Disclaimer: This review is only applicable to SM Aura branch circa 2014. I have tried Ramen Nagi at Robinsons Ermita Mall and it was one of the worst Ramen experiences I’ve had in my life. Maybe the worst. So this review is only reflective of SM Aura branch.
Everyone’s been riding on a Ramen roller coaster craze here in Manila. It’s akin to the milk tea craze back in the 2009 (exact year escapes me) and now there are ramen places mushrooming everywhere. Unlike milk tea which one can only mix so much, the local and ordinary ramen was thrown into a melting pot of culinary creativity and err experimentation! I liked my good old fashioned Ramen with – no fuzz, no swirls, just me, soup, pork and noodles. What more could a ramen purist ask for, right?
Well that all changed when I tried Butao Ramen in Hong Kong last September 2013 (which will be on a follow up post soon!). I have also tried Ukkokei Ramen’s Tantanmen (which was my current fave that time and deserved a separate post) so I was eager to try this famous ramen place. Ramen again is something which I don’t particularly crave unlike say, cake or something (oh you Desser-loving Tiff!).
So to the advise of my fellow foodie adventurers, we lined up 30 minutes before at Butao and were the first customers in line. Glad to say, the wait was worth it as I tasted the most delicious fusion Ramen I have ever tasted in my life. So when I heard that they decided to invade the Philippine Ramen scene, I was all “YES PLEASE BOMBARD US WITH RAMEN GOODNESS OH LORD ALMIGHTY!” But my inner pessimist and skeptic said “You know, it might not taste as good as the one in Hong Kong, just saying.”
Throwing all worries away, my optimistic self dashed into the doors of Ramen Nagi. To be more precise, I debated and convinced my mom to go to SM Aura since we were in the vicinity and I knew she loved new things and we’ve never been to SM Aura before. Then I sneakily suggested to climb up all the way to the rooftop (why is Ramen Nagi located so far away O_O) and try Ramen Nagi. At first we were a little lost but thankfully despite it being located at the edge of the mall, we found it, thank goodness to those signs!
Small group or big group, small dude or big dude, Ramen Nagi is a place for everyone! Not sure if they accept reservations as there usually is a long line. But go there before peak hours and I guarantee that you’ll get a seat. My mom and I went there at 5:30pm and surprisingly, they weren’t full!
Ramen Nagi and their chain of ramen restaurants are famous for their standard selection of 4 ramen dishes:
1. Butao King – original Pork-based dish. Not much fuss and actually my favorite. The ramen purist rejoices!
2. Black King – Squid ink pork-based dish. For the adventurous!
3. Red King – For the spicy lovers. Dish will definitely make you HOT!
4. Green King – Ramen pesto dish still in the pork-based soup dish. Why didn’t they think of putting pesto before? It’s a classic European-Asian dish. Must try!
But the beauty of Ramen Nagi is the customer’s participation. People love their free will so give them a menu that they can play around it and you’ve got a stellar restaurant. You can customize your ramen dish in every way imaginable. Heck probably the only thing you can’t customize is the size of the bowl. Don’t forget to also ask for a menu too! The Philippine Ramen Nagi branch offers other things other than ramen which makes our branches very unique too. They also offer a Limited King which changes every few months or so. Didn’t see this in the Hong Kong branch AND also good news, I think our branch offers the CHEAPEST ramen dishes from all the franchise. One ramen bowl in Hong Kong can cost you as much as 700 bucks! INSANE. Thank goodness for its affordability here!
Photo c/o beckybygollywow
If you’re confused and don’t know HOW to order, you can always get the chef’s recommendation. I usually choose this since I like my ramen fuss free. But in my opinion, the richness of taste shouldn’t be too rich so I’d make it normal. I’d also add an egg in the ramen dish as well.
WARNING: As for spiciness, 1 Spicy is already TOO SPICY for most people. So unless you’re a seriously hot person or someone who loves spicy foods, stick with 1 Spicy or none.
So here’s our Limited Curry King! OH CURRY I LOVE THEE! My mom and I weren’t that hungry so we shared a bowl. Ramen Nagi staff will provide an extra bowl but won’t be able to split it into two so you have to manually transfer it to the other bowl. No biggie, we can handle splitting ourselves. Just wish they could have accommodated us, you know?
Oh this dish was heaven! The soup base was just the way I imagined it but add the curry and it has an extra kick to it. The soup may look oily but it wasn’t a problem for me and my mom. We didn’t leave feeling thirsty or what so I’m guessing they used good oil. If you need to add anything else, your table will be equipped with various condiments. You can even mix them yourself. Ask the waiter/waitress if you need any help.
Ramen Nagi also offers Gyoza! It may be off menu so you have to ask the waitress for it. Unlike Ukkokei’s gyoza, these are big delicious beauties and a great appetizer/companion to your ramen dish. It’s a big generous serving for two!
So I think after splitting, our bill was just a fraction of what I ordered in Hong Kong. It was a good 300PHP++ meal per person. I’d definitely rate this experience as one of my best restaurant experience in the Philippines! Can’t wait to go back! Service was top notch, delivery was perfect, taste was exquisite, bellies were satisfied. Definitely the BEST RAMEN PLACE in town!
Address: 5th Level, SM Aura Premier, McKinley Parkway corner 26th St., Bonifacio Global City, Taguig
Do let me know how your experience went by leaving a comment! 🙂