I’ve always believed that well-traveled people with good taste have the potential to become good restaurant owners. So many owners that I’ve spoken to for the past two years have said that their passion for travel and culture has translated well into the food that they prepare for their customers. In that regard, the owners of MU Noodle Bar, Martin and Miguel Ledesma, have ventured into this business hoping to share stories of their travels to would-be patrons through their delicious Asian fusion dishes.
MU Noodle Bar
“MU is basically inspired by our frequent Hong Kong and Singapore trips,” Martin shares. “There, we enjoyed eating out because there were so many cheap but delicious food options. We got so many ideas; we’re picking out the best elements from all Asian countries and fusing them together to create our signature dishes.”
MU Noodle Bar, just like many restaurants these days, is a family venture. Martin said that all their recipes are results of a joint effort among his family members. His brother, Miguel, takes charge of the cooking due to his training from Enderun Colleges. “Our primary goal is to take all the traditional dishes and jazz them up,” Martin adds.
Located at Wilson Street in San Juan
Their current specialty is Chinese style noodle soup. At MU Noodle Bar, you can choose between two types of noodles (Udon or thin Hong Kong style noodles) and two kinds of soup (miso or soy). We were served their bestseller, Char Siu Noodle with miso soup and Hong Kong style noodles (P220). In homage to traditional ramen restaurants, this is the dish that they served first. Fans of pork-based soups are sure to love this because the broth is light yet tasty. The noodles are very thin, which goes well with the consistency of the soup. Be mindful of the size of the bowl, though; it is a pretty large serving that should be shared with some friends if you are intent on trying out the rest of their food.
Char Siu Noodle with miso soup and Hong Kong style noodles
The next dish was the Dong Bo Buns (P220). This set consists of fried mantou bread served with soy glazed pork, mustard, crushed peanuts and coriander. The buns are sliced open, so you can choose to eat it the way you would a burger. The pork is tasty with a slightly sweet flavor that goes well with the condiments that are served with it. This dish is also something I’d recommend as a good (take note: filling!) afternoon snack.
Dong Bo Buns
Their X.O. Radish Cakes (P180) is a fun and tricky dish that brings the what-are-you-even vibe to the table. I was unsure of what I was eating for awhile since the taste is reminiscent of tofu. Still, it’s a light, delicious vegetable dish that children won’t be too wary of eating (don’t tell them it’s radish if your kids are a little veggie-squeamish). It’s also perfect for vegetarians and healthy eaters because it is baked and served with assorted vegetables.
X.O. Radish Cakes
The 3 Cup Chicken (P220) is my absolute favorite. I can understand why this is so popular because the flavor is very much like that of a jazzed-up, more exciting chicken pandan. It’s slightly sweet and has a very comforting taste. The chicken is fried with ginger and garlic and served with crisp leafy vegetables. We had this and the radish cakes with their Beef Fried Rice (P160).
3 Cup Chicken
MU Noodle Bar’s desserts and drinks are also worth trying out. Their Frozen Fruit (P80) consists of fresh slices of frozen watermelon, melon, mango and pineapple. This refreshing dessert can easily be ordered in between meals as a palate cleanser. I also enjoyed their Mu Milky Cup (P80), which is basically delicious homemade cocounut ice cream topped off with crunchy corned flakes. You must not leave the restaurant without having some of their Frozen Tarragon Tea (P80), one of the best non-alcoholic drinks that I’ve had in a long time. It redefines the taste of the traditional lemon iced tea and provides you with a newer, cooler drinking experience. It is a drink that must be tried in order to be fully appreciated.
Mu Milky Cup
Frozen Tarragon Tea
“Foot traffic is getting better,” Martin says. “Most people who come here are families looking for some place to eat. At night, since we close late, we have couples looking for a place to drink. We’re also in the middle of expanding. We’re opening our second branch this third week of January in Glorietta 1.”
MU Noodle Bar is a good place to be. Its sleek and cozy ambiance will definitely help provide the mood for a comforting casual dining experience or a nice and quiet night out.