Last week, before the Sunflower movement set in motion, I had an episode of acute ramen craving (#firstworldproblem). I couldn’t think of where to go, so I browsed through Hungry Girl in Taipei’s blog for some inspiration, which doesn’t make sense since I am in Kaohsiung… go figure O_o.
From having read a few articles about it, Ippudo had been buzzing in my head, and sticked in my mind. Apparently, it’s quite the craze in New-York, where the only two branches in America are located in so far. Joan’s review sounded promising, so I looked up online to see if by any chance, Kaohsiung had also an Ippudo branch, and it did! So does Tainan, though I’m surprised Taichung doesn’t yet have a branch of it own as well.
Ippudo in Kaohsiung is located inside the Hanshin department store at Kaohsiung Arena, in the food court basement, near the Matsusei and escalators. I went on a weekday, around opening time, so was directly seated and didn’t get to use their ticketing system.
The menu is pretty straightforward and for my first time, I sticked to the basics with the tonkotsu soup (pork broth). The ramen totally lived up to its hype, the noodles had a good bite, the soup was a tad on the salty side but so flavorful that I finished it! The two slices of melt-in-your-mouth belly chashu were heavenly, right to that thin layer of pork skin. So when I overheard that my neighboring solo diner was ordering a tonkotsu without the meat, I wanted to wave at her with my hands up in the air and say “me, me, me”, but who does that? Anyway, it was time to move on with my day, so I went to pay at the counter, and along with my lottery receipt and change, they sent me off with a coupon for a small side worth 55NT. Way to get me to come back… and well, that’s just what I did, dragging a friend along, the following week.
Ironically, we didn’t use the coupon, and went with the seasonal shoyu ramen for me, and for my friend, the set meal where for 108 NT extra, you get a cold appetizer and a choice of hot appetizer. We both enjoyed the small plate of pickled vegetables, and the crispy fried chicken also held its own though it didn’t phase me more than that.
The shoyu ramen did not disappoint, largely thanks to its delicious broth which I kept voraciously eating spoonfuls of, that I almost forgot about the noodles, oops! Lean chashu is served with the shoyu ramen, which was tasty, but not as memorable as the belly one. I have no idea if it’s possible to request belly chashu instead of the lean version, but I’ll try next time I go. My friend got the special shiromaru, so I got to taste its broth. I expected it to be similar to the tonkotsu, but I guess it’s the roasted seaweed that brings a taste from the sea, and makes for an interesting surf-and-turf broth.
I’m sure there are other worthy ramen shop in Kaohsiung, but for now, if I have to go for ramen, then it has to be Ippudo! Seriously, do they put crack in their broth or what? :p
Name: Ippudo 一風堂
Additional Reviews+Photos: blogspot/hungryintaipei
Address: Basement of the Hanshin department store at Kaohsiung Arena
Price: 250NT+ (+10% of service fee)
(last updated: 2016/11/05 六 )