Ah ramen.... the food that captures the soul of Japan.
The art of making good ramen is a painstaking task, with masters taking many years to perfect their soup base and create their secret signature flavour. There are even people that search their whole lives for the perfect ramen and travel throughout Japan like a calling. I personally prefer Tonkotsu ramen, which is a creamy like pork broth with hints of garlic, chive, salt, cream and much more. Ramen noodles, charsu pork fillet, spring onions and other toppings are all just extras as the skill is all in the broth.
The best ramen I have ever eaten was from a hole-in-wall style place in the backstreets of Shinjuku. It was a 3am visit, involved a vending machine to order and since that time back in 2011 I have never found that place again.
Ramen at Ippudo is in my opinion one of the best you can get. Its not a small one-off shop with an old master, but surprisingly a growing franchise with places throughout Japan, Singapore, and even Australia now. Customer lines at Ippudo are long and out the door from open to close, with the Japanese stores being loud, exciting and absolutely delicious. The atmosphere when inside is eventful and all about slurping ramen, with the occasional echoing chant - translated to be; Chef "I'M MAKING RAMEN", All Staff "YES PLEASE".
I've tried most of the ramen on the menu, but on this visit I went for the classic medium size Tonkostu ramen, with al-dente noodles as recommended by staff. Thin slices of Charsu slow cooked pork lay on top with spring onions, bean sprouts and kikurage threads. Lets just say this ramen didn't even touch the sides as I ate it so quick, lifting the bowl high into the air to pour the remaining broth into my tummy, and an 'ahhhhhhhhhhhhh' of fulfilment.
Pure satisfaction doesn't get better than that, and in record time... ordered, eaten and paid all in under 15 min. The venue was packed, the turnover quick but there is an understanding by all that its not the place to sit around all day.
If you get a chance jump on google and search for an Ippudo ramen while in Japan, or if you are in Australia there are two stores located in Sydney.
HAKATA IPPUDO RAMEN - 一風堂 大宮店
〒338-0004 Saitama Prefecture, Saitama, 中央区本町西3−7−7