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COMPASS MAGAZINE > November 2014

Oishii! Slurpingly-good ramen around town--Nagi Pork Rib Ramen, Just Noodle, Noodle House Kotetsu, Le Shan Niang

By Sharon Chang
Translated by Angela Cheng

Nagi Pork Rib Ramen

120, HeNan Rd, Sec 3, 3F, Xitun Dist. (Tiger City); (04) 3606-2511
Hours: Thu-Sun 11 am-10 pm; Fri & Sat 11 am-11 pm
Credit cards accepted.
10% service charge.
Parking lot available.

This Japanese chain restaurant, very popular in Tokyo and Hong Kong, offers noodle-thickness, soup and pork options. One of four "kings", the classic, best-seller "Pork King" ramen is made the old traditional way--pork-rib broth is cooked with the noodles, which absorb the fresh pork-back oil. The "Black King" includes squid ink and black sesame, while the "Red King" uses the original broth with added spicy oil, chili, garlic, ground pork and mature miso. "Green King" adds basil to the original broth, served with olive oil and sprinkled with a lot of cheese powder for an exotic flavor. There's also a fresh-flavored "limited king" ramen (only 200 bowls per week) to surprise customers.

A: The authentic Pork King is Nagi's core offering.

B: Red King starts with a mildly-spicy, but not hot, flavor and finishes on a sweet note with spicy red colors. For a real challenge, order the highest "10" spiciness level.

C: The Black King includes a delicious pork rib and seafood flavored soup.

Nagi Pork Rib RamenA.. Nagi Pork Rib RamenB. Nagi Pork Rib RamenC.


Just Noodle

166-57, XiTun Rd, Sec 3, Xitun Dist.
(04) 2462-0822
Hours: 11 am-9 pm
Cash only.
No service charge.

The eponymous "Just Noodles" here has a refreshing soup plus some shredded onions and garlic, and just 10 bowls are offered per day to customers who want to contribute to the charity donation box. Noodle orders here allow diners to select thick or thin noodles which are stir-fried and have a seafood and vegetables fragrance with strongly-flavored broth and abundant ingredients. One favorite, Nagasaki Pork Rib Ramen, is topped with big grilled pork chunks. Free garlic and a garlic squeezer also offered to diners, too. There are also many side dishes, including popular Japanese gyoza (dumplings), tender and juicy chicken nuggets, and soft-boiled eggs.

A: There only 10 bowls of "Just Noodles" each day.

B: Champon Ramen (NT$170) is stir-fried with vegetables and seafood and served with a savory, flavor-filled pork-rib soup.

C: Savory Fried Tofu is topped with a special dried fish sauce and crispy outside and soft inside.

Just Noodle A.. Just Noodle B. Just Noodle C.


Noodle House Kotetsu

20, FuXing N 3rd St, Xitun Dist.
(04) 2452-9459
Hours: 5-11 pm
Cash only.
No service charge.

The chef at this Fengjia shopping area ramen joint specially went to Japan to learn proper ramen-making skills. The unique ordering procedure--using a ramen vending machine to select a meal--draws many customers here. Special Kotetsu Dipping Noodles, featuring thick, chewy noodles with a strong-tasting pork-rib soup as the dipping sauce, are delightful when slathered with sauce and sucked into the mouth. A pot of dried fish soup, served with these noodles, can be drunk alone or with leftover sauce. "Strong Kotetsu Ramen" uses a milky pork-rib soup as a base, topped with roasted pork with a strong pork-rib flavor and sprinkled with some green onions for an authentic flavor. Another non-noodle signature dish is Green Onion Roasted Pork Rice.

A: The washbasin-sized Special Kotetsu Dipping (NT$280) features thick, chewy noodles.

B: With barbecued pork, bamboo, green onions and strong-flavored soup, Strong Kotetsu (NT$230) is a more traditional ramen.

C: Kotetsu Roasted Pork (NT$70) is a popular, moderately sweet/salty dish with braised, roasted pork topping rice and offering an excellent texture.

Noodle House KotetsuA.. Noodle House KotetsuB. Noodle House KotetsuC.


Le Shan Niang

(04) 2325-8851
488, HuaMei St, West Dist.
Hours: 11 am-2:30 pm, 5-9:30 pm
Cash only.
No service charge.

With 20 years in Taichung, Le Shan Niang is considered a local ramen pioneer. The focus here is on Sapporo-style, chewy, thick traditional Hokkaido noodles, exclusively handmade by a Japanese ramen master, for a unique offering that is different from the Kyushu-style thin noodles mainly served in Taiwan. The soup here is also homemade with pork ribs, seafood and fresh vegetables. Strong Stick Ramen is a popular item with a savory broth and the chef's selected top-quality marbled pork, marinated until tender and tasty. Spicy ramen seasoned with an imported Japanese Tam Tam noodle sauce is great for those who like things hot.

A: The signature Champon Ramen (NT$160) has a fish cake, tube-shaped chikuwa ingredients, bamboo, boiled egg and pork.

B: Six handmade Japanese Gyoza (NT$60) dumplings are packed with ingredients.

C: The restaurant's entrance.

Le Shan NiangA.. Le Shan NiangB. Le Shan NiangC.


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