One Last Bite: A Love Letter to Manila’s Worst Ramen Shop

May 31, 2019

By now, you’ve all heard the news that beloved local shop Wrong Ramen has closed its doors. And while things are definitely over, we still find it appropriate to write a short elegy to our estranged cousin, a place that made outcasts feel at home.

What we might miss most: Wrong Ramen’s wit and cool design.

When Wrong Ramen opened in Burgos Circle seven years ago, there were only a handful of other ramen spots that were part of Manila’s food landscape. All were of Japanese origin, created by chefs who had made Manila their home, or were the first of the eventual onslaught of imports. There was the dilemma: why even bother trying to compete? So Wrong Ramen did what not many others could–create its own damn category. Be refreshingly honest. Put a spotlight on the scandal instead of burying it. Dirty laundry on display, with every corner of its space screaming at you that you were wrong to eat here.

Bowled over by their ramen. Tried to be as clever as them, but we failed.

There was something about this uncommon approach that made it endearing to customers, and for years, it kind of was the darling of an unapologetic location. But times are different now, for whatever reason, and Wrong Ramen has run its course. We still think that there’s space in the market for the Communist, a give-you-the-runs spicy bowl that never knew whether it was Chinese or Japanese with its introduction of szechuan peppers and hotpot balls to a disgustingly porky tonkotsu broth. Or even its F.U. Ramen, the flagship black sheep of Wrong Ramen’s bastard children, which threw everything including the kitchen sink into a bowl. It brought us Manila’s first ramen burger, and specials with R.Lapid’s chicharon, for crying out loud. We’re sorry we failed you Wrong Ramen, but thanks for the ride.

*Full disclosure: while we do share a dad with Wrong Ramen, it’s a pretty big loss considering its cult status, and we wanted to write about it anyway.
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