When we think of comfort food, authentic Japanese ramen is usually one of the first things that come to mind. Of course, the Filipino dishes that we grew up eating are right up there, too. Who would have thought that we’d get to have the best of both worlds in a bowl—or should we say in three equally wonderful bowls?

Untitled

Because July is the Philippines-Japan Friendship Month, your #favoriteramen Ramen Nagi brings us #ManilaKings—three different kinds of ramen that we were recently invited to try at their Podium branch.

First, there’s the BINAGOONGAN KING (available from July 1-10)—a fusion of traditional ramen and locally flavored bagoong, in tonkotsu broth served with seared eggplant, tomato and green chili, with a hint of spice and coconut cream plus slices of fried pork belly. We didn’t think that this bowl would be our favorite, but it was love at first slurp; definitely the king of kings for us!

Untitled
BINAGOONGAN KING

Second, there’s the BICOL EXPRESS KING (available from July 11-20)—a local favorite spicy cuisine with spicy chili in rich coconut milk, topped with crispy deep-fried pork belly, and slices of green and red chili. While it’s the hottest among the three, it’s not something that most people wouldn’t be able to handle (just make sure you don’t run out of drinks before you finish it :P). We loved how the meat stayed crispy until we finished our bowl.

Untitled
BICOL EXPRESS KING

Third, there’s the CHEESY CALDERETA KING (available from July 21-31)— a combination of traditional ramen served in thick caldereta sauce made of stewed pork, tomato sauce and spices, topped with potato, carrots, and sweet pepper garnished with grated cheese. We thought this was the most ulam-esque of the three. We wouldn’t be surprised if you end up ordering rice on the side (hey, no judgment :P).

Untitled
CHEESY CALDERETA KING

According to Marketing Manager Khae Espiritu, these creations took about a year to develop. It began with an inter-store competition among their chefs to concoct the best Filipino-inspired ramen. After they had selected the top three, it became a collaboration between the local chefs and their Japanese counterparts in Tokyo to further improve the recipes. The result? Fusion perfection!

The #ManilaKings are available for a limited time only, so go to a Ramen Nagi near you and try them while you can. Happy Philippines-Japan Friendship Month, everyone!

-Hazel Aguilon (The Foodie Station Correspondent)