Ramen seem to be the ‘in’ Japanese food nowadays with ramen centric restaurants sprouting everywhere which got me curious because I’ve tasted the authentic ramen in Japan.
I first read about Ippudo on kuali.com. It looked interesting to put it on my ‘to makan list’ and the opportunity came by after my mani pedi session with Jaslyn. It was my first mani pedi and it was bad 😦 Read all about it on her blog. To make ourselves feel better (ahem!), we decided to visit Ippudo.
We were there at about 6.30-7.00 pm and it was already quite packed but not to the brim. When we left the place at about 8.30 pm, my gosh there was a long line outside!
Forgive me for blur photos… the lighting was not so awesome on the inside so the blur syndrome kicked in.
Ippudo reminded me a lot of Menya Musashi because of the ‘high energy and spirited cooking’. The waiters/waitresses and cooks all constantly call out to greet you ‘Welcome’ and ‘Thank you’ in Japanese keeping the momentum going.
Sorry that there will be a lot of Menya Musashi referencing because Menya served the best ramen I’ve eaten sans the ones I’ve eaten in Japan. So please bear with me 🙂
I ordered a Karaka Special – spicy pork broth ramen with a flavored egg, chashu and seaweed.
Decided to order a appetizer to share so I picked the Bakuretsu Tofu.
They serve onigiri too! Will try this in another visit.
They offer 2 types of condiments – black pepper and sesame seeds. The little red contraption is actually a really simple sesame grinder. Smart!
The first to arrive was our appetizer. According to the description, it’s spicy tofu and minced pork with crispy noodle in a hot stone pot. That was exactly what it was. It was delicious! It was spicy and a little sweet with hints of ginger. A plus point is that they listened when I said I didn’t want spring onions. There are places who don’t bother, very unnerving >( The crispy noodles tasted like yee mee. The only downside is that there isn’t enough tofu!
They also timed the arrival of food perfectly. We were starting with our second round of tofu when our ramen arrived. I really appreciated that. There are places where all their food arrives at once!
This is Jaslyn’s ramen. It was similar to mine minus the spiciness and it came with bean sprouts. I personally found the bean sprouts a little odd. It does add a crunchy texture to the ramen but I would have preferred it without.
This was mine. You should be able to tell from all the chili paste haha… The broth will turn red once you mix everything in. The broth was very tasty. Very tasty. It made you wonder if it was pure broth or something extra. And if you look closely near the spoon and egg, on the left there are blobs of pork lard. There were too many for me to avoid! Jaslyn didn’t know they were pork lard till I told her. It left her exclaiming ‘OMG this is a bowl of all fat right here!!’. Yeap, you got that right girl.
Next, zoom in on the chashu. There’s more fat than meat :< Imagine how I had to eat around the fat! Jaslyn said the fat melted in her mouth but the thought of it just made me sick. (no offense but I don’t eat any fat or skin of any kind unless it’s deep fried) You can see the color of the broth after the chilli paste is mixed in and all the floating pork larddddddddd!
Now to move on to the star of the dish – the ramen. The ramen was a bit tough for me. Harder than springy. Harder than chewy. Like it was undercooked :<
THIS. This was it’s saving grace. A perfectly squishy soft yolk boiled egg. It was all boing boing when we poked it with our chopstick. It’s also a flavored egg. Easily fools you considering it’s all white. Very, very nice. I really wonder how they flavor it as it’s not only salt.
Overall, it couldn’t compare to Menya Musashi. Broth was too salty, noodles too hard. It ranks no.2 after Menya Musashi for me so it still pawns all the other non-halal ramen out there.
Don’t visit this place if you can’t stand noisy, crowded places. We could easily reach over to our neighboring tables. It was also hard not to eavesdrop especially when they commented about how our tofu looked pathetic, how noisy the place was and they jabbered about nothing but Europe vacations . Yes high-class missy, please stick to your personal chefs if you can’t stand eating with commoners like us PIF!
Woops, sorry for the ranting. I had very unpleasant dining neighbors that night.