Ippudo is one of Japan’s top ramen shops and there was a hype when it opened in 2009. Even till today, there are often long queues during lunch and dinner.
The founder of Ippudo, Shigemi Kawahara, is known as the Ramen King after three consecutive first place wins on a nationwide ramen-making competition where the top ramen chefs compete to create the best ramen.
Does Ippudo ramen at Mandarin Gallery live up to the hype?
Ciki and I were there for dinner on a weekday, and it was fortunate that we went early as there was a long queue waiting outside shortly after. Upon entering Ippudo, I was pleasantly surprised by the interior. Unlike the usual ramen places, the dimly lit restaurant at Mandarin Gallery, Orchard road has a modern and classy vibe.
Besides ramen, Ippudo’s menu also has other side dishes like Agedashi Tofu ($10), Gyoza ($6), Chashu Hotplate ($8) and Tonkotsu Croquette ($12). After a quick glance at the menu, we ordered the classic Shiromaru Motoaji ($15) – original recipe tonkatsu soup served with Hakata-style thin noodles, rosu chashu, cabbage and spring onion; and Karaka-Men ($17) – Ippudo pork broth with special spicy miso and ground pork.
The chashu, oh the chashu.
At Ippudo, the Shiromaru Motoaji ($15) comes with a gorgeous piece of rosu chashu (pork loin). The Hakata-style noodles are springy and delightful, while the broth is refreshing and very addictive.
It is one of those moments where you find it hard to explain how something so simple can taste so delicious.
The Karaka-Men ($17), on the other hand, has a spicy kick to it and is no less addictive than the Shiromaru.
Like other ramen shops, Ippudo has its own regulars who swear by it and visit on a regular basis to satisfy their ramen cravings. While there are also others who felt that it is overrated and not as good as the one in Japan.
I think it all boils down to knowing how to manage your expectations. Ippudo has always been known as one of the best ramen shops in Japan, and this probably explains why some people go there with ridiculously high expectations and end up being disappointed.
For me, there is no doubt that Ippudo at Mandarin Gallery is one of the best ramen restaurants in Singapore. The question is, are you willing to queue up for it?
Singapore Food Blog Review
333A Orchard Road
#04-02/03/04 Mandarin Gallery
Tel: +65 6235 2797
Mon to Sat: 11am – 11pm
Sun: 11am – 10pm