I read recently in Spot.ph that Ippudo is coming to the Philippines on September 10 and opening its first branch in MegaMall Fashion Hall. That’s great news! I loved the Ramen and Gyoza which I tried in their Tokyo branch and I would like to narrate how I got there.
On one Saturday afternoon, my wife, Ken and I decided to have a late lunch somewhere in Harajuku. So we took the Yamanote train from Shinjuku, went down in Harajuku, and walked down for about a kilometer to a still-developing, American-looking part of Tokyo. Ken’s first choice of restaurant was a Gyoza place but there was a long line outside which surprised me because it was already 2:30pm. Maybe it was a weekend so people eat a late breakfast and also a late lunch. Then we went to an American BBQ place which was packed with expats having a party. At that point I was willing to eat anywhere. Normally I eat between 12-1pm and I could feel myself getting hungry…and cranky!
So my son tells me, “There is an Ippudo nearby. Just walk up the hill a bit.” At that point I was sold! So we walk up the hill. Yeah, nearby meaning another kilometer uphill! We walk up the Omotesando shopping mall – thank God we didn’t even stop to look because stores were super high-end! Every corner we passed I would look left and right and ask, “Where’s Ippudo?” When we finally hit the main road, we turned left and walked another 200 meters. Finally we made it . . . but it looked closed! No one seemed to be inside. Anyway, I was so hungry since it was already 3pm, I go in and there were waiters and cooks waiting. Ok, let’s see what the hype is all about.
Since I love Tantanmen, my son ordered for me and him a relatively spicy Ramen. My wife had the usual Tonkotsu Ramen. We also ordered the Gyoza and it was excellent! We ordered one more. It was my first time to see garlic, sesame seed and pickles to add taste to the Ramen. In my hunger, I ate the pickles already while they were still ordering and I even ate the raw garlic (since I love garlic) and this made my family laugh. “Why? What did I do?” I asked. “You are supposed to crush the garlic on top of the Ramen, not eat it raw!” Oh well, you learn something everyday.
Ramen came and it didn’t disappoint. Everything was excellent! Broth, noodles, pork. I don’t remember being asked choices to customize my Ramen but what I ate tasted good. I told my family I wanted to eat here again on our next trip to Tokyo but next time, we should go down the nearest train station. If people used to walk a mile for a Camel, I can walk a mile for Ippudo if I really have to. Hehe
So I’m eagerly awaiting the opening of Ippudo in MegaMall. Well, not really eagerly because I don’t want to wait in line. Let’s see how it goes. When Ippudo comes in, the food has to be impressive because Ramen Nagi has just set the bar for Ramen chains. Having tried both, I can give my two cents worth but I will reserve further comments until I try the local Ippudo.