Ippudo Brings Ramentastic Appeal to Manila

Ippudo Manila SM Megamall Fashion Hall dining area

There's not a week that goes by where I don't see five {at the very least} ramen photos on my Instagram feed. I'm not complaining or anything; it's just that I wonder how the ramen explosion in this part of the world happened.  

Another ramen place just opened: IPPUDO. It's touted as one of the top Hakata-style tonkatsu ramen houses in the world, and it's founder {Shigemi Kawahara} as the "Ramen King". I first tried it in Hong Kong a few years back after a friend vouched for the dishes' tastiness. 

Ippudo Manila is not a franchise; it's a joint venture between the people behind Yabu and Ippudo's parent company. Ippudo Japan's staff is here to make sure that the quality will be parallel to that of the stores in Japan.

From the time they opened in September 10, every chair inside is full...as well as the stools for people lining up outside. Classic IPPUDO. The crowd got so big over the weekend that they had to close the restaurant early because they already reached their 800-bowl quota for the day {Saturday}! 

Ippudo Manila SM Megamall Fashion Hall

Ippudo Manila SM Megamall Fashion Hall

Ippudo Manila SM Megamall Fashion Hall kitchen

IPPUDO's war rooms: the kitchen and noodle room. The latter is where all the noodles are made fresh every single day.

Ippudo Manila SM Megamall Fashion Hall ramen room

Ippudo Manila SM Megamall Fashion Hall dining area

Ippudo Manila SM Megamall Fashion Hall dining area

Notice the empty seats? It was quickly filled up a few seconds after I took this photo. 

IPPUDO Hakata-style Gyoza
IPPUDO Hakata-style Gyoza  PhP 210

I was excited to try the pork bun, but alas, they ran out of it that day. A little heartbreak happened, but that's okay 'cause we got to try other IPPUDO appetizers such as the Hakata-style Gyoza, Goma Q, and Curry Cheese Harumaki.  

Ippudo Manila Goma Q
Goma Q  PhP 140

In all its simplicity, the Goma Q was fantastic! I'm big on cucumbers, so this agrees very much with my taste buds. It's Japanese cucumber with a very light sesame dressing, and a little heat. This is habit-forming! I could easily finish two orders. I would've done that if I wasn't gearing myself up for the three ramen dishes. 

Ippudo Manila Curry Cheese Harumaki
Curry Cheese Harumaki  PhP 190

Another appetizer you shouldn't pass up on! Deep-fried spring rolls stuffed with curry, minced pork, and cheese. You can go leave the accompanying sauce untouched because the spring rolls itself are magical. I think Japanese curry agrees with our palate more because it's sweeter than spicy. 

Ippudo Manila Shiromaru Special Ramen
Shiromaru Special  PhP 480

In terms of depth of broth flavor, I think it's safe to categorize IPPUDO's ramen variants into three: meek, moderate, and bold. Be well acquainted with your taste buds first then choose accordingly.

The Shiromaru Special is the first one. This classic Hakata-style ramen has the signature IPPUDO broth {which takes 15 hours to cook}, ultra-thin noodles, pork loin, bean sprouts, kikurage, spring onions, soft-boiled egg, pork belly, and seaweed.

The flavor is on the lighter side compared with the two. Its meaty broth is hearty with just the right amount of fat. The taste is something to thank the high heavens for, but if you want to amp up the flavor, a little bit of help from crushed garlic {below} and a few drops of chili oil will do the trick.

Ippudo Manila Shiromaru Special Ramen

Ippudo Manila Akamaru Special Ramen
Akamaru Special  PhP 490

The Akamaru Special is the moderate or the in-between. This is my favorite amongst the three variants. It is definitely something to cozy up to on a rainy day. 

Swimming in the deliciously enhanced {miso paste and garlic oil} golden tonkatsu broth are a perfect mix of toppings: thin noodles, pork belly, kikurage, spring onions, soft-boiled egg, and seaweed. Actually, the toppings are all the same for the special bowls. The varying factor is the broth's flavor.

Ippudo Manila Karaka-Men
Karaka-Men  PhP 490

Karaka-Men is a ramen with a lot of attitude! If you prefer your ramen to be packed with good heat, this is definitely the one for you! The savory red {Aka} broth is rich with a good amount of body, and is undoubtedly delicious. Like the others, the pork slices were tender, and the noodles al dente.

The heat intensity is just right for my friends Richard and Yedy. I find it too spicy though. FYI: I have a very low tolerance for heat. 

All the noodles have a good amount of resistance in terms of bite. You can choose the hardness of your noodles - soft to very hard. A word of caution: their ramen is served extra hot, so don't let the noodles sit for too long because it will turn soggy. Unlike the other two, the Karaka-Men's noodles are wavy. You can request for extra noodles as long as there is still soup left in your bowl.

Ipuddo Manila Karaka-Men

Nice to know:

Zuzutto is a noise that one makes when slurping ramen. It signifies maximum enjoyment. The combination allows the complexity of the flavors to spread through the mouth, eventually leading to the experience of nodogoshi - the silky sensation of food going down one's throat.

This is quite obvious, but I believe it needs to be pointed out: if you want to score a table, be there early. My friends and I were the first ones in line. We were there roughly around 15 minutes before IPPUDO opened. This was on a weekday, though. For weekends, I think 30-45 minutes is sufficient enough.

3rd Floor Mega Fashion Hall
SM Megamall, Mandaluyong City
Tel. No.: (02) 470.18.37
Facebook: Ippudo PH
Twitter: @IppudoPH
Instagram: @IppudoPH

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