Food Porn Friday | "Dueling Ramen" Ippudo vs. Ichiran | Hong Kong

Friday, June 27, 2014


It’s been a couple of months since my Asia trip HERE but I’m still yearning for
their boiling hot bowl of ramen noodles even as the heat is rising in Cali. Call it the curse of the perpetual Asian palate that forces me to pack Cup o’noodles during most vacations so I’m not cranky without a taste of familiar umami. MmmmMMmmmm... 
 
Although I’m much more an udon gal myself, after tracking down some of the MOST infamous ramen in all of China/HK, I’m slowly becoming a convert y’all. Something about al dente egg noodles simmered in a hearty miso broth that coaxes me into a satisfying stupor of food coma. Add equal parts slow cooked boiled egg, salted seaweed squares, extra bamboo and it’s ON like Donkey Kong hunnies!

Battle of the dueling ramen noodles starts NOW: 

Ichiran, Hong Kong (pictured above)
(Left) The queue from outside (Upper right) Street signage can be seen from a block away (Lower right) Individual dining "boxes" indicative of Hakata Ramen style in Japan.
  

(Left) Before being seated, you select your ramen noodles, broth, seasonings, and extras (Right) They put your order in and you begin a second queue to be seated

After relying on Open Rice to find us the highest rated cuisine nearby, we settled for Ichiran Ramen conveniently located within walking distance from our shopping destination in Causeway Bay, HK. Heralded by Open Ricers as WINNER of the BEST ramen in all of the country (2014 polls), we made the short trek only to be met with a line that ran all the way down the block and easily an hour before the lunchtime rush. Yup, I’m that girl that allows long lines to dictate the verdict of my impending meal. It usually goes one of two ways: Bomb.com or superior overrated sucknage. THANK GOD she did not disappoint and I’m left regaling y’all with stories of the singular most memorable noodle experience of my life!

 Ordering is quick and easy with a step-by-step guide in animated form, lol


I love how they have individual water fountains for every diner. Makes the service portion of the meal virtually nonexistent.


(Above) The BEFORE: Traditional miso broth with all the fixins: Regular order of noodles with extra char siu (on the house :D), seaweed, fungus, spices, and a soft boiled egg.

(Below) The AFTER: I slurped all the remains of this baby up after devouring the entire contents! I NEVER finish my food, I usually only eat until I'm full, but this one was TOO good not to savor! The broth was hearty and soooo packed with rich fragrant flavor, I almost forgot that I was in HK and not Japan!

The verdict: A-FRIGGIN-MAZEBALLLLLLLLZ!


Ippudo, Guangzhou China


Love the interior of the space, super cute modern/traditional take on their original design in Japan. Decorated with exposed china in a red, white, and black palette. 

Okay lovers *spoiler alert* it was NOT good. But let me give you a little back story of why I even tracked down the infamous Ippudo in the first place. Have you read their yelp reviews for the one in NYC? Oman 4stars out of 6,040 reviews??? That’s UNREAL!!! And highly trustworthy in my book so imagine my surprise when we landed on an Ippudo in Guangzhou during a casual wayward stroll through the inner-city mall district. 
 

No.1: NEVER trust mall food. I don’t eat it locally, so why would I ever traverse inside a mall to get my foodie fix? Bad move, so stu!


No.2: NEVER trust a restaurant without any diners. During lunchtime. Ok, ok, we were STARVING at this point and I really wanted to see if there was any difference between the Asia variety and the ones found in the states. But seriously, no diners when the mall was packed!


I was able to sample a few of the different broths and noodles and after having come down from the high of Ichiran, I stayed down. So sad. The broth was mild, no rich aromas, no hearty miso flavor, it was just ok. Oiler than the Ichiran variety and definitely a bit skimpy on the char siu pork. This was my bowl above, about 3/4 size of the regular bowl from Ichiran so you're getting less bang for your buck.


The infamous pork buns: They took FOREVER to get this out to us when it was clearly the appetizer. Almost as if they busted out their handy "Ramen for dummies" handbook to see what this pork bun even entailed. As if NO ONE orders this so they don't remember the last time they made it. If you look at the pork buns in NYC, they serve juicy WHOLE pieces of pork belly, not stringed meat loaded with mayonnaise. Hell, I could have made this with Mom's leftovers from last night! PASS!

Overall, I enjoyed eating my way through Asia's world of ramen. The highs were high, the lows oh-so low but that doesn't mean I won't sniff my way through the SoCal varieties especially when I live a mile away from Little Tokyo in DTLA. Oh the beauty of living in this melting pot of ours! Who's complaining???


What's the BEST ramen you've ever had???
Do tell! I promise I won't blog about your "secret" spot!
I mean, no one reads these reviews anyhow, they just look at pix! lol

Bon Appétit mes amis!

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28 comments

  1. This looks so yummy! I love ramen!

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  2. i love your post, nice pictures. new post on my blog http://jenniquecreatives.blogspot.com/

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  3. I think I'd choose the Ichiran restaurant, seeing your
    reviews about the 2 different restaurant :P I love
    that Ichiran has this individual hot water fountain
    at the table!

    I can't believe the Ipuddo in NYC has a good review in
    Yelp! And I can't believe the one in China has to be
    the one that let you down :c Xx

    ReplyDelete
  4. You have such dedication to finding great food! That's a shame about the pork buns....what a letdown! I hate when food takes ages to come out of the kitchen and then doesn't even taste good.
    the-creationofbeauty.blogspot.com

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  5. OMG, it ALL looks so damn good! I love the look of the ramen eggs! I need runny eggs and tender pork slices! And a good hearty tasty broth always helps! I've yet to try ramen noodles so good I can't forget them, so I can't wait to try more when I travel!

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  6. This sound so delicious! I am craving for some hot ramen in this cold weather!
    -Melanie
    http://thetiafox.com/

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  7. I think it is funny that you said no one reads these reviews anyways! So true hardly anyone ever reads blog posts which is sad! Loved your review! Listening to you makes me sure want a bowl of those noodles! I agree that you should never trust a restaurant without diners!

    Rebecca
    www.winnipegstyle.ca

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  8. Thank you for your comment! The foods looks soooo good! *droling* haha


    xx
    http://teenjakosan.blogspot.no/

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  9. The soups look delicious!!! Your trip to Asia sounded amazing!!!
    Thanks so much for stopping by my blog and leaving such a lovely comment.
    I'm following you on Facebook and bloglovin, I hope you can follow me back to stay in touch.
    XOXO

    Milu
    www.hellolupi.blogspot.com

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  10. Quante bellissime foto

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  11. super food, looks yummy.
    xxx
    mari
    www.ilovegreeninspiration.com

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  12. I'm always amazed by oriental food, I like it a lot but it's hard to find good places here in Italy...so I am officially envious :P

    Arianna, Nymphashion ♡

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  13. This food looks amazing! I've never tried it though, will have to get down to the local Asian supermarket!

    //teandtwosugars.blogspot.com xx

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  14. Love the food shots! Sorry about your experience at Ippudo Guangzhou. The reputation in Japan & Singapore is very high & I've tried in both countries. Sadly, I never enjoy my food when I'm in China......
    Luxury Haven

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  15. You made me hungry!

    XO CHAMA FASHION
    www.chamafashion.com

    ReplyDelete
  16. lovely post. thanks for sharing your tips and the food info.
    have a good tuesday
    x

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  17. That miso broth looks delicious!

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  18. I never eat this kind of food, but I like to try it!

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  19. Sounds like an impressive and cool place to eat! Wish there was something like that where I am!

    Krissie x - http://pearlsofstyle.blogspot.com.au

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