Those who have been reading from my Brisbane days would know how we love our tonkotsu ramen and at one stage having it for every weekend for weeks. Moving to Melbourne, we have tried a few places but nothing has come close. So when my friend suggested ramen as one of the must have meals in NYC, we didn't laugh it off as some people would butmade it a point to satisfy that craving there and then.
Ippudo is the name and as it turns out from a simple google search, its from Japan, its got franchises all over the world with NYC being the first one, lucky readers from Malaysia can take a 3 hour drive down to Singapore and have a bowl and soon I can take a 1 hour flight to Sydney to have some!
Famous for their tonkotsu ramen, a peek in the menu shows they do a couple of options, a mix of classic and modern if you will, from the classic tonkotsu ramen to a modern version that is spiced up with miso paste and garlic oil. On top of that, there's the steam pork buns made famous by David Chang from Momofuku (can't wait to blog about that one) and other appetisers to start.
One warning though, there are terribly long queues for this place and I have heard and read nightmare stories about how you need to wait 2 hours or more for a spot. Walking to the place at 12 noon (they open at 11 am), we still had to wait 15-20 minutes (so there you go, I have told you the perfect time to visit this place).
The hirata pork buns; a piece of soft pork belly sandwiched in between a soft white steam bun, flavoured with a sweet and slightly spicy sauce, japanese mayo and 2 pieces of lettuce. What I can say is apart from it being fabulous, that it also ranked higher in our books than the original Momofuku version. 9 dollars will get you two pieces.
Shiromaru Hakata Classic - The original silky "Tonkotsu" (pork) soup noodles, toppped with pork loin chashu, sesame kikurage mushrooms, menma, red pickeled ginger, and scallions. For $14, I would eat this every day as long as my wallet can support the habit. Whatever words you can think of to describe a near perfect soup; creamy, rich, silky, robust, tasty, explosive, etc. For a glutton like me, I had to top it up with some kakuni (braised pork belly) as well. If there was one complaint, the chashu which is made from pork loin was too lean for me.
Akamaru Modern - described as the original silky "Tonkotsu" (pork) soup noodles topped with Ippudo's secret "Umami Dama" miso paste, pork chashu, cabbage, sesame kikurage mushrooms, scallions, and fragrant garlic oil. Compared to the original, the miso paste bought it a slightly salty tinge to it and the black oil made it so fragrant that it wasn't funny. This was topped up with an egg.
Leaf mustard is another form of top up for $3 which was a little expensive given the portion and remembering that our favourite Brisbane stall gives it out for free.
With top ups, the buns as starters, tips and taxes, a bowl of ramen will set you back closer to $20-25 a bowl. Pretty expensive but heck (considering that I will have to pay for flights to Sydney to get a bowl, its cheap) and it's so many times better than the ones we get in Melbourne. I would give anything to have a bowl right now (maybe drive down to Singapore when I go back to Malaysia for Christmas).
Address and contact details:
Address and contact details:
Verdict: 4.5 stars out of 5 stars. A star ramen and you can see why they are so famous; satisfying the purists with their ramen and that broth and creating this hype about how eating ramen is cool especially in a city like NYC with their fit out and long queues.