Thursday, December 18, 2008

Fukuoka Part 2: Ippudo

This ever popular ramen specialist has two basic versions of this dish – Akamaru (a richer tasting broth with spicy miso paste and garlic oil), and Shiromaru (a lighter tasting version). They also serve tiny bite sized gyozas which are rumoured to have been made smaller so they can be easily eaten by the dainty women of Fukuoka (which didn’t stop us from shoving these crispy morsels into our mouths like ravenous barbarians).

You get a great vibe from entering this place, loud slurping echoing from the communal dining tables and the satisfied faces all round. The tonkotsu ramen here is great – the rich creamy broth enveloping the thin and firm egg noodles cooked perfectly al dente. There is also a wide range of condiments laid out on the table to spice up your bowl of noodles to your liking. Don’t forget to order kadaema (extra noodles) if you’re still a little peckish and still have broth in your bowl.

Ippudo and Ichiran (previously blogged) are both highly regarded for tonkotsu ramen – both becoming successful chains around Japan (and recently even in New York). My personal preference? Ichiran still does it for me with their addictive special sauce and a more balanced tasting broth (Ippudo’s has a much stronger and richer taste which can get a little overwhelming).

But judge for yourself if you’re ever in Fukuoka – and have both a few times (like I did)… just to be sure.


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