HOW do you like your ramen – mild, spicy or very spicy?
At Ippudo Ramen, which opens its doors to the dining public via its flagship store at SM Megamall tomorrow, September 10, 2014, a Wednesday, you can have your ramen the way you want it. It serves its popular ramen in three variants: Shiromaru Motoaji (Ippudo’s original tonkotsu broth served with ultra-thin noodles, pork loin, beansprouts, kikurage and spring onion); Akamaru Shinaji (the spicy version of Ippudo’s original tonkotsu broth enhanced with special blended miso paste and fragrant garlic oil, served with thin noodles, pork belly, kikurage and spring onion); and Karaka-men (the extra spicy tonkotsu broth served with thin wavy noodles, pork belly and spring onion, with the special spicy minced meat, miso paste and fragrant garlic oil adding a kick to the senses).
The Shiromaru Motoaji (Php375) stays true to the original ramen with very flavorful pork-based broth created by Ippudo founder Shigemi Kawahara that earned him the title Ramen King and a place in the Ramen Hall of Fame after three consecutive first place wins in a Japanese TV program where ramen mavens competed to create the best ramen. It’s the same broth with delightful noodles that, in 1985, built for Ippudo a ramen empire that now counts 80 ramen stores in Japan, has a presence in Malaysia and Singapore, and has reached Philippine shores.
The Akamaru Shinaji (Php390) is a little spicy, with the Karaka-men (Php390) touted to be the spiciest, but Filipino diners who got to taste it during a private tasting session held days before the formal opening swear it’s not too spicy at all.
These three variants of ramen are the signature ramen dishes of Ippudo, whose arrival in the Philippines is sending excitement to the food-loving community which is always on the lookout for new places to eat – and they’d be delighted to know that aside from the spice level, they can also choose the doneness of the noodles: Soft, Medium, Hard, Very Hard. Again, the “label” can be a bit of a misnomer because I had the Hard noodles to go with my Shiromaru Motoaji, as recommended by my server Marge, but it wasn’t Hard at all. It was delightfully firm.
At Ippudo, you can order extra toppings at minimal fees, depending on which toppings you want. You can likewise order Kae-dama, extra noodles, at Php70 as long as there’s soup left in your bowl.
Located on the Third Floor of Mega Fashion Hall in SM Megamall, Mandaluyong City, Ippudo also serves a host of side dishes, rice meals and other dishes. Must-tries include Dashimaki Tamago with Mentaiko Mayo (Php150), fluffy Japanese omelette roll serve with mentaiko or spicy cod roe mayonnaise dip; Curry Cheese Harumaki (Php190), deep-fried spring rolls stuffed with curry, minced pork and cheese; Ippudo Hakata-style Gyoza (Php195), original pan-fried dumplings; Goma Q (Php140), Japanese cucumber sprinkled with seasonings; and Ippudo Pork Bun (Php100), steamed bun with juicy braised pork belly an Ippudo original sauce.
The 79-seater, 200-square-meter ramen place, which formally opens September 10, 2014, is open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. To keep the quality of its ramen and other food products consistent with Ippudo standards, Ippudo Philippines will be manned by Yota Shiiba as operations manager. Shiiba, who joined Ippudo in Fukuoka, Japan, in 2010, is experienced in all aspects of F&B and dining, having managed an Ippudo store in Namba, Osaka, and travelled across various international Ippudo stores in Malaysia and Singapore to help with their openings and operations.
(Ippudo Philippines is located at the Third Level, Mega Fashion Hall, SM Megamall, Ortigas Center, Mandaluyong City 1552; with telephone number 470-1837.)