Ippudo Ramen Ebisu
Ramen noodles, a divine religious experience in Japan with followers congregating in houses of worship called ramenya (ramen shop) to perform acts of praise, honour and devotion to hand-crafted noodles and accompaniments in an intensely flavourful broth.
Ippudo (一風堂) is a reputable franchise for quality noodling in the Fukuoka tradition. First opened in Hakata in 1985 with a counter seating capactiy of 10, Ippudo has grown to 34 locations throughout Japan with outposts in New York and Singapore. Shigemi Kawahara, who earned the title of Ramen King in 2005 when he was named Japan’s top Ramen Chef, directs and oversees this well known entity.
We arrived at the the Ebisu store, the chain’s first branch in Tokyo. Not even the queue that snaked its way towards the entrance could deter us. Once inside we were greeted by a bustling, crowded dining room. The interior had a rustic charm with exposed wooden beams and a handwritten menu above the counter. Behind the counter a large, steaming cauldron of thin, white noodles simmered away.
We were seated at a refectory-style table and made ourselves cozy on the long bench seats alongside the assortment of tableside accoutrements, including spicy moyashi (bean sprouts), crushed ninniku (garlic), karashi takana (spicy pickled greens) and shoga (pickled ginger). African iced tea was served instead of water as this is supposed to have a neutralising effect on the pork fat that we were about to consume.
My ramen eating companions ordered the Ippudo Karake-men. They reported a perfectly balanced spicy kick and ranked it high in their all time ramen favourites. I ordered the satisfying flagship dish Akamaru Kasane-agi, and as I had requested, the noodles were cooked perfectly al dente.
Well worth a visit!
If you enjoyed this article then don’t forget to check out the cool Japanese foods series. The first installment brings to you 10 tasty morsels of Japanese culinary goodness such as yakitori, sukiyaki, ramen, yakiniku, kushikatsu and more. The second installment of the cool Japanese foods series brings to you another 10 awesome Japanese foods such as edamame, shabu-shabu, soba, tonkatsu, karaage and more.