Review: Ippudo – Shanghai

It’s here!  It’s finally here!!!!  With the original location in Japan and other locations in New York, Singapore, Hong Kong, Seoul, Taipei and Sydney….it’s finally here in Shanghai!  Ippudo is a popular Japanese restaurant chain famous for their delicious house-made ramen noodles, flavorful tonkatsu broth and various other side dishes.  The concept was created by Shigemi Kawahara, known as the Ramen King.  In Shanghai it’s located at the IFC Mall in Pudong, and we’ve already been there twice (once for dinner and once for lunch).  It seems like the Japanese community in Shanghai seems to be in the know about this place since each time we went it was filled with only Japanese people.  At most locations outside of Japan, Ippudo has an insanely long wait,  so if you live in Shanghai you should go while it’s still new.

For dinner, they have a happy hour with buy one get one draft beers when you order one of their appetizers on the list.

We got the edamame soy beans in soy sauce (RMB 20). It goes perfectly with a cold beer.

We also got an assortment of small dishes:  Cucumber with sesame sauce (RMB 20), Ippudo BBQ Pork Bun (RMB 23), Ippudo Spicy Shrimp Bun (RMB 23), BBQ Pork Slices on hot plate with poached egg (RMB 28), and the Ippudo fried chicken (RMB 30).  I really enjoyed the crunchy cucumber with sesame sauce as the combination with the sesame oil and fresh ground sesames were so fragrant and flavorful.  The chicken wings were nice because they already split the wings for you so it’s easier to eat, but otherwise the other dishes — while tasty — were not over-the-top impressive.

For the main attraction, the ramen, we ordered Special Akamaru (RMB 58) – “A rich and powerful Tonkatsu based on Ippudo’s secret recipe topped with Ippudo’s secret miso and garlic oil to enhance the pork bone flavor.  Select lean slices of pork, plus flavored soft boiled egg, roasted seaweed, black fungus, soybean sprouts and scallions, create a truly unique Akamaru taste.”  This was my favorite!  I like a little spiciness to my noodle soups so this was perfect.  Ramen generally looks so simple, but the thing that makes one ramen stand out from another are its components.  Each component of this ramen really stood out. The broth was rich and creamy and porky.  The noodles, freshly made in house, were of the perfect size and chewiness.  The pork slices were beautifully and delicately sliced, the soft boiled egg had a bright yellow yolk that was the perfect balance of soft and runny, and even the side of seaweed was not forgotten.  Usually after seaweed gets dunked into the soup, it loses its flavor and purpose.  But this one was still a key player in the ramen; smoky and flavorful and tasting even better dipped into the broth.

The other bowl of ramen we ordered was the Special Shiromaru (RMB 55) – “A timeless Ippudo classic, Shiromaru Motoaji is Ippudo’s original ramen.  The combination of Hakata style ultra thin noodles and a subtle and gentle tonkatsu, topped with select lean slices of pork, flavored soft boiled egg, roasted seaweed, black fungus, soybean sprouts and scallions, and exquisite cooking skill results in a truly real Japanese ramen.”  This ramen was also tasty but had a lighter broth compared to the spiciness of the Akamaru.  It was basically the same style but focusing more on the soy broth.  All of its components were on point as well.

Ippudo is quite delicious and always hits the spot when you’re craving it.  Be forewarned that the wait can be long, so it’s probably a place for the hardcore ramen lovers out there.  I’m really glad to see this place open up here in Shanghai!  Move over, mediocre Ajisen Ramen, Ippudo is here!

The Details:
Ippudo | LG 1-79 & 80, LG1F Shanghai IFC Mall | 8 Shiji Da Dao, Lujiazui, Pudong Shanghai China | (021) 2028 0328

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