Funny story a couple of weeks back when Jim and I were in Singapore for a night and we were deciding where to have dinner, my Trip Advisor app kept saying Ippudo. Being a know-it-all, I told Jim that there was already an Ippudo in Manila so we should eat at a place we didn’t have back home. When we got back I realized I was thinking of a different ramen place so I was kicking myself for not going to the restaurant while we were in Singapore. But I guess everything really happens for a reason. 2 nights ago, I was invited to a private tasting event for a new restaurant just about to open on our shores: Japan’s highly acclaimed ramen emporium, Ippudo!
I got there at half past 7 and met with the rest of the family. We were very excited. I’m not ramen-crazy like Maxx but I appreciate all kinds of good food.
We were served guacamole and chips while waiting for the program to start.
We said hello to our friend Mike Concepcion, son of John Concepcion who is responsible for bringing Ippudo to the Philippines! They are also behind the amazing katsu place Yabu.
Also trying out the new ramen place was cute couple, model Georgia Schulze and Azkal Armand del Rosario!
When Maxx introduced us (for the nth time haha), Georgia said “hey, I’ve met you before!” and what little social skills I had went flying out the window when I responded with “I see you in magazines.” WHY. But yes, I used to see her all the time in my Candy and Seventeen magazines back in high school.
We were ushered back outside to catch the start of the program. There were 5 huge drums and I got so excited! 5 men entered and started an amazing drum routine with matching shouting. Somehow it sounded very Asian. I know, ang labo ng description ko. But I really enjoyed it!
Mari Jasmine was the evening’s host. She is such a cute girl with an Aussie accent and we were very surprised when she started speaking in fluent Japanese! Apparently, she spent the first 5 years of her life in Japan! Jim was very impressed so I flashed him the rock on my finger. LOL.
John Concepcion gave the opening remarks. He is such a good speaker! He said Yabu was actually inspired by Ippudo so he’s very happy to be bringing his favorite restaurant to the Philippines!
We were then introduced to Japan’s “Ramen King” Shigemi Kawahara – founder of Ippudo. He earned the title of Ramen King and a place in the Ramen Hall of Fame after three consecutive first place wins on a Japanese television program where ramen mavens compete to create the best ramen.
We witnessed “Kagami-Biraki” or sake barrel breaking ceremony where SM vice president Steven Tan, John Concepcion, a representative from the Japanese embassy (at least that’s what I heard, ack, somebody correct me if I’m wrong!!), and Shigemi all broke the lid of a barrel full of sake and toasted to their partnership!
Then they hung the “noren” to officially open the restaurant!
Finally, we get to taste the food yayyy!
They provided a handy guide on how to enjoy ramen
They served each of us all the side dishes on their menu and they were all yummy! This one is the Goma Q or Japanese cucumber
Curry Cheese Harumaki – I LOVED THIS
Ippudo Hakata-style Gyoza
And my ultimate favorite out of everything I tasted that night – the Ippudo pork buns. I can practically eat a hundred of these in one sitting.
Japanese beer to wash it all down
I chose the spiciest ramen Karaka-Men (rightmost on the menu above) with hard noodles
Writer Erica Paredes was sitting next to us enjoying her own bowl of ramen!
Maxx was crushing extra garlic on her ramen when somebody offered to do it for her. It was Shigemi himself! Photo oppp!
Shigemi Kawahara is best known for turning the Hakata-style, tonkotsu (pork-based) ramen into the delicate creamy version that earned Ippudo its national acclaim. The first-ever Ippudo was in his hometown of Fukuoka City, Kyushu and it only seated 10 people. Today, Ippudo has about 120 branches worldwide and they serve around 45,000 customers daily.
My babies are growing up so fast!
Mama is in Hong Kong right now on vacation with her friends. Hi mama!!!! We miss you!!
Fun time! Will definitely go back! There are other items on the menu I’d like to try like the classic Ippudo rice dishes, the Garlic Teppan Tonkotsu rice and Hakata Meshi. I’m sure there will be a long line though haha!
Ippudo Philippines is located at the 3rd floor of Mega Fashion Hall, SM Megamall. It officially opens on September 10 and will operate from 10AM-10PM daily. Learn more about Ippudo Philippines by visiting their website www.ippudoph.com. You can tag them on Twitter/Instagram via @ippudoph!