Ramen 101: The Ippudo Experience

Ramen has the power to polarise people to cause widespread debate on “Where to find the best ramen?” and boy will we hunt it down. It is Japanese soul food at its core and has developed from the humble streets of Japan to achieve a cult-like status.

Since its grand opening, Ippudo has been hot on everyones lips.

“Is it as good as they say?” (See previous post).

Whether you agree or disagree, Ippudo has to be said and done.

I was invited to return to Ippudo to take on a crash course ramen 101 session and to learn more about the Ippudo experience. There was also the offer to try all their ramen. How could I refuse.

Dress with expandable waistline?? Check!

collage fpn

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Ippudo, CBD Sydney

Ippudo has quickly become to what some would consider as legend. Conquering the likes of New York, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Seoul, Shanghai. Ippudo has firmly found its place in Sydney’s Westfield. Since its opening it has quickly drawn in the crowds and cult following with its signature ramen and pork buns.

ippudo - close ramen

Ippudo specialises in Tonkostu ramen and offers up 3 variations of this:

  • Akamaru shinaji (above): the recipe is 25 years old and includes miso, garlic oil, pork belly, black mushrooms, bean sprouts and shallots – the Tonkotsu broth is slow cooked with pork bones to add extra depth of flavour
  • Shiromaru motoaji: Tonkotsu broth served with Hakata ultra thin noodles and includes pork loin, black mushrooms, cabbage & shallots
  • Karaka men: Tonkotsu broth with Hakata wavy noodles and includes spicy miso paste with ground pork

You can also specify the firmness of your noodles from “soft, medium or firm”. Which is funny because as a child I loved them soggy but as I have gotten older, I have graduated up to medium and now firm. I love a firm texture! They recommend having it firm but I wonder, how do you like your ramen?

akamaru w flavoured egg

Having tried 2 out of 3 Ramen’s at Ippudo, the Akamaru with flavoured egg ($18) is my absolute favourite. I love the intensity and richness of the broth and every bowl of Ramen always comes down to the broth.

The broth comes positively gleaming with richness and flavour. I am so impatient I quickly go in for the dive and I completely immersed in it. It is sensational.

I also love the fragrant hints of garlic oil and the option to swirl the miso paste into your broth. To do so, lifts the broth to the highest order.  My ramen is firm, adding texture and bite contrasting nicely with the fork tender pork belly that melts. The addition of flavoured egg is luxuriant, oozing its way out. Soft, rich and plump.

ippudo pork bun

The ippudo pork buns ($4) are so delicious, every mouthful is just as delicious as the next. The buns are super soft, the pork is spicy, fatty and tender. Setting itself apart from the creaminess of Japanese kewpie mayo and crisp lettuce leaves. Reminds me a lot of the famous Momofuku pork buns.

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Tanpopo, Neutral Bay

Tanpopo restaurant

Now under new management.

This is a really cute place that I highly recommend you go to. It’s tiny, it’s quaint and has that Japanese-esque feel to it. Ka-wa-ii de-su-ne.

The setting is a bit squishy and the service is a bit inattentive but the food more than makes up for it. It is excellent. Don’t get me wrong, the staff are lovely, courteous and friendly. But at times, they just don’t seem to look up. They get really focused on the job at hand. So you may find yourself either staring them down to catch their eye or making the giant leap forward to the counter to speak to them.

Tanpopo Chef Special

Beef Tataki

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