What is it with ramen that drives me and Tricia nuts? Is it the flavors that truly numb our palate and our mind? Is it that overload of steaming noodles and the perfection to minute details that bring us to our knees? Or is it the overly long lines and the exagerratedness of it all that just simply catches us our attention? There are just so many questions that I am not entirely that one bowl or two in Ippudo would be able to answer. What I do know though is, for all of its hype there was something lacking in the whole experience.
I won't say that I am a ramen master or much less a connoisseur of the best, I just happen to have tasted so much in this past year that there are some that have truly ingrained themselves to my memory: Yushoken in Alabang and Ramen Daisho in Shaw Boulevard. For Yushoken it was the flavor and the consistent quality that brings me and Tricia back for seconds and thirds (last count we're now on our fourth). Ramen Daisho has their broth that tingles and excites my tastebuds.
Maybe there will come a day when there will be a ramen restaurant that will trump over Yushoken or maybe there won't but I would have to say that it tried and I was impressed. Ippudo has its own merits and that in itself is already good At the heart Ippudo isn't the flavor nor their broth, it was really their noodles. For many restaurants they always boast of their stories of laborious noodle-making craft, the same shtick was also on the walls and placemats of Ippudo and like any other I didn't really mind the whole written story. I've heard enough and I have read enough.
My perspective ended up changing the moment I bit into that first strand, maybe by chance I was lucky but as I chowed down there was a consistency to the quality of the noodles. It was firm, it was soft, it was easy to slurp, it clung to the chopsticks with ease, it...well it had a lot of qualities to plentiful to just write here. And the fact was I really liked it...no I loved it. In the past I didn't really pay to much attention to ramen noodles, now I have tasted the heart of ramen and it was amazing.
In the end, Ippudo for what its worth stays solely planted beside Ramen Daisho. It is a nice ramen place but I think along the way their sense of perfection was lost it their journey to make the perfect noodle. Is this a place I would like to visit again? Certainly, just to have another round of their meal and maybe try their other ramens that might have the flavor and oomph I am looking for. Til then I will travel back to the south and have my fourth round of Yushoken. enough for me.
My name is Alfonso your nerdy history teacher, bookworm and lover of all things cultural and exciting. You can find me in a weekend market, in a bookshop, or eating in Japanese restos during the weekends.