I’ve never tried Ramen Nagi (known as Butao in HK) since it opened late last year because of the crowds and long waiting times. The first time I ever considered trying to get in was after our visit to Magnum Manila, that was a bust and we ended up in Love Shack. The next time we tried to get a table was after our sneak taste of the new summer flavors at at Bono Gelato. We decided to go at around 5:30 since there were 13 of us, so we knew getting a table was going to be quite difficult.
We proceeded to queue up, we were 4 or 5 in line and that was quite good since turnover at Ramen Nagi was pretty fast. A table for 4 was offered to us and we decided to let Jane’s 3 kids go in, sit and eat first. We got our table for 10 about 10-15 minutes after, not bad for a big group.
I love the vibrant atmosphere inside Ramen Nagi. The colors and the decor also helped set the ramen joint mood.
Ramen Nagi serves four kinds of ramen regularly, the Butao King, Black King, Red King and Green King. They also have limited offerings called Limited King which included Curry Ramen, Truffle ramen and some other variants. I’m not too keen on the Red King and the Green King but I’d be open to sharing the green with a couple of people. Putting pesto in my ramen is a bit too far out for me.
Each person is given an order sheet like this together with a pen/pencil where you can just encircle your order, extras and customizations. If you can’t decide on the customizations, you can just check “Chef’s Recommendation”. After completing the checklist, write your name and hand it over to the waitstaff. I suggest always having your noodles, hard or extra hard. The al dente doneness of the noodles will make it last longer especially if you are a slow eater.
I got the Black King (P410) which has squid ink in its broth. I ordered an extra Tamago (P50) on the side, it did not look that nice but once you slice in half, the yolk oozes out, perfection. The bowl of ramen might be a shocking sight for some, the broth is thick and black almost looking like sludge. Scoop a bit of the broth and all unappealing visuals will be excised from you mind. The broth is strong and flavorful with loads of umami flavor. The toppings are generous as you can see above, and these are just the regular portions.
I was actually debating whether to get the shoulder or belly part for the pork, the pork belly won out. It was a great choice as the included a big slab of pork belly with just a smidgen of fat on top. The belly was quite tender even if it was served as a thick slab, I’m just not too sure why they don’t slice it like the other ramen joints do. Just a side note, if you want to get the shoulder part, it is thinly sliced (think sukiyaki thin).
Digging in, I find Ramen Nagi’s regular bowl of ramen on the large size, I did not even think of ordering extra noodles. The noodles are of the thin variety, similar to the ones I encountered at Ippudo. I like my ramen noodles on the thicker side of things but despite that I really enjoyed my bowl overall.
They have all sorts of items to further customize your ramen once it arrives on your table, the most interesting thing are the garlic. They even give you a garlic press so you smash the garlic in a paste like consistency and squeeze it onto your ramen if your prefer.
Irene and Lauren are less adventurous with their ramen so they each got a bowl of the Butao King. Lauren as usual still prefers her all time favorite Ukokkei, Irene enjoyed her bowl though. I had a little sip of the broth and found it tasty but I’d imagine it would be better if I had not eaten the Black King first.
Overall, Ramen Nagi Manila serves one of the best bowls of ramen in the Philippines. There’s always a bit of wait unless you go there at really odd hours like 3 or 4 in the afternoon. Hopefully, the lines will get shorter once they open more branches.
Ramen Nagi ManilaSky Park, 5th Level SM Aura Premier Taguig City, Philippines Contact No.: (02) 828-6793 Other Branch – SM Mall of Asia
Facebook: Ramen Nagi Manila
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I think what makes Ramen Nagi/Butao unique is the kind of ramen they serve. They’ve veered off from the regular ones (although they still need to put in on their menu) and offered a unique option of the green and the black and the red and the special.
I tried their Green King and liked it. I didn’t love it because I know that I won’t crave for it instantly unlike the regular ramens around but it was really different and I enjoyed the taste. If you like pesto, then imagine drinking pesto soup! There’s that twist that you’d enjoy once in a while. Panget enjoyed his Black king BUT then after an hour felt tummy aches – I think it must be that his tummy is sensitive.
I have YET to try Ukokkei. Hahaha!!!
I think I will get flak for saying this – but I don’t think Ramen Nagi is one of the best. Hahaha!! I may need to try Butao in HK to taste the actual thing. Also, I didn’t mind the wait – I think its in our culture that we are very impatient. But see, diba in 15 minutes you get seated? Pwede na.. Considering its queueing. I like queueing, very disciplined and civilized. Also I’m open to the option of sharing a table. When I visited early this year – gosh, may customers na REFUSED to sit with another group! As in nainis pa..
why should you get flak. Taste is subjective, what tastes good for one person might not taste good for the another. I enjoy it despite the thin style of noodles.
Sharing a table is super common especially if you’ve traveled before. If those people do not want to share, they’d better order enough to cover the open spaces on their table.
Sugar and Spice says
I’ll split a GREEN KING with you & Irene any day Richard hehe! Lezzgoooo!!! I miss it already huhuhu!!!
Yehey, but hold the spice level.
Jorens Leong says
Just ate there at the SM Pampanga branch here at Pampanga with my mom, she ordered the Red King and I ordered the Black. Soup’s heavy and so rich. the noodles were spot on. Squid ink is good for your thyroid, iodine rice and anti-goiter. The meat was surprisingly tender. 4th level spicy is a go!!
I don’t have the taste buds for the Red King.