By Tito Mike & Diko Leon
The Bigby’s Group of Cagayan de Oro which brought us Bigby’s Café, Boy Zugba, Missy Bon and Raki-Yata Ramen does it again!
A new store of the renowned premium ramen shop Raki-Yata has just opened in SM City CDO Uptown’s North Wing. The new place will go by the name Niku-Yata, which highlights their focus on the beefier end of the ramen spectrum.
“Niku translates to meat in English and Yata means Hooray, we did it!, letting customers savor that triumphant shout of goodness in every bowl of authentic Japanese ramen served in Niku-Yata Ramen House,” said Joanna Yu, one of the three original founders of the Bigby’s Group.
Launched by pioneer graduates of the Center for Culinary Arts in Manila way back in December 8, 1998, the three founders introduced with Bigby’s Café & Restaurant what must have been the first truly intercontinental menu in Cagayan de Oro.
They were drawn to the idea of serving a variety of internationally famous cuisine with big servings at value for money prices. The menu, design and service style were created to bridge the gap between fine dining and fast-casual dining which has become the hallmark of the Bigby’s Cafe Restaurant system.
With their slogan More Flavors to Your World, Bigby’s expanded the local restaurant market to families, young urban professionals and businessmen with its fun dining ambience with wittingly named dishes and trademark global mementos which revolutionized dining habits in the city.
Niku-Yata Ramen House
Their latest premium ramen house continues to live up to the original More Flavors to Your World slogan pioneered by the founders over a decade ago.
“Gyukotsu ramen is beef based but creamy like Tonkatsu ramen,” Anne explained. “To make it very creamy, we draws flavors from beef bones boiled for up to 12 hours to give that milk-like creaminess and full flavor in our signature Gyukotsu Shoyu ramen at Niku-Yata Ramen House,” Anne explained.
“Our premium Gyukotsu beef broth is seasoned with dashi from Japan and artisan shoyu brewed in Shodoshima island for its signature umami taste.”
Dashi is a family of stocks used in Japanese cuisine. Dashi forms the base for miso soup, clear broth soup, noodle broth soup, and many simmering liquids to accentuate the savory flavor known as umami.
Shodoshima (whose name means Island of Small Beans) is a chicken foot–shaped holm, next to Awaji Island, in the Seto Inland Sea between Okayama Prefecture and Takamatsu Prefecture, Japan.
Since ancient times, it has also been a major soy sauce production center; it is estimated that as many as 400 soy sauce breweries—where production happens—covered the island during the Meiji era (1868 to 1912).
According to the Shodoshima Shoyu Association, Shodoshima has a long and proud tradition of producing soy sauce dating back over 400 years. Shodoshima soy sauce is meticulously handcrafted from carefully selected ingredients and matured in wooden barrels called koga.
Of the 3,000 barrels still in use across Japan, over 1,000 are on the island of Shodoshima. Soy sauce also serves as the base for various kinds of seasonings. The “delicious Nippon taste” of Shodoshima soy sauce is delivered all over the country.
“The shoyu (soy sauce) we use is aged for 2-4 years in koga. It’s artisanal soy sauce we import from Japan, like our noodles made with premium Japanese flour which we make fresh in-house as you order, and the dashi,” Anne assures.
“With the addition of miso and sesame, our Gyukotsu Miso and Tantanmen ramen exudes boldness and extra richness to make you fall deeper in love with Japanese ramen,” she adds.
Niku-Yata & Raki-Yata
Although the North Wing ramen house was initially planned as another Raki-Yata branch (in addition to the ones in Ayala Centrio and SM CDO Downtown Premier) the group later decided to take a different tack it being a different location.
Raki-Yata specializes in pork ramen while Niku-Yata specializes in creamy beef broth shoyu-ramen.
“Not only our ramen, but all our dishes in Niku-Yata are pork-free,” Anne stressed. “We don’t serve any pork in this restaurant. Try our Gyukotsu Shoyu, Gyukotsu Miso and Tantanmen ramen to satisfy your craving for excellent and authentic Japanese ramen.”
She said the ramen served in all three of their ramen houses are inspired by a mother’s love in preparing only the best broth of beef for her children, for great taste and stamina, and to develop good bones.
“The selections of Gyukotsu Miso and Tantanmen Ramen more than lived up to the already exceptional reputation for quality and flavor of these premium ramen stores,” noted a recent guest to the new establishment.