Sunday, July 17, 2011

博多一風堂 - [Ippudo HK Ramen]

 The famous Ramen shop from Hakata of Japan has finally opened their branch in Hong Kong,  no less helped by the funding provided by a large local food consortium group.   And thanks to the referral by friends and an invitation to attend their Blogger’s Event and then my subsequent private visit to re-try  -  we were also given a chance to bombard its founder with many annoying questions despite him being known for avoiding sensitive questions!   河原成美  (Kawahara Shigemi)  is a 5 times Japanese Ramen King and probably unbeknown to many Ramen eaters,  his Ramen style is different from the really hardcore tonkotsu style of Hakata Yatai or old school ramen shops,  as these are usually patroned by men after a big drinking night out as is typical Kyushu tradition.    Kawahara-san has been gradually evolving his recipes, as he focused on re-designing Ippudo’s Tonkotsu ramen style to adapt to the taste and spacial design preferences of the younger generations as well as opening up the market for lady customers.   He uses slow cooking techniques and 3 different parts of a pig to make his soup base milder in style,  and also boils down until the pork smell usually affiliated with Hakata style ramen is completely removed.


Founder Owner and 5 Times Japan Ramen King -



Very full -
Expect long lines



With a display of 55 ramen bowls in the Hong Kong outlet and 108 bowls in the New York store. these were all gifted to 河原成美 by many similarly famous ramen shops within Japan:   Kawahara san is highly regarded by his ramen peers for his contribution to the revival of the Ramen movement in the mid 1980’s, when there was an epic economical and ramen down-turn and a lot of uncertainty were faced by the ramen shop owners.   The name Ippudo or 一風堂,  is apparently named this way by the founder since the Kanji 一風 in Japanese represents a spirit of alliance between all ramen shop owners, as they must fight their way forward in unity and hardship.




Asahi Draught Beer -  $34



Iced Water -
Authentic ramen shops provide iced water or cold tea,
never hot tea…


風神. 雷神 -  Ippudo Crispy Chicken,  Singapore Style  $38
This item is from the Ippudo Singapore menu.  The external crust was a little too hard to our liking,  and we were thinking whether this really is made from deboned chicken wings!   An option from either sweet or chili sauces can be selected  ~   4/10




Ippudo Char Siu Buns  (チャーシューバンズ)  New York - 
This very popular item is from NYC’s Ippudo,  using a ramen type pork belly char siu sandwiched between flat white bread,  aka Taiwanese style.   Perhaps due to NYC’s Momofuku Noodle bar’s rivalry to Ippudo,  they decided to do an Ippudo version of the Taiwanese pork belly buns as well!    This was quite fatty and glazed with a mayonnaise sauce.  Bread was not fluffy enough though but overall it’s fun to stuff yourself silly with one!    ~   7/10


Shiromaru Motoaji (白丸元味)  $68 +  Egg 煮たまご  $10
Laver Seaweed $8 and extra Pork Neck dish (豚とろチャーシュー) $25
The base pork soup,  made from Imported Porks from 2 countries and cooked at multiple pots and stages  up to beyond 18 hours is very similar to the original shop in Fukuoka.  There is a finer elegant layering in the soup base and there is only sweetness but none of the pork smell associated with the normal Kyushu’s varieties – including Hakata, Nagahama, Fukuoka, Kurume, Kumamoto, Nagasaki etc.  styled  Tonkotsu broth!     The noodles are the thin authentic type and the BEST I’ve tried in HK anywhere for this style, they’re wheaty and bitey.   Surprisingly, Japan Ippudo’s ramen noodles are deliberately made using Hard Water by the owner -  which is rare to find in Japan but much easier here within Hong Kong.  The HK noodles are made locally but using Japanese machines and ingredients.   ~  8/10

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Pork Neck was a little bland for my taste, as it’s not even torched or grilled.
- Normal Char Siu is leaner than many places.  Not bad.
- Egg, called Ni-Tamago in Japan,  has been renamed 半熟蛋 instead in HK,  and has a lava like centre in both my eggs on both days.  Others had a more cooked one unfortunately
- Not much Condiments except for sesame and shichimi powder is given,  which is a bit boring compared to the best shops in Japan or even Hong Kong.    There is also no red Beni-Shoga or Menma in the noodles, but only Moyashi, Negi and Kikurage  a surprise for this New Hakata style ramen!



