[Shanghai Girl Eats] Universal Noodle Nagi ラーメン凪 纳吉拉面

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ラーメン凪 纳吉拉面 Universal Noodle Nagi | Dianping
Address: 3/F, K11, 300 Huaihai Zhong Lu / 淮海中路300号K11购物艺术中心3楼
Date visited: 2016.07 for dinner (open for lunch and dinner)
Price: Ramen RMB60-68 per bowl (<RMB100 per person)
Will return: Yes

Except for the occasional scallion oil noodles and spaghetti meatballs, I eat rice 98% of the time. Ramen has to be exceptional to earn a spot in my carb allotment. With that said, as a rice person, I consider this ramen delicious enough to postpone rice for. This is really good stuff.

There are four, sometimes five subject to availability, ramen offerings:

  1. Original King (RMB60) signature tonkotsu (pork bone) broth + ball of minced pork
  2. Spicy King (RMB68) tonkotsu broth with garlic, chili oil, and cayenne pepper + ball of cayenne minced pork
  3. Dark King (RMB68) blackened garlic and calamari ink broth + ball of black sesame minced pork
  4. Green King (RMB65) tonkotsu broth with basil and olive oil and grated parmesan cheese (no ball of minced pork)
  5. Special King, which you have to ask about but I have never asked about.

After choosing your ramen base, you can customize components such as richness of the soup, degree of spiciness, thick or thin noodles, firmness, and assorted toppings.

Universal Noodle Ramen Nagi

My usual bowl is a Spicy King (RMB68) with the following:

  • Richness (1-5): 2. I prefer thinner soup over rich dense soup.
  • Special sauce (none, light, normal, heavy, extra heavy): normal
  • Garlic (none, light, normal, heavy, extra heavy): normal
  • Pork (none, shoulder, belly): belly. The shoulder comes as a few slices while the belly is one chunk.
  • Vegetable (none, green onion, cabbage): green onion. I once attempted to add another dose of green onion (additional RMB6) but it was way too much green onion to soup.
  • Homemade fire sauce (none, 1-5): none. Since the base is already Spicy King, I usually don’t add any more spicy. This is more of an option for those ordering a non-spicy base.
  • Noodles (thin or thick): thin and extra hard
  • Extras: add egg (additional RMB10)

I also tried the Dark King (RMB68), which was surprisingly good but since the broth is inherently denser to begin with, it is not something I can drink a whole bowl of. It is more garlicky than squid-inky. This is good for those who prefer a really rich broth.

Universal Noodle Ramen Nagi

The pork belly can be a hit or miss. I have gotten pieces with perfect fat-to-lean ratio and pieces that are disproportionately fatty. An inherent risk with choosing pork belly but I am not bothered by it.

Universal Noodle Ramen Nagi

Overall, great ramen in a convenient location. The shop does not take reservations and there is usually a queue during typical meal hours. The lunch line is actually longer than the dinner line due to the lunch rush from K11 and surrounding office buildings. I don’t recommend going with a lot of people or you will get stuck waiting for a large table to open up — 1-2 people can easily get a seat at the counter or share a table. And don’t wear white.