Sun.Star Davao, June 17, 2017
When it comes to our culinary escapades, nothing gives more joy to our family than a piping hot bowl of ramen. There is just this indescribable feeling of warmth and nostalgia when we bite into the noodles and savor the soothing broth.
One of our family’s personal favorites in Davao is the ramen served at Tadakuma Japanese Restaurant. From the Ramen Tei near the old Davao airport to its various locations, you would surely find our family gathered there for a meal on a regular basis.
Last week, I was finally able to meet the man behind Tadakuma, Manuel “Manny” Joaquin, as he visited one of his franchise locations along Carlos Villa-Abrille Avenue (formerly Tulip Drive) in Matina.
|Tadakuma Ramen Tei Carlos Villa-Abrille Branch (formerly Tulip Drive) in Matina, Davao City|
Over sparkling sake with franchisee George Cang Jr., I learned that Mr. Manny came to Davao from Japan when he was 13 years old. Born in Yokohama, he studied at the Ateneo de Davao where he started as a grade one student. “I did not know how to speak English or Filipino then so I had to learn from scratch”, he recalls.
Tadakuma Japanese Restaurant founder Manny Joaquin
with Tadakuma Ramen Tei Matina (Carlos Villa-Abrille Ave.) branch franchisee George Cang Jr.
He describes the food at Tadakuma as traditional Japanese. “We really don’t do fusion here. However, we are quite flexible when it comes to satisfying the customer’s preference. You can personalize, mix and create your own soup stock and choose which kind of noodles (udon, soba or ramen) you like”, Mr. Manny shares.
The fishing aficionado guarantees that Tadakuma only uses the freshest ingredients. “We start preparing our dishes once you order them; from the slicing of the meat and vegetables, and cooking of the noodles. That’s why we recommend that customers do not pre-order if other members of the group are not around yet. Ramen must be eaten within 5 minutes after it is served. Otherwise, the noodles will become soggy”, he points out.
George, who has been a Ramen Tei/Tadakuma loyal customer since his college days, discloses that franchising Tadakuma was something that he and his co-franchisees were very pleased with. “Manny does not treat us as franchisees but as business partners. He is very hands-on when it comes to suggesting how the restaurant should look like, particularly the kitchen. He would also field his trusted staff to the branches so that franchisees will have seasoned personnel who can efficiently support the operations”, George reveals.
SEASONED STAFF. Mr. Manny fields his trusted staff to the branches so that franchisees will have seasoned personnel who can efficiently support the operations. Emma, for example, has been with Tadakuma for 17 years.
The young businessman says that Mr. Manny supplies the ‘secret’ sauces and handmade noodles from his commissary. “As for the rest of the ingredients, we have the freedom to choose our suppliers as long as it passes Tadakuma’s high standards”.
Mr. Manny is likewise open to the idea of franchisees introducing their own dishes. For instance, the Tadakuma Matina (Carlos Villa-Abrille Ave.) branch began serving the Wagyu Beef Cubes, Scallop Sushi and Saba Mackerel Sushi after earning the thumbs up of the founder.
For franchisees, Mr. Manny has this basic requirement, “If you don’t know how to cook, at least, know the taste”. Fortunately, George, the franchisee, knows both very well as he loves to experiment in the kitchen and go on gastronomic adventures.
George likens the ramen of Tadakuma to that of Tokyo’s ramen which has a bolder and stronger taste. “Here at Tadakuma, an order of ramen is more than enough for one person. Our broth is boiled on low fire the whole day and we never re-use it the following day. On the other hand, the vegetables are cooked using high pressure so that they remain crisp”, he adds.
Of course, aside from their bestselling ramen, Tadakuma also offers an array of well-loved Japanese food such as Gyudon, Sushi, Katsu Curry, Katsudon, Sukiyaki, among others.
At the age of 70, Mr. Manny is finally going to retire soon as his Manila-based daughter is set to return to Davao to take over Tadakuma’s family-owned branch and commissary for franchisees.
And, certainly, customer satisfaction in his traditionally Tadakuma way will be on top of his list as he passes on his chef’s hat to the next generation.
|Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio at the Tadakuma Carlos Villa-Abrille Branch|
|With PNP Chief Ronaldo "Bato" Dela Rosa at the Tadakuma Carlos Villa-Abrille branch|
|(From left) Jimjim Carreon, Engr. Richard Hong, Arthur Uy and George Cang, Jr.|
Tadakuma Ramen Tei Matina branch is located along Carlos Villa-Abrille Avenue (formerly Tulip Drive), Matina, Davao City. It is open from 11:00 a.m.-10:00 p.m. daily. For reservations, please call (082) 3275285 or 2868188.
E-mail the author at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit www.momabouttowndavao.blogspot.com.