Ippudo: World-Famous Ramen Now in Manila!

Only less than a hundred days before Christmas! And as we're in the midst of the "ber" months, the weather has undoubtedly continued on with the rainy, ramen season. So although there have already been a lot of players in the ramen market the last 2 years, we wholeheartedly welcome yet another addition -- the long-awaited Ippudo from Japan.
Ippudo now in the Philippines

Famous for their Hakata tonkotsu pork broth, Ippudo already has tons of ramen fans waiting for their first Philippine outlet in SM Megamall to finally open doors. I mean, who wouldn't be excited to get a taste of their ramen? With really impressive credentials -- over 80 stores in Japan, and outlets in New York, Singapore, Seoul, Hong Kong, Taipei, Sydney and Kuala Lumpur, and not to mention its founder Shigemi Kawahara revered as Ramen King, even I wouldn't mind queuing up at the country's first Ippudo.

Ippudo SM Megamall's long queue
Just look at that line... I can't even fit all of them in one frame!
Luckily, I already got a chance to try Ippudo before the joint has placed that many chairs outside its doors. And while the resto doesn't seem big on the outside, it became apparent when I entered that it's not that the seating is inadequate to gather that many queuing patrons. Even with space for about 80 ramen lovers, the demand is just high.

Ippudo SM Megamall

Located at the 3rd floor of SM Mega Fashion Hall, the interior of Ippudo oozes with warmth despite its modern-Oriental theme. There's a ramen counter seating perfect for ramen aficionados dining on their own, as well as 3 other sections good for groups of 4 and more. But if you ask me, my favorite section is the banquet on that wall filled with ramen bowls. It looks really modern but ramen-themed and just perfect for photos!

The Appetizers and Sides

Now, let's talk about the food. Although I wanted to jump straight to the main highlight of my visit to Ippudo, getting a bite (tons of bites, actually) of these meal starters and sides curbed my ramen craving a whole notch. They were actually impressive.

Ippudo Hakata-Style Gyoza (P195)
✓ Ippudo Hakata-Style Gyoza (P195)
First on the table was this serving of Ippudo Hakata-Style Gyoza, classic pan-fried Japanese dumpling with soft, thin wrapper and a nice and crispy seared bottom. Pork filling is also tender and very juicy. Not to mention, there's a good filling-to-wrapper ratio.

Curry Cheese Harumaki (P190)
Curry Cheese Harumaki (P190)
For the adventurous, there's the Curry Cheese Harumaki -- four pieces of deep-fried spring rolls stuffed with minced pork, curry and cheese. It might taste a little odd at the first bite, but I found that the more I bit to it, the more I get hooked. Every piece is also far from being greasy. So if you like, or at least are okay with curry, give this a try.

Goma Q (P140) and Dashimaki Tamago with Mentaiko Mayo (P150)
✓ Goma Q (P140) and Dashimaki Tamago with Mentaiko Mayo (P150)
This serving of Goma Q may be a no-brainer -- slices of Japanese cucumber in a sesame dressing, but boy did I loved every single piece of it! Light, fresh, crunchy and seasoned just right, this appetizer can definitely whet the palate. And just so you know, I didn't only finish my serving, but even cleaned out my friend's portion!

Then we also have the Dashimaki Tamago -- Japanese omelette rolls that are fluffy and pillow-y soft, served with Ippudo's cod roe-mayonnaise dip. While I really liked the egg rolls, I still prefer the usual way of enjoying it -- with some grated daikon and soy sauce.

Ippudo Pork Bun (P100)
✓ Ippudo Pork Bun (P100)
Normally, I wouldn't really think of ordering pork bun from a ramen joint. However, let the Ippudo Pork Bun convince you as it did with me. Juicy, tender, savory and succulent braised pork belly with Ippudo's original sauce, sandwiched in a soft steamed cuapao -- this is just pork heaven in a bun. Seriously! And mind you, I ate mine a little cold already. I bet it would've tasted even more foodgasmic if I'd eaten it upon serving.

The Highlight - Ramen

Here's the part you (and me) have all been waiting for. Let's talk about Ippudo's ramen!

Shiromaru Motoaji (P375); with Salted Soft-Boiled Egg (P405); with Extra Chashu (P470); with Salted Soft-Boiled Egg, Extra Chashu and Seaweed (P480)
✓ Shiromaru Motoaji (P375);
With Salted Soft-Boiled Egg (P405); with Extra Chashu (P470);
With Salted Soft-Boiled Egg, Extra Chashu and Seaweed (P480)
This bowl of Shiromaru Motoaji is Ippudo's classic Hakata-style ramen with a light and smooth yet milky and flavorful tonkotsu (pork bone) broth served with ultra-thin noodles, slices of pork loin, bean sprouts, kikurage (wood ear mushrooms) and spring onions. So if you want to taste a bowl of classic Ippudo, this is what to order. And for a more satisfying ramen session, or if you're like me who wants to go "Wow!" upon seeing my ramen, order the "special" with salted soft-boiled egg, extra pork slices and seaweed.

