Ramen Nagi: Hot ramen under the rain

Ramen Nagi, UP Town Center
It's that season again in the Philippines, where the skies are gray and the nights are cold. It's during times like these when I would crave for a nice, hot bowl of ramen. It made the choice easier when Ramen Nagi started to advertise their new limited ramen, a level 10 spiciness level bowl of hotness called the Nagoya King. Ramen Nagi normally has "limited edition" kings, or ramen flavors, which change every few months. The word Nagi (凪) means a calm (like at sea), which describes the feeling perfectly when you sit at their table while the rain is pouring outside. It's a franchise from Japan, and we are friends with one of the owners of the franchise in the Philippines, Tanaka-san, which is why we frequent this place a lot.
Nagoya King P450
This ramen is automatically set to have a level 10 in the spice meter. You can't adjust it, so for those who are weak to spicy food, you can opt to ask for an extra bowl of their regular soup to dilute the taste. The thing that makes this different from their other ramen is that it has minced pork, so you can't choose to have a shoulder or belly part in their order sheet as well. I personally enjoyed this ramen, especially since I'm a big fan of spicy food. I just wished that they stuck with some variation using sliced pork, since the minced pork has a weird texture.

Original King - Butao P390
On to the regular ramen. This is their classic bowl, the Butao. Butao means pork king, which makes it the perfect name as it has tonkotsu pork-broth prepared in the traditional method, which took hours to extract the flavor from pork marrow. This is the lightest and least oily ramen in their menu, but it doesn't skimp on the flavor. It has noodles and chashu pork, along with the usual condiments.

Red King - Akao P410
This is their signature spicy ramen which is available at all times in different seasons, the Akao, which means red king. This is quite obvious from the soup color, which is as spicy as it looks. It comes with a giant ball of red goodness, which you can grind to disseminate that flavor in the bowl. This ramen is quite heavy and oily, but ramen isn't ramen if it's not swimming in the oil from pork. That's what makes it so delicious.

Chicken Karaage P250
Of course, we also tried out a side dish to go together with the ramen. Between a P220 gyoza or this, this was definitely more filling. Fried chicken served with cabbage and mayonaise - as if all the fattening things we ate today weren't enough. Light and crunchy on the outside; soft, chewy, juicy and perfectly cooked chicken on the inside.

Ramen Nagi prides itself with the quality of their ramen, which explains their no take-out policy, because the quality of the ramen might degrade over time. Which is why we had to devour every last sip of their flavorful, heavenly ramen because it might be a while before it graces our taste buds again. This is one of the best specialty ramen chains in Manila, and they have quite a name in Japan as well. They have no shortage of branches in the metro, so drop by and try their limited kings before they go.

Name: Ramen Nagi

- UP Town Center, Katipunan Ave Loyola Heights, Quezon City
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