CNBLUE Tokyo pictures made me do this. Jungshin’s, Minhyuk’s, and Yonghwa’s IG posts of ramen and other stories made me drool
over them and crave a decent ramen fix. I wanted something light and savory and filling. Something that feels like a hug on the insides since I am forbidden from drinking coffee these days.
Nagi Izakaya opened last May, and it waves hello to me whenever I am on my way to SM Megamall. It is located on The Podium’s ground floor and its DRINK SAKE EAT RAMEN neon sign makes it hard to miss. Just in case you’re wondering, it’s brought to us by the same people who brought us Ramen Nagi. It depicts an informal Japanese bar that serves alcohol and snacks where people would want to unwind after work, hence its name.
But I went there during lunch hour, on a family day when I was forbidden alcoholic drinks. Plus I had umami cravings. Jungshin’s IG story didn’t help either.
So it easily became Ramen Sunday.
I ordered the Truffle King, one of the four wonder ramens they offer, a huge bowl of mushroom goodness that can easily feed two people. I even asked for a little bowl because I might not be able to finish everything but it turns out that I was, yet again, underestimating myself. It’s made of tonkotsu broth infused with truffle oil and mushroom sauce topped with thinly sliced pork loin, lettuce, red cabbage, and freshly shaved truffle. Just from the first sip of the broth and I knew it was the bowl of hug I was pining for. It was a welcome change of flavor and a break-free from the usual salty ramen I would eat before. There was a tinge of spiciness, but the kind that didn’t set my sweat glands on fire. It’s the gentle kind of spicy, something you’d only notice when it finally trickled down your throat.
On the side, I also ordered grilled Fresh Shiitake Mushroom, and now I know why my vegan friends love them so much. It tasted like chicken, juicy and tender and chewy on the mouth. For my beverage, I asked for a non-alcoholic drink called Hoshi No Flamenco which contains things that I’ve only ever read and seen in Asian books I’ve read and doramas I’ve watched – hoshiko, lime cordial, soda water and Shiso leaves. The first sip reminded me of the herbal juice that I was forced to drink when I was a kid and suffered from coughs and colds, but the taste gets better as I drank more. Again, it was a foreign taste to me and I am grateful I didn’t ask for the one that has mango puree in it.
Nagi Izakaya gave me a whole new definition of ramen. I haven’t been to Ramen Nagi so it’s probably going to be my next stop for another ramen fix.
Verdict? A definite must-try. A go-to. I would definitely go back again when I am allowed to drink sake again. Sounds like a date to me. 😎