Here's the Right Way to Enjoy a Good Bowl of Ramen, According to the Founder of Ramen Nagi
The new Ramen Nagi noodle shop at One Bonifacio High Street in BGC sports a different look from its other branches in the country—and it's the first of its kind for the worldwide brand. The look is sleek and sophisticated, a far cry from the traditional noodle bars in Japan.
But the basics are the same. According to Ramen Nagi founder Chef Ikuta Satoshi, the steps to enjoying a good bowl of ramen are universal: “Taste the broth, season with a generous amount of spicy sauce, enjoy the noodles and slurp to show the chef your appreciation.” Even at this upscale location, he says that slurping isn't just acceptable; it's welcome.
The concept store with its bright, modern interiors will be the first to offer their two premium Ramen bowls: the Truffle King Ramen, redolent with the aroma of truffles to whet the appetite for the tonkotsu-based broth; and the extra-spicy Szechuan Ramen that offers a smooth, slow burn soothed by its rich broth. The Truffle Ramen, we were told, is exclusive to the concept shop through December; it will be rolled out to other branches in 2019.
Chef Ikuta admits that he was surprised by the reception that Ramen Nagi got in the Philippines. “I wasn’t expecting much. I thought we would get about five shops maximum and we will be okay, and now we have opened this new shop with a new look because we were told that it will be beside the Philippine Stock Exchange and the market is a little higher than the usual. We have these interiors to fit the market we will have here.”
He explains that the reason for the surprise is that they do not change the recipe for the country that they go to, and he is happy that it is enjoyed by different types of people, so they have a wide range of customers.
Chef Riyoichi Nishio, who was on hand to help Chef Ikuta prepare their limited edition Truffle King Ramen and Szechuan Ramen, describes a good bowl of ramen: “I think that each element should come together, each part of the Ramen should be made very well. The soup should be piping-hot, the noodles should be boiled correctly, and the other ingredients should be cooked with care so they will be delicious.”
With ingredients like Szechuan sauce and basil pesto (for the Green King ramen), the noodle shop is becoming known as the modern version of the Japanese art of ramen making. Chef Ikuta, who started the concept in Fukuoka, Japan, explains his concept of bringing the food tradition to the rest of the world. “Our tagline at Ramen Nagi is Universal Noodle. We want to be universally accepted so everybody can now enjoy ramen.”
He adds that the noodle food culture came from China and landed in Japan, and from that it evolved into Udon, Soba, and Ramen. Now, ramen has its own culture. “Historically, it is a transformation from another food culture. So, when Ramen Nagi goes to other countries, we have what they want, what they prefer in term of ingredients. If you call this modernizing it, that that is okay. But, whatever the ingredients we use, we are still loyal to the traditional style of tonkotsu. We do not compromise on this, we prepare it traditionally, and when we add to that, we feel that it is something that anyone would like to eat.”
2/F One Bonifacio High Street, 28th street corner 5th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City