Once again I find myself in Tokyo and once again, I leave my Ramen-adventure in the hands of my friend Brad who I have talked, argued and laughed extensively with in regards to all things Ramen. This time we went to the Ebisu district and visited the legendary IPPUDO, which he calls his “benchmark for all other ramens” and his “Goto place when he’s in the area”. Matt, the co-writer of this blog has also been there and raved about it to me repeatedly. How can I argue with these two guys! I have to admit, I was pretty excited to try this place.
IPPUDO is considered one of the forefathers of Tonkotsu Ramen. Their original shop opened decades ago in Fukuoka was originally one of the only places you could go to get the famous Tonkotsu broth, now of course, it is available everywhere. IPPUDO became famous years back when it won a televised National Ramen competition, they originally only had the one Fukuoka shop and now have 50 all over Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, LA and NYC. But this one shop, this little shop in Ebisu is considered to be the “the” shop in Tokyo. Baller!
We had to wait for a table at 10pm, excellent sign. The staff were all super friendly and the cooks gregarious and loud. We were finally seated and handed our menus. Now for this meal, I just let Brad order, I was in his playground and I was not about to throw my weight around, I wanted him to pilot the ship on this adventure.
We were about to indulge in a dish called Akamaru Modern which to Brad is the pinnacle of what IPPUDO has to offer. The description says it’s the original Tonkotsu broth enhanced with special blended miso paste and fragrant garlic oil. Served with thin, straight noodles, pork belly, bean sprouts, black fungus and spring onions. That sounds very good to me!
We started with some bite-size Gyoza that was served with a homemade chili paste, amazing. The Gyoza had a little hit of citrus mixed in with the pork and when you added the subtle heat of the chili sauce, it was a full-flavored win.
Within five minutes, the ramen arrived and I was immediately knocked out with the amazing smell of the dish, it honestly got my mouth watering. I mixed in some fresh garlic, mixed the entire bowl together and tucked in! Whoa, that broth son! THAT BROTH SON! Tonkotsu, miso, garlic oil and fresh garlic mixed together to honestly give me the best tasting broth I have had in a long, long time. It had a rich, thick, vibrant flavor that stayed with me well into the evening, seriously, it is a winner. The pork belly was incredibly tasty and very tender, the veggies were fresh and there was a little dollup of that homemade chili on top too, perfect. Where it fell apart for me, ever so slightly, was with the egg which I found slightly overcooked and the extremely thin noodles that for my liking, honestly did not compliment the rich, textured broth. For me, with thicker noodles, this would have been a near perfect bowl of ramen.
Of all the ramen I’ve tried abroad, this was definitely the strongest bowl I have had since we started the blog. I cannot recommend it enough, IPPUDO is a fantastic bowl of Ramen, I can see why it is Brad’s goto bowl. This is a must for anyone who ever comes to Tokyo, trust me, if you want an absolutely stellar bowl of ramen, this is your place.
- Dish: Akamaru Modern Ramen
- Extras: Egg
- Location: Hakata Ippudo
- Address: 1-3-13 Hiroo, Shibuya-ku, Ebisu, Tokyo
- Price ¥910