The famed Ramen Nagi has opened its 1st outlet in Singapore at Suntec City Tower 2.
For a small country like Singapore, we are relatively populated with ramen eateries of all kinds. There are still sooooo many new ramen shops opening up in recent times, but few boost the same level of anticipation as Ramen Nagi.
A bit on its beginnings: Founder-Chef Ikuta Satoshi started his art of ramen making in a hole-in-the-wall ramen house in Fukuoka, Japan.
He made a name for serving a different type of ramen every day of the year (yes, all 365 days), and subsequently won the Tokyo Ramen of the Year Championship.
Finding favour among ramen fans, the ramen chain has since expanded throughout the region with 22 outlets in its native Japan, and 28 overseas branches in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Indonesia, the Philippines and now Singapore.
One thing to note is that Ramen Nagi frequently opens to long lines in the various cities, and its Shinjuku Golden Gai Flagship Shop still continues to enjoy queues.
I initially thought I would get lost finding the restaurant at Suntec City, but it was right out there next to the taxi stand at Tower 2, near the roundabout.
Diners can customise their ramen on the “Omotenashi sheet” such as the richness of soup, spiciness level, firmness of noodles, heaviness of sauce, amount of garlic, and choice of pork shoulder char shu or belly.
For a first timer, the recommendation is to pick “normal” for the various options.
To get you familiar with Ramen Nagi’s offerings, these are 4 signature Ramen King bowls.
Original BUTAO King ($13.90)
For the most fundamental taste of the award-winning tonkotsu pork broth, I will recommend the Original BUTAO King. (“Buta” means pork, and “O” means king.)
This was one tonkotsu broth that I genuinely liked, appearing creamy collagen-filled, with texture that was velvety smooth.
The soup itself was lush and bursting with savoury umami, rich yet not overly jelak. So much so that I finished almost till the last drop.
The local store did not adjust the saltiness level and would be the same as in Japan (at least in the first month of operations). I can imagine some local customers may find the broth slightly salty, but I personally am accustomed to Japanese ramen and found the level acceptable.
As for the noodles, they are made locally in a central kitchen and belong to the long, straight and eggy type.
I found it very close to another famous ramen brand (staring with “I”) – the Hakata type I enjoy. This is especially so when there was a customisable portion of homemade spicy fire sauce added on the noodles.
My only main feedback would be that amount of noodles could be reduced 10-20%, in proportion to the soup.
Black King ($15.90)
This was my second favourite bowl, with fragrant blackened garlic and squid in a silky broth.
Compared to the earlier in which the soup base had a cleaner taste, this was the opposite, especially when you mix the black ball completely in.
You get an irresistibly complex mix of fragrant squid ink, black sesame, silky tonkotsu broth, some minced meaty pork and certain kicks of Nagi spiciness.
Red King ($15.90)
A blend of garlic, chilli oil and cayenne pepper in the tonkotsu broth for a relatively high level of spiciness.
The red ball of ‘fire’ is miso-infused minced pork with select Nagi cayenne. So be careful about making too much in. Test by trying first.
I found the spiciness overpowering the original appetising flavours of the broth, but those who love your noodles fiery should find this hotter than the average ramen.
Green King ($15.90)
Something not quite the ordinary, with a marriage of fresh basil and olive oil, garnished with grated parmesan cheese.
This has a modern, unique taste, reminding me of pesto.
Other side dishes you can look forward to include Gyoza ($7.50) and Chicken Karaage ($9,00).
Most of the ingredients used are air flown from Japan, noodles made in Singapore, while even the water goes through a special treatment to make it softer.
One highlight of Ramen Nagi is that it will continuously introduce seasonal flavours, so those looking forward to its other signature flavours (hopefully the Niboshi will come soon) may just have to wait in anticipation.
But now, the BUTAO first.
Suntec City Tower 2, North Wing, #01-512/513, Singapore 038989 (next to the North Atrium taxi stand)
Opening Hours: 11am – 3pm, 5pm – 10pm Last Order 30 mins before closing (Mon – Sun)
* This post is brought to you in partnership with Ramen Nagi Singapore.