Staying away from meals that seem designed to please the Instagram dallas filipino restaurant crowd is a wise decision.
We apologize for being presumptive assholes. 2 out of 3 of Ramen Nagi’s limited edition bowls are the sort of things that are genius, and deserve a permanent spot on a menu somewhere (we didn’t get a chance to try their binagoongan, but judging by the quality of these 2, it was also probably ace). They were memorable, inventive, and above all, infinitely delicious. Here’s to these bowls that were gone too soon, designed in the form of a plea to Ramen Nagi to bring back these bad boys.
Bicol Express King
The in-your-face umami of Ramen Nagi’s Butao Kings can translate to saltiness for some, but the addition of coconut milk to their usual tonkotsu broth tunes out some of the those brash savory notes without sacrificing flavor. The result is a more fluid version of Bicol express: porky, fatty, and pleasantly creamy. Instead of chashu, surprisingly crunchy lobes of lechonkawali adorn the bowl, together with slivers of their standard kikurage (wood ear mushroom) and an abundance of chopped fresh green and red chili. It’s a super potent combination that is identical to the stew that it’s supposed to represent, spice and all.
Cheesy Kaldereta King
This one is obviously the offering that’s made most skeptical, but surprisingly, Ramen Nagi has translated kaldereta into a super approachable bowl of ramen. They’ve added tomato sauce to their tonkotsu, cut up some chewy, crispy pork(which we suspect is the same lechonkawali recipe as the bowl above), and tossed it together with bell peppers to recreate the distinct taste of kaldereta. It is zero percent funky, and works extremely well. The grated Filipino-style quick-melt cheddar on top seems to be an odd choice, but it works—mixing it in manages to make an already thick broth even thicker, and adds a recognizable cheesiness to the whole thing.