RAMEN | すごい煮干ラーメン凪 (‘Awesome’ Niboshi Ramen Nagi)

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The Shinjuku joint of ramen whiz-kid Ikuda-san, who is best known here in town as the man that brought along the local favourite Butao. In today’s Japan, however, this Niboshi (dried infant sardines/anchovies) joint is actually now more what Nagi is known for, as probably Tonkotsu ramen has passed its peak there and mostly being associated with the renowned brands from Kyushu anyway. On that note, quite a few quality Niboshi ramen brands has actually been mushrooming in Greater Tokyo in the recent years, and have been keeping their popularity since. Being its robust self and opening around the clock here in the legendary Kabukicho neighbourhood, however, Nagi certainly brought along a rock n’ roll version of this usually subtle soup base, most commonly used as a ‘dashi’. Claimed to be using some 60x more Niboshi comparing with its peers and thus giving out a strong smoky taste, adding on top a killer dried seafood chili paste, this is certainly a rock star style Niboshi ramen no less, and fittingly named as the ‘Awesome’ Niboshi Ramen (formerly called Niboshi King). The ramen being used was another crowd pleaser being chewy, curly and thick, very effective in soaking up the robust soup base and yet giving out a very balanced texture as a result. The biggest pleasant surprise, though, is the one piece flat pasta that sits on top, which resembles a wonton pastry, and holds the chilli paste. It is like a bowl of mixed pasta in the end but certainly a very successful blend. As Nagi now finally has a store in its own namesake locally here in town after all the legal fanfare, it will be nice to see this signature dish being offered as well. Probably yet another potential addition to the local ramen scene, which is now fast becoming the ramen capital outside of Japan.

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