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

DID YOU KNOW?

– That the Ippudo promise is all about bringing you the real and authentic taste of Japan. This is central to everything that they do.

– With each international location that is launched, Ippudo not only bring the store but they also bring the factory. Everything is prepared on site from the chashu to the ramen. Even that luxuriant flavoured egg is given the Ippudo touch. This is all to ensure that they deliver on the Ippudo promise.

– Their chashu is made everyday and takes 20 hours to prepare onsite.

– Ippudo has a broth master to oversee the makings of the broth. Taking 15 hours to prepare, it is believed that the broth reaches a certain point and peaks. It is at this moment that the broth develops the most flavour and must be served. The role of the broth master is to ensure it it served at this very moment.

– The broth is climate controlled. The water in the broth is adjusted based on the humidity in the air. This is to achieve the optimum balance.

– Ippudo serves Hakata style ramen. Distinctive features include the rich milky pork broth and ultra thin, straight, firm noodles. Ramen is topped with chashu, mushrooms and green onions. Crushed garlic, picked ginger, sesame seeds and pickled mustard greens are offered as a table side garnish.

– On a weekday they average 600 bowls of ramen and 1000 bowls of ramen on a weekend. Sometimes they even sell more pork buns than their staple ramen.

WHAT’S WITH THE SLURPING?

To slurp elevates the taste of the ramen by flickering and aerating the taste throughout your mouth. Slurping acts as a cooling agent and also helps with funnelling the actual stuff into your mouth. The same can be said about the broth. Too hot? Just slurp it. It won’t be as hot and it will taste better. If you’re embarrassed that you’re being rude by slurping. Don’t worry, it actually means that it’s yummy!

WHAT ABOUT THE RAMEN?

– Ramen varies from each locality within Japan. (See regional variations). That is why you have the miso, shoyu, shio, tonkotsu bases and variations in toppings. In Japan, each region is fanatical and protective of their regional specialties, often treating them as a guarded secret and as a belief system. Arguments between the regions is not uncommon.

– Some ramen houses serve blends of different broths and in some places you can request this. Ryo’s is common for this. e.g. miso tonkotsu. This means that the aforementioned broth base will be the predominant flavour and blended with the latter as a supplement.

– Some broths are prepared with the master stock method. Recycling the liquid again and again, to only replace the contents that make up the broth. Master stocks can be very smelly on the streets of Japan and could be older than you or me!

– Discovered by accident,  the milky colour and creaminess that forms in the tonkostu broth is developed by leaving the broth at high heat. Not by adding milk! The oil will mix into the water allowing the fat to emulsify into the broth. The bone marrow also releases into the broth creating its rich character.

– Ramen is made up of four basic ingredients: wheat flour, salt, water, and kansui, which is a type of alkaline mineral water. It is the kansui that gives the Ramen its bounce and firm texture.

– Ramen comes in various shapes and lengths. It may be thick, thin, or even ribbon-like, as well as straight or wrinkled.

ippudo pork bun

We begin our night with the legendary pork buns. Their baby bum soft case holds a spicy tender chashu, kewpie mayo and lettuce leaves. Its soft, spicy, creamy and holds a delicate crunch.

Their highest order was when a couple ordered 20 buns to eat in and later ordered another 35 to take away. Some days they even sell more pork buns than their Ramen!

shiromaru motoaji

Because I am eating three bowls of ramen. I had already decided to strategically eat only 1/3 of each bowl. I felt so wasteful looking at the leftovers but I knew that this was only way to get through it.  Each mouthful brings pangs of comfort that I felt sacrilege that I was wasting more than a drop.

Shiromaru Motoaji ($15) is the granddaddy of their ramen. This is the first ramen ever made when their store opened in 1985. This is the original,the classic, tonkostu ramen. It has a delicious subtle undercurrent of pork flavour. The broth is milky and creamy, dotted with delicious pearls of fat. This is topped with lean pieces of pork loin, black mushrooms, bean sprouts and shallots.

Ahhh… this is so good! I can’t believe I am throwing 2/3 of it away!

akamaru shinaji

Akamaru Shinaji ($16) is my personal favourite. This was introduced at their 10 year anniversary. So popular, it was here to stay and later became Ippudo’s signature ramen.

To describe it is like having their original tonkostu ramen taken up a notch. It noticeably has more depth and richness in character. Again, the pearls of fat are clearly visibly and marked with the striking darkness of the garlic oil. The garlic is undeniably fragrant and is prepared by frying garlic and onions in the oil. The rolled pork belly is so tender that it melts when it hits your mouth. The black mushrooms, sprouts and shallots all add a lovely texture with the miso pork paste as the centrepiece.

I love how this ramen creates the sensation that you’re having two ramens in one. First you have the broth on its own and then you have the option to swirl the miso pork paste in. So delicious, you’ll be scratching your head as to whether you liked it before or after…

ippudo karaka men

If you’re feeling the heat, then the Karaka Men ($17) is for you. It is the original tonkostu ramen served with a spicy miso pork paste. You can mix as much and as little as you like. I mistakenly mixed everything in and really felt the burn! Still it is a delicious way to feel the heat. This is served with rolled pork belly and wavy noodles so that the miso paste will catch onto the noodle strands.

ippudo karaka men 2


After tonights session, I have discovered a new found appreciation for Ramen and the Ippudo experience. If you haven’t already been. You are sorely missing out…

Related posts: Sydney’s Ramen Guide & Ippudo

www.ippudo.com.au

Food Porn Nation dined as a guest of Ippudo. I would like to say a big thank you to the team for the generous hospitality.  All opinions are my own. 

Ippudō on Urbanspoon

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Comments
  1. Tina @ bitemeshowme says:

    Love this post. Thanks for all the facts!!!

  2. helloitsming says:

    This post is such an eye opener! Never understood the slurping until now lol! I guess I can no longer legitimately tell my brother not to slurp haha. Looks great..the karaka men sounds right down my alley!

  3. Everyone seems to prefer the Akamaru!!! This one is my personal favorite too! 🙂

  4. grabyourfork says:

    lol but what is the real and authentic taste of Japan? It’s ramen fever at the moment in Sydney!

  5. i definitely agree with you with looking at ramen in a whole new way after this event. didn’t know much about ramen in general until that night 🙂

  6. loved the post and photos, learn something new everyday!

  7. Looks like such a fun night! I would love learning more about ramen, it definitely seems there would be lots to learn!

  8. Dear Priscilla,

    I’ve read so much about Ippudo although I’ve never really got into eating ramen until recently. This place seems a little more expensive than most others in town but every bowl looks so good. Thanks for navigating us through the maze of flavours, I would want to come here with a few people so I can try at least 3 bowls.

    • My pleasure. I’m the same but having attended this session. I definitely appreciate why everyone has Ramen fever!

      Price point it a higher than others but I think it comes with prime location, great ramen and the lengths they will go to deliver that delicious bowl of ramen. I still think its worth it!!

  9. I love this post, I have been thinking and hesitating over trying Ippudo for a while, and this post has definitely enhanced my view on it 🙂 A dish with this much TLC put into it needs the attention it deserves!

  10. pwahahaha now i can officially tell my father that slupring my noodles and soup is a compliment!! 😀

    – Cassie @ Next Stop: Food

  11. milkteaxx says:

    loved the educational experience ippudo offered to you! thier ramen is to die for!

  12. Lily says:

    Thanks for the informative post 🙂 I’m gonna make time to go and try their ramen and bun nomnom

    Enter My Dinner Giveaway ^.^

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