ramen restaurants.
My orders were served steaming hot and freshly-cooked. Most ramen restaurants recommend sipping the broth while it is hot in order to fully enjoy the flavors.
I had the Miso Vegee Ramen and the Katsu Rice and I would say that the quality and authenticity of the food is impressive considering its price.
The Miso Vegee Ramen (Php139) was served with half soft-boiled egg, 2 slices of pork, and fresh leeks and vegetables. I was not really expecting much at first but after my initial sip, I knew that it can compete well with most Japanese ramen restaurants around the metro.
The broth had a lot of flavor; the noodles are firm and good to the bite; the pork slices are tender; and the vegetables were crisp. I would consider it as a perfect bowl.
Tomochan has a big potential in successfully bringing authentic Japanese ramen closer to more Filipinos. No need to wait for payday to treat yourself to a nice bowl of ramen – have it any time you crave it at Tomochan.
As for the Katsu rice meal, the pork slices may look a little dry and overcooked at first but that is not so. The coating is of the right thickness and the meat inside is still tender and effortlessly succumbing to the bite.
Tomochan indeed lives up to its tagline, “Your daily Japanese Ramen.”
Building a ramen empire
Tomochan plans to aggressively grow its branches in the next year or so to around 100 outlets. Okamoto said that they intend to build a ramen empire through organic growth as well as franchising opportunities.
Currently, the franchise fee is set at Php160,000 for a term of three years. This includes rights to use Tomochan’s name, trademarks, and systems; site evaluation and approval; exclusive classroom and hands-on trainings’ pre-opening and opening assistance; Tomochan’s operations manual; consistent business support through consulting and filed visits; marketing and promotions support; rights to use the company’s proprietary products and services; and access to accredited and exclusive suppliers.
In terms of running their business, Okamato said that while Tomochan’s unique selling proposition is its affordability, they uphold discipline when it comes to their day to day dealings as well as in safeguarding the quality of their products. You can tell that Okamoto and her team are serious in realizing their goal because you can feel their passion as they discuss their plans and outlook.
On the whole, it was an event that I enjoyed. It was nice talking to the owners who are eager to make a success story happen and who are generous in sharing their insights with regard to their business. What’s even good to know is that Tomochan is offering a novel, sort of a guerilla concept that is not often encountered in the local ramen dining scene.
For the complete locations of Tomochan branches, you may refer here:
- Food Choices, Level 2, Marquee Mall, Angeles City, Pampanga
- Picnic, Lower Ground, New Point Mall, Angeles City, Pampanga
- Fiesta Market, Solenad 3, Nuvali Park, Santa Rosa, Laguna
- Food Choices, Level 2, Fariview Terraces, Quezon City
- Food Odyssey, 11/F, LKG Tower, Ayala Avenue, Makati City
For franchising opportunities, you may inquire through the following:
Contact numbers: (045) 304-4353, 09770635706, 0915-4826019
Social media: Facebook and Instagram via @tomochanph
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