Enjoying a hot bowl of ramen during the rainy season is one of the most comforting things you can do while the heavy rains hit the streets of Metro Manila. Slurping the warm broth is the best way to beat the cold weather blues. Rainy days make the perfect #RamenWeather. However, as much as you want to indulge a bowl of ramen, it is too expensive.
This motivated the owner Angelo Limpo to open his own restaurant that offers affordable, student-friendly bowls of ramen he crafted himself. Limpo opened his first branch of Ramen Naijiro in the busy area of Taft Avenue, Manila.
Ramen Naijiro seemed inconspicuous among the houses in the street, but if you look where people were headed, you’ll know that they are heading to the restaurant. The façade of this new hole-in-the-wall ramen house will welcome you with their minimalist Japan-inspired design. They have a large vertical signboard of the restaurant’s name and some portraits of their products, while the counter is ornated with small plants, candle, and fountain to complete the minimalist look. The restaurant can cater to at least 20 people, with tables set outside and bar-style tables inside the place.
Students and residents can easily drop by because the restaurant is just near St. Scholastica’s College, De La Salle Taft, and De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde. It’s just a street away from Vito Cruz.
Ramen Naijiro’s beginnings
What started as a hobby of cooking and selling food in their office blossomed to a full-time career when Limpo left his corporate job to do what he loves –cooking. He learned cooking his recipe through countless trials with the help of YouTube videos, articles, and books about cooking the Japanese staple.
Tasty bowls of ramen at a student-friendly price
Limpo maintains that he is not an authentic ramen restaurant. With the vision that he wanted people to enjoy the goodness of ramen even on normal days, he continued to pursue the business. He shared that most people won’t eat ramen unless it’s payday, citing his experiences before as a corporate employee.
“Ang akin naman, why not [have a] ramen, na kahit hindi sahod, kaya mong kumain,” Limpo said.
Ramen Naijiro serves hot bowls of six varieties of ramen with options of regular and large sizes. You can avail a bowl for as low as P120. With affordable prices, students are encouraged to try out their ramen as well.
Of the six available varieties, we got to taste their best sellers: Tonkatsu Ramen, Tantanmen, and their specialty ramen Naijiro Red Ramen. Limpo recommends that first-timers can try their best-sellers so they can check out what Ramen Naijiro has to offer.
The restaurant’s Tonkatsu Ramen (P120-Regular, P155-Large) has a rich savory broth that has the salty, meaty taste you usually taste on your Tonkatsu Ramen. The noodles surprisingly have its own flavor, too, even though they do not make their own noodles. The tonkatsu is grilled, like the barbecue-grilled meat, but you may find it hard to eat the meat with chopsticks, so better practice your chopsticks skills. The bowl is filled with your usual ramen ingredient tamago, seaweed, and bamboo shoots.
Insider tip: Pair your ramen with an order of their gyoza (P65 for three pieces) and enjoy the contrast of crispy gyoza and delightful broth in your mouth.
Tantanmen Ramen (P120-Regular, P165-Large) is also one of their best-sellers. If you love ramen that has that mild kick of spiciness, you should try their Tantanmen Ramen. It has a glossy soup topped with bean sprouts, seaweed, and ground meat.
If you want to push your taste buds to the maximum spice level, you should give Naijiro Red Ramen (P220) a try. It’s the combined forces of ramen ingredients sprinkled with spice powder with a big meatball as its centerpiece. It may look intimidating, but the taste is definitely worth the try. Imagine the kick in Tantanmen Ramen, but a little bit spicier.
Insider tip: You may pair your Naijiro Red Ramen with their drinks. If you want to let the spiciness subside, Pink Lemonade (P30-Regular, P40-Large) might do the trick.
Ramen Naijiro has just opened but there are already plans of possible expansions in some areas in Manila. Who knows? You might soon find this ramen house near you.
Who would like to take in this new ramen spot? Tag them in the comments below!