Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Hakato Ippudo

I've tried a lot of different ramen places in New York, and hands down Hakata Ippudo is my favorite. Hakata Ippudo opened its only branch outside of Japan last year.

Since my first visit at Hakata Ippudo in March 2008, I get hit by frequent Hakata Ippudo ramen cravings, particularly on weekend mornings, which is also the best time to go there. They don't take reservations, and during prime dinner hours, it's very packed and the waiting time can be as long as 1-2 hours. But fear not, if you ever have to wait and you manage to squeeze yourself into the bar, order the pork buns. It's a slightly stingy slice of chasu with a piece of cabbage. I usually ask for the chili sauce (Sriracha), add a bit of that and I've got myself a great way to coat my stomach while waiting.

While doing some reading before writing up this entry, I learned that Hakata ramen originated from Fukuoka prefacture. What makes the soup so great is that the pork bones are thrown in and it is slowly cooked over high heat, the richness of the soup comes from the bone marrow (I'm salivating as I am writing this). The two signature ramen dishes at Hakata Ippudo are the Shiromaru Classic and the Akamaru Modern. The Shioramaru Classic is the original recipe with Berkshire pork chasu, scallion & cabbage. It is flavorful, satisfying and the pork chasu just melts in your mouth. The Akamaru modern, which is my favorite, is basically the Shiromaru Classic plus their "secret sauce". I don't know what the "secret" in the sauce is, and frankly, I don't care, all I know is I LOVE IT, to the point of addiction. I also love the noodles, which is thin and firm. You can order extra noodles, and they will only bring them to you when you are about done with your current portion because it gets soggy if it sits in the soup for too long. Brilliant!

I've also tried the kakuni which comes with daikon raddish in soy sauce & wasabi sauce. The shrimp in mayo is also good, somehow fried shrimp and Japanese mayo make so much sense together. The matcha green tea creme brulee is a nice way to end the meal on a high note!

More Hakata Ippudo Pictures

Address: Ippudo, 65 4th Ave, New York, NY 10003