Akamaru Shin-Aji (P390); with Salted Soft-Boiled Egg (P420); with Extra Chashu (P460); with Salted Soft-Boiled Egg, Extra Chashu and Seaweed (P490)
✓ Akamaru Shin-Aji (P390);
With Salted Soft-Boiled Egg (P420); with Extra Chashu (P460);
With Salted Soft-Boiled Egg, Extra Chashu and Seaweed (P490)
Classic with a modern twist. This is how I'd describe the Akamaru Shin-Aji. It still has Ippudo's original tonkotsu broth, but it's enhanced with a special blended miso paste, and infused with fragrant garlic oil. Also served with thin noodles, pork belly, kikurage and spring onions, I'd have to admit that I'm more in love with this one than the classic. Even without the salted soft-boiled egg and seaweeds, there's already a lot going on in this bowl. Milky, savory and just comforting, but with a slight kick from the garlic. Oishi!

Karaka-Men (P390); with Salted Soft-Boiled Egg (P420); with Extra Chashu (P460); with Salted Soft-Boiled Egg, Extra Chashu and Seaweed (P490)
✓ Karaka-Men (P390);
With Salted Soft-Boiled Egg (P420); with Extra Chashu (P460);
With Salted Soft-Boiled Egg, Extra Chashu and Seaweed (P490)
For the spicy food lovers, there's the Karaka-Men, a bowl of Hakata tonkotsu infused with special spicy miso with ground pork, as well as some fragrant garlic oil. Served with thin, wavy noodles (The other two are served with straight noodles.) as well as pork belly, kikurage and spring onions, this bowl reminded me a lot of tantanmen but with notes of miso instead of sesame. Every sip of the broth also proves it's spicier than the Akamaru Shin-Aji. However, I personally would love an add-on of salted soft-boiled egg with it.

Choose how you like your noodles...
  • Soft
  • Medium
  • Hard
  • Very Hard
Ippudo noodles to your liking - soft, medium, hard, very hard

One of the things that I love at Ippudo is how you can choose your noodles' doneness. This just gives me the chance to enjoy koshi (al dente) noodles even after spending some time taking photos of my (and my table-mates') food. I like ordering my noodles "very hard" so after about a few minutes of food blogging and instagramming action, the noodles are still between medium and hard, which is how I like them.

TIP: Order your noodles hard or very hard if you're going to cool down your bowl a bit.

Condiments at Ippudo (black pepper, sesame seeds, garlic)

Every table also has a set of condiments -- black pepper, sesame seeds (with grinder), and cloves of garlic (with garlic press), so you can further customize your bowl of ramen to your liking. Personally, I like topping my ramen with lots of ground sesame seeds for the notes and aroma, and more crushed garlic for an intense garlic flavor. Yum!

Want more noodles?

At Ippudo, you can order Kae-Dama (P70) or extra noodles should you find your bowl already noodle-less, but still filled with the flavorful broth. Or, if you're sharing a bowl, ordering extra noodles can be a good idea. The ramen at Ippudo can be good for 2 not-so-hungry (or even 3 light-eating) people, anyway.

Kae-Dama - Extra Noodles (P70) and Kiddie Set

Something for the kids...

Ramen-loving adults are not only the ones welcome at Ippudo. Even kids are! As proof, they even have special table sets in pink and blue for the kiddos. Kawaii! So be sure to request these kiddie utensils for the little ones. They'll love it! (I really do too!)

Ippudo SM Megamall Mega Fashion Hall

THE VERDICT

With lots of ramen joints in the metro, it's amazing how Ippudo was able to build hype upon its opening. And with the Yabu people behind this ramen franchise, this hype is not at all unfounded. Expectations were met. Even exceeded, in some aspects, actually. Not only are the ramen flavorful and true to what they promise, but even the appetizers and sidings are standouts. This makes me even more keen to try their rice bowls! And with a really nice ambiance, prompt and courteous service, and pricing at par with most "imported" ramen joints in Metro Manila, I say, let your Ippudo experience begin!

Taste - 4.5/5
Ambiance - 5/5
Service - 4/5
Price - 4/5
Overall Value - 4/5


Ippudo, SM Megamall
3/F Mega Fashion Hall, SM Megamall, Ortigas,
Mandaluyong City, Metro Manila, Philippines
(02) 470 1837
Official Website
Facebook Page
Twitter | Instagram

5 comments:

  1. Sayang I've missed this when we go to Megamall yesterday! I wanted to try ramen pa naman for the first time! Well maybe before the year ends, ma-try ko na! :)

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    Replies
    1. Hey Eddielli! Do give Ippudo a try when you go back to Megamall. :) Hopefully di niyo na kailangang pumila nang pagka-haba-haba... >.<

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  2. nice interior.

    i am not really a fan of ramen but that looks delicious. i prefer spicy one though. would love to try the pork bun :-)

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  3. I love how they let you choose how hard you want your noodles to be but I just got to disagree with you.. a bowl is only good for one person.. case and point me! hehehe kidding!... and you know the kids' utensils, i had to stop myself from taking one and bringing it home... so cuteeeyyyy!!! :D :D :D If you are going back, don't do it on a peak hour. I heard that weekday lunch are way way better now and since Tuantuan is opening later, the people would have another exceptional restaurant to eat at if they can't handle the wait time... =) cheers dear :D

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  4. looking forward to eat ramen here!

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