In Shinjuku Golden Gai, one of the deepest spots in Shinjuku, there is a popular 24-hour ramen restaurant called “Nagi,” which started as a once-a-week rented shop in 2004, gradually increasing its opening days to twice or thrice a week, and finally becoming a 24-hour, 365-day store someday. It would not be an exaggeration to say that it is now an indispensable restaurant in the Shinjuku Kabukicho area, the town that never sleeps.
I visited the restaurant early one weekend morning to try such an Sugoi Niboshi Ramen Nagi Shinjuku Golden Gai Main Shop. It was just about the time when the night stores were closing, and it was quite interesting to walk through its unique atmosphere…
Just a word, it is just so small! This is what the main building of “Sugoi Niboshi Ramen Nagi Shinjuku Golden Gai Main Shop” looks like this.
It was around 5:40 in the morning when I arrived at “Sugoi Niboshi Ramen Nagi Shinjuku Golden Gai Main Shop”. It was around 5:40 in the morning when I arrived at the main building of Nagi Shinjuku Golden Gai. However, I went up the narrow stairs to enter the restaurant on the second floor, and was told that the restaurant was “full”.
When the restaurant is full and you cannot enter, the rule is to form a line in the narrow alley next to the stairs of the restaurant. This alley also has quite an atmosphere…Shinjuku Golden Gai is a night town, so it is not at all surprising that people who are not used to it may feel “scared”. It is really nice that the area is open 24 hours a day.
After waiting outside for about 10 minutes, a waiter came down from above and invited us into the restaurant. But let me tell you something in advance. This restaurant is very small. The restaurant space is only about 3.5 square meters, including the kitchen and seating area, and there are 10 counter seats (according to the restaurant’s food log) crammed into that small space.
The space is so small that it is not a restaurant that anyone can casually use. It is not suitable for large luggage or for dining with friends. Well, not only this restaurant, but all the restaurants in Shinjuku Golden Gai are like this, and the distance between the staff and the customers is very close, which is a big advantage not found in other bars… If you want to use this restaurant, it would be better to come empty-handed and use it with up to two people at most. If you are going to use this restaurant, it would be better to use it with empty hands and with a maximum of two people.
Sugoi Niboshi Ramen: Thick Niboshi Ramen with more than 50g of dried sardines in a bowl, isn’t it hard to eat in the morning?
What I ordered this time at the main building of “Sugoi Niboshi Ramen Nagi Shinjuku Golden Gai Branch” was the restaurant’s signature dish, “Amazing Niboshi Ramen” (price: 1,000 yen including tax). Actually, I was targeting tsukemen this time. Too bad. I mean…
So they are doing kombu tsukemen at the thick niboshi ramen store. I couldn’t order it because it was sold out at that time, but I wanted to try kombu tsukemen since I haven’t had it since Ramen Tohichi. Speaking of which, this restaurant is open 24 hours a day. We can’t come here at the opening time like other restaurants. I wonder what time I can have it?
Let’s get back to the amazing niboshi ramen, shall we? When ordering this amazing niboshi ramen, the waiter asks you how to make it and whether you want sauce or not. The way it is made refers to the ratio of regular noodles to a wide range of “once noodles,” and by customizing the amount of the two types of noodles, you can enjoy noodles with different textures to your liking. The amount of noodles is increased in the order of “normal,” “a little more,” “more,” and “all,” but you can also leave it up to the chef, so first-timers can enjoy it as well. The sauce, on the other hand, is a combination of sardine extract and dozens of spices that have been left to rest for several days, and is said to add depth to the flavor of the dried sardines. However, if you don’t like spicy food, you might want to avoid it.
This time, I ordered “omakase,” the way it is made, with sauce. After waiting at the counter for a little over 5 minutes, the ramen arrived in front of me..
The soup is black and cloudy, and you can feel the richness of the dried sardines. To be honest, I don’t think this ramen “looks” good. The chopped green onion in the center of the bowl is covered with bright red sauce, and next to it is a noodle that looks to be about 4-5 cm wide… Although it doesn’t look good in the picture, this visual is enough to tell you that it is a very unique ramen, isn’t it?
Let’s start with the soup. At this point, however, I had been awake for less than an hour, and my trusty tongue was still in a state of sleep. I took a sip of the soup, wondering what would happen if I put the thick niboshi soup in my mouth in such a state. My sense is that the taste of soy sauce and the flavor of niboshi are about 1:1. Not only the flavor of the dried sardines, but also the taste of the dried sardines is strong, but in my half-asleep state, it doesn’t bother me much. The aroma is also not strongly stimulating, and the broth seems to go right into your body. Although more than 50 grams of dried sardines are used in one bowl of this thick soup, the peculiarity does not bother me so much when I wake up from sleep, and the soup goes down into my stomach easily.
The first thing I did was to lift up the regular noodles, and what came out of the soup were homemade, medium-thick noodles that had been hand-kneaded and lightly curled. The noodles absorb the soup well and are sticky when chewed, and the aroma of wheat, which can be recognized even when you wake up from sleep, spreads gently to your nose. The noodle has a good presence to match the rich niboshi soup, but there is a sign on the wall over the counter that says, “Additive ratio: 45% or more. I felt uncomfortable with this “water content of 45% or more” description. The noodles had a heavy wheat flavor, so…
So, I think the “water content of 45% or more” probably refers to these noodles. I think so. The texture is slippery and silky. The noodle is made from only the tasty part of the wonton skin, and there were 3 pieces in the package. It is indeed interesting to compare these two types of noodles, the regular noodles with a firm wheat texture and the once noodles with a silky texture. It would be interesting to be a maniac and eat them all as once noodles…
When I wanted more stimulation, I added some chopped green onion with spicy sauce… It was a morning activity with thick niboshi ramen, which could be a big failure if you are not careful, but you can wake up your body gradually at your own pace…. It was like eating a bowl of ramen at my own pace, and I was able to finish it more peacefully than I had imagined. It is less stimulating than morning curry, so it is good for when you want to give your body a little gentle cheering up after waking up from sleep… While you are casually eating ramen, you are unknowingly recharged with the nutrition of niboshi! It is not a bad ritual before commuting to work.
There is a more easily accessible annex nearby…Sugoi Niboshi Ramen Nagi Shinjuku Golden Gai – Main Shop is a short walk from the nearest station, Shinjuku Sanchome Station on the Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Line.
The main Shop of the Shinjuku Golden Gai branch of Sugoi Niboshi Ramen Nagi is like this. It is a great pity that some people cannot access the restaurant due to physical hurdles before the ramen is good or bad. If it is hard for you to go up the stairs or if you are carrying a large baggage, we honestly do not recommend you to use this restaurant.
However, if you still want to taste the super thick nibbled dried ramen, you should go to the main building! Then why don’t you try the Sugoi Niboshi Ramen Nagi Shinjuku Golden Gai Branch Annex, located a few minutes’ walk from the main building? The store is on the first floor, so it is easy to enter, and although it is not large, there is enough space for a regular ramen shop. You can order the signature dish, the amazing niboshi ramen, at the annex as well, so if you like niboshi soba, please give it a try.
Now, here are the details of the restaurant. Store data is here…
Address: 2F, 1-1-10 Kabukicho, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 160-0021
Phone number: 03-3205-1925
Business hours: Open 24 hours a day
Closed: Open year-round (with occasional holidays)
Parking: No parking lot
Credit card payment: Not accepted (meal ticket system)
From the East Exit of JR Shinjuku Station, it is a 6-minute walk.
P.S. If you are looking for delicious ramen in Tokyo, please stop by this article…