The giant has arrived to end all Ramen wars in Manila.
Ramen King Shigemi Kawahara's Ippudo has finally opened their first branch in the Philippines at Mega Fashion Hall. Now, we too can enjoy Japan's highly sought after Ramen with just a quick drive.
Myself, along with a few other bloggers were fortunate enough to be invited to a private tasting event last night. Here are some photos from the opening as well as the dishes you need to try on your first visit!
First, let's talk service. It is excellent, efficient and extremely quick.
Staff is highly knowledgeable about the menu, orders were immediately taken and side dishes were served just moments after we were seated.
Under no premise would you think that they are just on their soft opening/first day of operations.
I attest this fact to the high level of efficiency that the Japanese are known for as well as the expert training provided by Ippudo Japan's Yota Shiiba who has relocated to the Philippines to personally oversee their newest branch:
Along with him is Ramen Master, Chef Doi to make sure you receive the authentic Ippudo experience even here in Manila:
Now the food. :D
Starting with the side dishes...
(photos are of personal size portions specially prepared for last night's food tasting purposes, actual portions are about 3x more generous)
Goma Q is a slightly tangy cucumber dish that is great for refreshing the palette...
Dashimaki Tamago sweet scrambled eggs done the layered Japanese way but I didn't have to tell you that...this is always a winner for Pinoys who love sweet food (and eggs :P)
Curry Cheese Harumaki - yummy, kinda reminded me of Samosas but with cheese. It's a fried spring roll stuffed with cheese, curry and minced pork.
Ippudo Pork Buns - my favorite side dish of all, imho, a meal on its own :P It's steamed mantou bread filled with barbecue pork and the most delicious spicy mayo dressing ever (lol). Perfect with a cold glass of Coke!
Ippudo Hakata Style Gyoza - another must order. A crispy bite-size delight with juicy pork inside...droooollllll...
What you've all been waiting for...The Ramen!
Ippudo serves 3 kinds:
- Shiromaru Motoaji - Ippudo's original tonkotsu broth served with ultra thin noodles, pork loin, bean sprouts, kikurage and spring onions. Classic Hakata-style ramen.
- Akamaru Shinaji - Ippudo's original tonkotsu broth enhanced with special blened miso paste and fragrant garlic oil. Served with thin noodles, pork belly, kikurage and spring onions. A refined modern style ramen.
- Karaka-Men - Ippudo's original tonkotsu broth served with thin wavy noodles, pork belly, spring onions. It also has special, spicy minced meat, miso paste and fragrant garlic oil that adds a kick to the senses.
After making your pick, you will be asked by their server to select the level of hardness of your noodles. You can choose between Soft/Medium/Hard and Very Hard. I suggest getting hard. It's just the right consistency without being too mushy and it really allows you to enjoy the Ramen and it's different layers of flavor and texture.
During last night's tasting, I opted for the Karaka-Men because I enjoy spicy soup. The Karaka-Men is thick and hearty, perfect for a cold rainy day. It's comforting, heavy and delicious. Not too spicy, just a pleasant kick to make you keep wanting more.
Another favorite among attendees last night was the Shiromaru Motoaji which I'm told is creamy, dreamy and mouth wateringly delicious. I wasn't able to get a bite cause I was stuffed beyond belief but I do like the idea behind the crispy bean sprouts against the broth and tender pork so I'm probably gonna order this during my next visit.
Overall, my Ippudo experience was an extremely positive one that will definitely have me coming back for more.
Ippudo opens for the public this September 10 at the 3rd Floor of Mega Fashion Hall
For more info and updates, visit: www.ippudoph.com and connect with Ippudo Philippines socially on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram