Ippudo Ramen: A Very Good Second Best

a caption at ippudo's glass wall
a caption at ippudo’s glass wall

Though heat is intensely shimmering in Metro Manila, hot ramen eateries and restaurants at the moment are experiencing some renaissance in this mega city.   Like Trader Joe’s Speculoos Cookie Butter spread in the past, ramen dishes today are a craze in this part of the world.

Since I am spending a fab holiday in Osaka, I will definitely not miss the enormous chance to eat ramen in this metropolis (at least twice).  That is why, I coerced my family to eat again in a ramen house.  This time we searched for the ramen joint that is pretty popular in Manila.  It’s the Hakata Ippudo Ramen restaurant located just a few meters away from the Swissotel in Namba, Osaka.

I proved the popularity of this restaurant in the Philippines because when we reached the ramen house, there were considerable number of Filipino tourists queuing waiting for their turn to be seated.  It was further amplified when it was our chance to enter the establishment.  I noticed that about 80% of their guests were Filipinos.

the queue outside where pinoy tourists converge
the queue outside where pinoy tourists converge
as presented in their english menu...
as presented in their english menu…

Like what I did in Zondouya Ramen restaurant a couple of days ago (read my post about Zondouya HERE), I settled for the most expensive and biggest photo dish on the menu.  Surprisingly, my order called Akamaru Special is pretty similar to Zembo-no, the ramen I enormously enjoyed in Zondouya.

My ordered Akamaru Special ramen also contains sheets of nori, soft-as-butter pork, freshly cut negi, a soft boiled egg, caramelized onions and garlic, plus a generous amount of “straight” noodles.  (in Zondouya, I went for the “curly” variety.)

my enjoyable akamaru
my enjoyable akamaru!

The speed and quality of service rendered by the staff in Ippudo is as fast and as charming as that of Zondouya.  However, when my Akamaru Special was placed in front of me, the first thing I noticed was the presentation.  I straightforwardly uttered, “In terms of presentation, one point for Zondouya!”

I could no longer resist my comparing when I started stirring and mixing the ingredients in my bowl.  Before I uttered another word, I internalize and justified that comparison is one of the fundamental processes of the human mind.  And we define things in terms of their similarities and differences.

akamaru to the left, zenbo-no to the right. now you choose...
akamaru to the left, zenbo-no to the right. now you choose…

I then uttered in a pretty loud voice, “In terms of thickness and full-bodied-ness, another point for Zondouya!”  My nieces and nephews indisputably agreed with me.  My niece Erika seated beside me expressed that Zondouya’s Zembo-no looks richer while Ippudo’s Akamaru was runnier in terms of thickness.

Now the taste.  Tactlessly speaking, I articulated saying, “In terms of taste, another point for Zondouya!”  Some Pinoy guests at the waiting area and nearby tables were starting to look at me, as if wondering what ramen was I comparing Ippudo’s version with.  Nevertheless, I voiced out that Ippudo’s slices of pork were smoother and actually melts in the mouth.  I uttered, “one point for Ippudo for the softness of the pork, nonetheless!” The Pinoy guests looked down onto their bowls and resumed their munching.

But the softness of the pork could not counterweight the enormous savory taste of Zondouya’s broth.  Like a lot of ramen experts, I have always believed that the success of a ramen dish all depends on the palatability of the broth.  A lot of ramen connoisseurs would even do massive research and experimentations just to achieve the perfect broth.  For me personally, Zondouya’s broth formula is truly magical.  Ipuddo’s version nonetheless is very good.

To simply conclude my comparison between Ipuddo and Zondouya, I personally requested to meet the chef in the latter while for the former we stepped out of the establishment happy and thought to myself, I should celebrate differences.  That not all things are equal, some things needs to be less pretty so as to further appreciate others beauty.

Masarap din inperness…

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