There are those days when thinking where to eat seems a chore. When running out of choices, there is always a default place where all parties can willfully agree and temporarily set aside prejudices — a Ramen bar. Caught up in the same dilemma, we headed to Ippudo for a late lunch in Uptown. Ramen is a universally acceptable dish that unites people of differing preferences, do you agree?
It’s my first time at Ippudo. I’ve always heard this is one of the top Ramen places in the Metro, but never had the chance to try it. Since Ippudo is the sole Ramen place in Uptown BGC, we found the perfect timing to set my initial visit. As a growing food enthusiast, I cannot afford to miss an iconic Ramen place such as Ippudo.
Ippudo is known in the world for its impeccable Hakata-style Ramen originating from Fukuoka, Japan. It was founded in 1985 by Shigemi Kahawara, internationally renowned Ramen King. Today, there are more than 80 branches all over the world — across Asia, to Sydney and New York.
Ippudo is a famous for Tonkotsu-based ramen. Made from pork bones simmered for many hours, its creamy texture and white colour exemplifies deep yet light flavours of pork.
Compared to other Ramen joints where space represents minimalist, tiny Ramen bars in Japan, Ippudo in Uptown Mall is rather an exception. You would delight in the spacious Japanese restaurant sporting a contemporary design perfect for intimate dinners. The big ramen bar at the center also creates a statement.
A storage underneath your chair will keep your things safely tucked while enjoying your Ramen experience. The alternate colors of the chairs only shows the intention to innovate design while preserving the elegant look of modern Japanese restaurants today.
Ippudo keeps things simple and straightforward by featuring only three basic Ramen selections: Shiromaru Special, Akamaru Special and Karaka Special. Shiromaru is the original tonkotsu broth, Akamaru is original tonkotsu broth enhanced with special miso paste, and Karaka special is topped with spicy minced meat in miso paste. These special Ramen sets has everything in it already —chashu, vegetable toppings, egg and seaweeds that you need not add ingredients one by one.
You can also select the texture of the noodles from soft, medium, hard, and very hard.
Wanting to taste the best of both worlds, we chose Akamaru Special and Karaka Special.
Akamaru Special is Ippudo’s original tonkotsu broth enhanced with special blended miso paste and fragrant garlic oil. Served with thin noodles, pork belly, kikurage (black fungus), spring onions and seaweeds, Akamaru has this hint of spicy flavor that mixes well with the savory tonkotsu broth. The spiciness level is not overwhelming, but manageable for any non-spicy food lovers.
The piping hot soup was too invigorating, just the way I like it. It was not too salty nor too oily. The vegetable toppings added extra texture and flavor to the ramen, specially the seaweeds. The taste was well-balanced that I did not think of adding anything to enhance it.
Karaka Special is the original tonkotsu broth served with wavy thin noodles, pork belly, kikurage, egg, seaweed and spring onions. This ramen has Special spicy miso with ground pork and fragrant garlic oil for that added kick.
Again, this could be the spicy version of Ippudo, but the level of spiciness is not that strong to burn your tongue.
Gyoza is an instant side dish whenever we eat Ramen. This time, we tasted Ippudo’s Gyoza with a twist. The Deep Fried Gyoza was extra crunchy and topped with spicy mayo, negi, chili powder, and served with Shoyu vinegar. The well-seasoned meat fillings was complemented by the crunchy wrapper and spicy mayo.
Ippudo is now a member of my list of best ramen places in the Metro. It can compete well against my top favorites, Ramen Nagi and Yushoken. The flavor is executed well ranging from the pork belly, broth and ingredients. The serving portion also looks bigger because of the size of the red bowl. I just find it a bit expensive but it could also be worth it based on the serving size and taste. The interiors are also notable for its elegant look.
With all the qualities mentioned, I have no qualms as to why Ippudo is among the best of the Ramen houses we have today in the country.
Ground Floor, Uptown Place Mall, 36th Street Corner 9th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City
Opening hours: Monday to Thursday, SUnday: 11 AM to 10 PM, Friday and Saturday: 11 AM to 11 PM
Facebook: Ippudo Philippines