When speaking of Japanese cuisine, we have two hit dishes which would be the ramen and katsu. It is all over Metro Manila now where local versions and international franchises would show up very fast that it has been very challenging to catch up with the craze. I’m just glad that my father is addicted to ramen so we would usually have a ramen meal whenever they visit. On the weekend of my birthday, I was planning on where to eat and my sister suggested that we eat at Ramen Nagi. I haven’t tried it out so why not?
To be honest, I have no idea about Ramen Nagi so I started reading other blogs about it (history, menu, what to order, recommendations). It also helped that it was featured in KrisTV that week so I got to know more.
One thing that you should be prepared for when you plant to dine at Ramen Nagi is the long waiting lines. I passed by their restaurant during lunch and the waiting list was very long. We passed by again mid afternoon, and there were still people waiting so we already enlisted ourselves to the waiting list for dinner. Still, at dinnertime, it took a while before our names got called. So what is it about that people are willing to wait in line for it?
Ramen Nagi’s Menu is a checklist. Unlike other ramen restaurants where you get to pick what pre-made combinations you, Ramen Nagi presents five (5) types of Ramen and you are free to customize everything on your ramen! From the soup, firmness of the noodles, sauce, pork slices, just check how you want your ramen to be done and they will do it for you. But, if you want to be safe, you can simply choose the “Chef Recommendation” which is the default setting for their ramen.
For example, we have two versions of their Butao King, which is their best seller, the first one would be the Chef’s recommendation while the second one has been customized. I only took a few sips from the Butao King and to be honest, my initial reaction was “why does this taste like the soup of batchoy?!” It came as a surprise as I didn’t expect that. I had to take a few more sips just to be sure but it had this saltiness that triggers my “batchoy” familiarity.
Next up would be the black king, which had squid and lots of garlic. I also just took sips and this one, I liked as much as I like squid ink. I believe that squid ink makes a lot of dishes great! Be it on rice, pasta, pizza and now i know, ramen.
As they have already picked the Butao King and Black King, I was left with Green King or Red King (didn’t notice limited king at that time). Pesto and Cheese or Spicy… Although I had my reservations about pesto and cheese that I would not like it, I picked it over spicy as I’m really sure I won’t survive nor finish the dish if I were to pick that. Just a side note, they have 12 levels of spiciness from 0, 1/2, 1, 2 to 10. My bro-in-law told me that he tried just 2 and it was already spicy hot! So I’m afraid of what 10 would bring.
So Green King it is for me! I also tried to customize it but I ended up choosing normal on the menu. Oh yeah, I also picked Belly and I learned something new that day. Chashu (what we usually see on ramen) actually comes from the shoulder of the pork; I always thought it was from the belly. But despite my mistake, I glad I made that mistake because I loved the pork belly that was swimming in the yummy broth. I don’t know how they did it but the combination didn’t feel like it was out-of-place. In fact, they were perfect! It offered something different than all the ramen that I have tried before and I would go back just to eat this again.
Ahh as a side dish, I also ordered tamago or their soft boiled egg. I just chopped it in half and threw it into my ramen.
There you have it! I’m glad we dined at Ramen Nagi because I can say that it was really worth the wait!.
Till next time,
SM Aura Premier
5/F SM Aura Premier, McKinley Parkway
McKinley Hill, Taguig
Restaurant by Location: SM Aura Premier