赤丸新味 -
This Red Miso version also has some black garlic oil added.  It’s a little too garlicky for me,  but I like the Miso.  *I’ll order this with the garlic oil separate next time!   The Char Siu in this bowl is different from the above 2 types of Char Siu’s as well!    Also liked this version except the garlic  ~   7/10


Bowl #2 of -   Shiromaru Motoaji (白丸元味) $68 + Egg 煮たまご $10
Another bowl of this,  and very similar flavour. 


Simmered Pork (豚角煮)  $25 -
Sometimes put into Tonkotsu ramen itself like a char siu,  this version here was tender but a little too lean.   It was also a little weak in absorbing the cooking sauce!   ~   6/10


Karaka Miso & Mince Ramen  (一風堂からか麺)  $78 -
The noodles for this ‘hot’ version are unique,  as they’re slightly curly so that they could latch onto the minced meat and chili miso.  There are 5 levels of spiciness selectable if you ask.   I liked this,  but thought it needed more minced meat.   Eaten like a Tan Tan Ramen,  the version at Santouka 山頭火 beats here for the time being,  but it’s not fair to compare them directly as the latter has real sesame paste added in unlike the ‘chili’ focused one offered here..   ~   6.5/10



Ippudo Original Gyoza  (オリジンナル餃子, 博多ひとくち餃子) $38 -
Our ones were fried and browned well, but other friends eating here had some that were under grilled,  which is a pet peeve of mine.   The inside of mostly cabbage and little chicken meat is consistent with what you’ll find in Japanese style gyoza’s,  topped with some garlic and negi.  Dipped into a chili oil and vinegary soy-sauce dipping!   Not bad.   ~   7/10



Mixed Sorbets -
These were pretty good with a lemony tang without the sugar,  and the other was presumably ripe mango?  Not sure!


Okinawan Fried Donuts with Vanilla Ice Cream (セーターアンダギー バニラアイス添え) $33 -
This was fried a little too hard was what is basically a Chinese 笑口棗,  where it originated in recipe from!     Interesting choice of dessert but may be not so surprisingly since Kyushu is close to Okinawa  ~   6/10



味噌プリン (Miso Pudding) – $28
It turned out to be not savoury but still pretty sweet,  so wonder if its made from Saikyo miso.  Anyway I liked this for its eggy flavour and a crème caramel like consistency but don’t expect to taste a ‘miso’ impact on your senses!   ~   7/10



A very good Ramen Store,
worth coming back…  A good alternative to Butao in town!

Price: $110 Per Person + 10%
Score:  ♕♕♕♕ 1/2

Opening Hours:
Mon to Sun -  11:30am – 23:00pm

Address:  尖沙咀廣東道30號新港中心210號舖
Shop 210, Silvercord Tower, 30 Canton Road, Tsim Sha Tsui
Ph:   2957 8893


  1. I am not a big fan of this style of ramen...which is probably a good thing, since the queue to this place is getting crazy already!

  2. Ohh heading to Hong Kong in Sep so this will have to go on the list!!

  3. Hi Mocha-Rita - yeh this isn't exactly my type of ramen either as I'm more used to Tokyo or Yokohama style, or Hokkaido and Kitakata ramen! I went by myself on 2nd visit and luckily the wait was only 3-4 mins! : )

    Gourmet Butcher, this shop has set a good base-line upon which others can be measured. For other Ramen Shops in HK which are good or better or similar, please remember MIST RAHMEN and BUTAO, as well as HOKKAIDO SAPPORO RAMEN. Hope that helps ! :)

  4. This is amazing. What a thorough post, you really love your ramen huh? Good insight on the different types of ramen and cooking style. I for one, love mine with runny egg yolk too, though seasoning and condiment come second to the delightful, creamy pork-infused broth.

  5. Hello from Australia!
    I stumbled across your blog through looking at Caprice restaurant on Openrice.
    You have such a great blog with beautiful photos! I am green with envy after reading about the places you have eaten from around the world!! :)
    I will be visiting Hong Kong soon, so I will definitely subscribe to your blog and keep reading to find out more great places to eat when I'm there. :)
    Keep up the great work!


    Thanks for your comments! I am actually from Australia myself (Melbourne) and will back back there around early August.

    Let me know if you will have any time to catch up, at either here or in Aust! : ) Will be looking forward to meeting you one day : )

    Kind regards,

    HK Epic!



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