Monday, January 11, 2010

Ippudo Ramen

At the beginning of December, Micah and I were near Ebisu so in the evening we headed to Ippudo, a ramen shop about five minutes on foot from Ebisu Station. Ippudo ramen is Hakata style, which means it originated in Hakata city, northwest on the southern island Kyushu. Hakata ramen usually has a creamy broth and the noodles are whiter, thinner and straighter than typical ramen noodles. Ippudo specializes in tonkotsu ramen. Tonkotsu ramen is ramen with broth made from pork bones. The tonkotsu broth here was very creamy and a bit fatty, though I've seen fattier!

From left to right: spicy moyashi, karashi takana and gari. In the back you can see the fresh garlic

Ippudo ramen has a small tabehoudai (all you can eat) selection on their tables. There's spicy moyashi (bean sprouts), karashi takana (spicy greens) and gari (pickled ginger) that you can eat on top of your rice or ramen, though I must admit, the spicy moyashi is delicious on its own! Also on the table are flesh cloves of garlic and garlic crushers so you can add fresh garlic to your ramen if you so desire. When ordering at Ippudo, you will be asked how firm you want your noodles. You can get them harigane (the firmest, it means "steel beam", barikata (very firm), katame (firm), futsuu (regular) or yawarakame (soft.) Micah and I both ordered the shiromaru (white bowl), but Micah ordered his noodles to be harigane and I ordered futsuu for mine. Unfortunately, Micah and I were very hungry when we arrived so I didn't even think of taking a picture of the ramen before we itadakimasu'ed! However, you can see plenty of pictures of Ippudo's shiromaru ramen here!

When I finally remembered, it was too late!

This was my first time eating Hakata style ramen and I was very impressed by Ippudo's shiromaru. The tonkotsu broth's flavor lingered on the tongue long after swallowing. The thinner noodles were novel to me but their texture perfectly complimented the broth's flavor. The chashu (barbequed pork) was also quite delicious. Ippudo in Ebisu knows how to make a bowl of soup that will leave you completely contented.

As Micah can tell you, it's good to the very last drop!

If you're in Ebisu and find yourself with a hankering for ramen, be sure to check out Ippudo! I've read that it's not entirely uncommon to encounter lines during peak lunch hours, but around 6pm on a Monday night, the shop was practically deserted, so don't let fear of lines deter you from experiencing an amazing bowl of ramen!

Hiroo 1-3-13
[along Meiji-dori towards Hiroo, just past the post office]
Open 11-4am daily