Friday, February 23, 2018

Food Friday: Ippudo Makes its way to San Francisco

Ippudo SF Yerba Buena 18 Yerba Buena Lane San Francisco, CA 94103

Ippudo's Karaka Spicy Ramen noodles.

Ever since visiting Ippudo in New York back in 2013, I wished for it to make its way to my little city by the bay. After visiting in 2013, I didn't get to try Ippudo again until 2016, when I visited its Paris location while in France. Then, in 2017, the Berkeley location opened and I knew SF had to be on its way. Finally, this past January, my ramen dreams came true.

Shigemi Kawahara, the Ramen King, speaks at the San Francisco Ippduo opening.
Sake poured at the Ippudo San Francisco restaurant opening.Ippudo Ramen opens its doors in San Francisco.
Pouring sake for a toast to the new Ippudo San Francisco location.The ramen-making process at Ippudo's San Francisco opening.
Veggie buns at Ippudo San FranciscoThe menu from the San Francisco Ippudo Ramen restaurant opening.
Karaka Spicy Ramen from Ippudo's San Francisco restaurant opening.Celebration Lobster Ramen from Ippudo's San Francisco restaurant opening.

Originally founded in 1985, Ippudo began as a small 10-seat ramen house in Japan. It was founded by Shigemi Kawahara, who was named the Ramen King after revolutionizing the ramen culture around the globe. Today, Ippudo has a presence in Asia, Europe, Australia and the US, and some even call it the most famous tonkatsu ramen in the world. Ippudo has two signature dishes - its Shiromaru Classic, which is its original tonaktsu broth and thin noodle ramen,  and its Akamaru Modern, which is also pork broth-based with thin noodles but has a special miso paste. 

On this special opening night event, Ippudo pulled out all the stops. First of all - we met the Ramen King himself! He passionately told us his story as we all held up our sake and toasted to the new location. We were invited to try all the ramen we could eat. While our eyes begged us to get every ramen on the menu, our stomachs brought us down to earth and convinced us to stick with our one bowl each. Luckily, since there were two of us, we really got to try two bowls - a special one-night-only Lobster Tonkatsu ramen and, my favorite of Ippudo's ramens, the Karaka Spicy ramen. Bowls are reasonably priced ranging from about $14 to $20, depending on what you get. While you wait for ramen, be sure to order a side of their delicious pork buns. And, because it's San Francisco, I recommend lining up early. The wait tends to be a bit long, so be prepared for upwards of an hour depending on the night.

Ippudo remains high on my ramen list, but I'm always on the hunt for the best noods. Have a suggestion, holler at your girl and let me know where you've found your best bowl.  
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