Ippudo first opened in 1985 in Hakata, Japan’s ramen capital. It was founded by Shigemi Kawahara, who has been given the awesome title of “Ramen King”. His main philosophy when it comes to making ramen is to constantly reinvent in the kitchen and redefine Ippudo’s recipes. Ippudo reached its globally-renowned status thanks to Shigemi’s own version of the tonkotsu (pork bone) broth, which has a smooth, delicate and creamy taste.
Ippudo currently has 80+ stores in Japan. It has also reached international shores, with franchises opening up in New York, London, Singapore, Seoul, Taiwan, Sydney, Guangzhou, Bangkok, Jakarta, and Hong Kong, among others. Their first branch here in the Philippines opened not too long ago, and it was met with an overwhelming response (aka long lines).
Similar to my Tim Ho Wan experience, I was hesitant to do a review on Ippudo once I spotted the long lines. So I made a plan to just visit the place on a weekday. My strategy worked! And sometimes it also pays to come early, because when we arrived… Hohoho. There wasn’t any line AT ALL. (by the time we left, the line was around two meters long.)
Lots of interior pics. The ambiance reminded me so much of Ramen Nagi, right down to the waiters and chefs shouting random Japanese phrases, aside from the usual irashaimasse/arigato gozaimasu.
Menu: Shiromaru Motoaji, Akamaru Shinaji, Karaka-men, Ramen toppings, Kae-dama, Gyoza & buns, Salads, Ala-carte, Rice, Dessert, & Drinks.
Ippudo Hakata-Style Gyoza.
Ippudo Pork Bun – Steamed buns filled with a slice of juicy braised pork belly, and Ippudo’s original sauce. Admittedly, it looks and tastes like an ordinary cuapao sandwich, except 5 times more tender.
Shiromaru Motoaji. This is Ippudo’s classic Hakata-style ramen served with a nice tonkotsu broth, served with thin-noodles, pork loin, bean sprouts, kikurage and spring onions. I had the Shiromaru Chashu (with simmered pork belly), while mom had the Shiromaru Tamago (with soft-boiled egg). From the moment I took my first sip of the broth, I knew that this was going to be one of the best bowls of ramen that I have ever tried. I’m so glad I picked hard noodles this time instead of the usual soft – It really does make a huge difference.
Dad had their Karaka-Men. This ramen also has a tonkotsu broth, except the noodles were slightly wavy. It also had a slice of pork belly, and spring onions, plus miso paste, fragrant garlic oil, and spicy minced meat for an extra punch.
Dashimaki Tamago with Mentaiko Mayo. I ended up ordering this dish because I love scrambled eggs, hehe. The omelette rolls are nice and fluffy. Make sure to dip it in the spicy cod roe mayonnaise dip for some much-added flavor.
This was the definite highlight of my day for sure, and my day was pretty much spectacular. We paid quite a hefty amount for the food that we ate, but I didn’t really care—I thought the price was totally worth it. And I’m so glad this place is very accessible so I can come back whenever I want, to try their ramen again.
Ippudo is located at 3/F SM Megamall, Mega Fashion Hall, Julia Vargas Ave cor EDSA Wack Wack, Mandaluyong. Tel no: (02) 470-1837