Ramen, lamian, pasta, bakmi, noodles…call it what you may.
The Italians have it, as do the Chinese, Indonesians, Americans (question mark, question mark), and of course the Japanese!
And even though I love them all, and dare I say equally, the Japanese ramen holds a special place in my heart (and in my gut). It’s one of those viands that’s almost impossible to get sick of. A comfort antidote to a flu as well as the perfect company for those late-night television-binging sessions, I
cannot not can say, to ramen, I will never say never.
Today’s ramen chow down was brought to us by international chain Ippudo, whose stores you’ll find all over Japan and in 10 countries all over the world and major cities including New York, Seoul, Hong Kong, Taipei, Shanghai, Sydney, Bangkok, London, and now Jakarta!
Can we all just take a moment to acknowledge the craze, fad, and frenzy over ramen in Jakarta over the last few years?
Ippudo has been around since 1985, and so we believe they know a thing or two about serving ramen. And we were pumped to have our first taste! But first, we had to quickly flip through the pamphlet illustrating how to properly enjoy ramen the Zuzutto way:
Step 1: take a sip of the soup (savor the richness of the broth, a result of 15 hours of cooking)
Step 2: pick up a few strands (or a whole bunch) of noodles and, here’s the absolute most critical part: SLURP! SLURP! SLURP! At this point, your mother is not likely to be proud of the cacophony broadcasted from your big mouth, but feel free to refer her to the pamphlet
Step 3: enjoy the toppings and meat that are meant to go in harmony with the soup and noodles. We know you are probably used to chugging down a whole meal without giving it much thought (we too are guilty), but just this once, take your time…
On today’s menu are a sampler of appetizers, and 3 of Ippudo’s favorite ramen bowls: the Shiromaru Motoaji (Ippudo’s classic, original broth), Akamaru Shinaji (Ippudo’s original tonkotsu broth with miso paste and garlic oil), and Karaka-Men (Ippudo’s original tonkotsu broth spiced with spicy miso).
Although deep down, deep deep down, we were all famished, we were keen to hear a few opening words from the lovely Amanda, Marketing Manager of Ippudo Indonesia, along with Yosuke Nishiguchi, Operations Consultant coming straight from Japan. I was all ears, and boy, was I rewarded for it (keep scrolling)!
While these nice people were hustling, we were served an appetizer sampler consisting of:
Ippudo Pork Bun | 28K
Braised pork belly served with Ippudo’s special sauce – a worldwide best-seller and favorite!
Spicy Shrimp Mayo | 42K
Lightly battered and deep fried shrimps with a housemade spicy mayonnaise dip.
Seared Salmon Roll with Mentaiko | 78K
Lightly seared salmon roll seasoned with mentaiko and topped with cod roe.
Each bite was thoughtfully and delicately made, although they could’ve taken the mayo down a notch! A little bit of mayo goes a long way, and in this case, this one condiment dominated and overpowered the other flavors. My favorite were the pork bun and seared salmon.
And here come the long-awaited bowl of hot broth! We decided to have one of the original:
Shiromaru Motoaji | 68K
Ippudo’s original tonkotsu broth served with thin noodles, pork loin, bean sprouts, kikurage, and spring onions. A classic Hakata-style ramen.
(Not forgetting to crush some garlic and dump it straight into the hot broth)
And another of the:
Akamaru Shinaji | 73K
Ippudo’s original tonkotsu broth with miso paste and garlic oil served with thin noodles, pork belly, kikurage, spring onions, and bean sprouts. A refined, modern-style ramen.
While I enjoyed my bowl of Shiromaru Motoaji, I couldn’t help but dig into some of my neighbor’s Akamaru Shinaji, which turned out to be a richer, bolder broth and the one I will re-order for my future visits. Overall, Ippudo’s ramen was a no-nonsense, solid bowl of hot, porky goodness. We were gratified.
After liberally feeding us, they didn’t just let us go home. Amanda had a few surprises for us that included 3 vouchers for 3 lucky winners and the grand prize: a solid bottle of sake the size of my torso, in exchange for a few correct answers. I had my eye on the prize. And after missing 3 chances for a voucher, I got the fourth and final answer right (which actually surprised me considering the question was rather specific) and held in my weak arms that massive of a flask.
So, as I was saying, being a good listener pays off. And yes, to those around me cautioning me against finishing the entire bottle on my own, I promise the chances of that happening is as slim as the noodle we ate tonight.
Thank you Ippudo and Amanda for the titanic bottle sake, to which I say, kanpai!