Tokyo is full of famous ramen shops each with its own loyal following, but as much as I would have loved to have been able to try every single one of them, I had to restrict myself to just one on my recent trip to the Japanese capital. We opted for Ippudo, for reasons of convenience more than any other – there was a branch just around the corner from our hotel, ideal for a quick bite on the evening of our arrival. As it happens, Ippudo is probably the most internationally renowned of all the ramen houses, having spread its wings to Singapore, and to New York where queues can last for hours at its 65 Fourth Avenue location.
The branch we visited in Ginza was small, and relatively uncrowded late on a Sunday evening. You order first by selecting the ramen dish you want, and then by choosing from five levels of doneness for the noodles. I went for the Original Kasane soup noodles - the dish which made Ippudo’s name, and had the noodles done “Katame”, or al dente, as that was the way the locals liked it, according to our waiter.
We also added a couple of side dishes – Smoked Chashu and Hakata Bite-Size Gyoza Dumplings, which arrived first. They were both fantastic – the chashu thinly sliced, tender, with just the right amount of fat and a lovely smoky taste – we asked for another serving immediately; the gyoza beautifully grilled on the outside, with quality, juicy meat on the inside – I regret not ordering a second portion of this as well.
The ramen was great too. The broth was a tad on the salty side, an opinion also expressed by a friend who had eaten at their New York outlet, but was nevertheless very tasty and appetising, with a wonderful depth and complexity of flavour. It was the perfect dish for a cold winter’s night.
In a nutshell…
Excellent. The only, tiny, complaint was the slightly over-salty soup. But that aside, Ippudo was ace.
Daiichi Nakayama Building, B1F, 3-11-14 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
+81 03 35471010
Average Price: ¥1000-¥1500
My heart goes out to the people of Japan. The Japanese are amongst the most polite, courteous and friendly people I have encountered in the world, and were incredibly welcoming when I recently visited their beautiful country. Their reaction, togetherness and community spirit in the face of recent events has been nothing short of amazing and should be an example to us all. With such an incredible attitude, there is no doubt Japan will emerge from these dark days stronger than ever.