Some people do crack-cocaine, I do Ippudo ramen. I was hooked the first time I tried it in Fukuoka and I am always craving it. Hakata ramen is my favorite style of ramen so far and I found out that Ippudo tsukemen is the perfect summer meal.
Tsukemen or “dipping noodles” is a strong broth served with thick cold or hot noodles.
I went to the Okayama City Ippudo which is located on the big street between the station and the castle. Ippudo has expended all over Japan and they now have shops in Singapore, Seoul and New York City.
It was really hot outside, so I decided to give their tsukemen a try. They also have hiyashi-chuka on the special summer menu, I guess I will have to go back and give this summer specialty a try.
The soup has a strong taste of katsuo bushi and pork. The fish base stands out and the chunks of pork are like tender nuggets of meaty goodness. The noodles are served cold and they are like thick spaghetti. The noodles are offered in small, medium and large portions, the medium was enough for me and I am a pretty big eater.
The idea is to have a dipping sauce with enough punch so the taste clings to the noodles. Ippudo tsukemen were delicious, but if you aren’t use to the katsuo-bushi taste, it might be a very odd taste. Smoky fish and pork are a pretty good combination to create are dish where the umami are off the chart.
If you have never tried Ippudo, run the closest store you can find. The Okayama shop has a great decor and great service. The bathroom has an elaborate tribute to Momotaro, a popular legend in Okayama. Ippudo opened a shop in Kurashiki last year.
I am warning you, the reference to crack-cocaine was not a joke, Ippudo is highly addictive, let’s see how long you can resist.