Tokyo Ramen War: Ippudo vs Ichiran

When in Tokyo (or anywhere in Japan), eat ramen. And be sure to visit Ippudo and Ichiran if you have this thing for yummy Tonkotsu ramen.

106-0032 Tokyo, Minato-ku, Roppongi 4-9-11 second Odagiri Building 1F
Opening hours: 11:00am to 4:00 next day, Friday / 11:00 to 5:00, Sundays / 11:00 to 1:00 next

This was the first Ramen I've tried in Tokyo and it was sooooo good that we ate there twice. There are several Ippudo branches in Japan but we went to the Roponggi Hills branch. Twice. Ippudo's prices range from JPY 800 - 1,100 each ramen bowl while sides are about JPY 150-300. If you're a bit on the budget, check out their lunch specials for JPY 800 which includes rice, ramen, and 6pcs of gyoza.

I got the Special Shiromaru Ramen (JPY 1,050) while BB ordered the Special Akamaru Ramen (JPY 1,100). Mine was better fo sho!

Ippudo Japan Menu for your translation please

 Various condiments and sauces are available, unlike in Ippudo Singapore

Ginger, Bean Sprouts, and other stuff to eat before your ramen arrives...also available for free

Free flow tea for free. Rhyming sucks.

Special Shiromaru Ramen - Tonkotsu ramen topped with special chasu, bean sprouts, scallions, egg, kikurage (tree mushrooms), and wanton.

The noodles were Hakata style  while the pork broth was milky without being too salty, oily, and overpowering. The special Chasu was thicker and fattier than what I'm used to (feel free to insert green joke here). But holy freaking swine I took a bite of it and then boom! RAMEN AWESOMENESS. Fork Chopstick tender with fatty melt-in-your-mouth goodness. Boo-hoo though because the second time I went to the shop, the Chasu wasn't at par with what I had the first time i.e. the ramen-in-charge dude prolly went to a party, got drunk, and prepared my Chasu with a head-splitting hangover. And bitch please, don't even get me started on the flavored egg.

Chasu, I choose you!

How can an egg be this sexy? Tell me!

We had gyoza on the side too! Nothing much to rave about, I like Harajuku Gyoza better.

Let it also be known that not all Ippudo branches in Tokyo serve the Special Shiromaru Ramen which makes it more awesome.

7-1-1 Ueno Taito-ku Tokyo-to 110-0005
Opening hours: 24/7

If you're in Ueno area and you find a ramen shop with a long queue outside, then you'll probably looking at Ichiran. Similar to Ippudo, Ichiran has various branches around Japan and specializes in Tonkotsu based ramen. Prices are lower in Ichiran and you have to order your ramen from a vendo type of machine which I found very interesting. And they also provide you with a form so you could customize your ramen based on your preferences: Flavor strength, Richness, Garlic, Green Onion, Sliced Pork, Secret Sauce, and Noodle's Texture. You can choose anything because it won't affect the price of your ramen.

Unfortunately, I deleted my photos so I only have one image from Ichiran. This picture doesn't do justice on the ramen..because it's actually very very good. I got the medium-flavored ramen but U should have opted for the stronger one as I found myself looking for that Ippudo-broth milkiness. The chasu was thin yet tender with just the right amount of fat. I also added some 'Secret Sauce' which is basically a red pepper based sauce that added a teeny bit of heat on my bowl. As for the egg (not in photo), I think Ippudo nailed it better.

Oh, and it's so freakin cool how Ichiran sits patrons in separate booths and then someone will open a small window to serve you your ramen. Here's my video:


I like the experience of eating in Ichiran with its vendo-type ordering system and the excitement of having your ramen being delivered to you from the other side. But in terms of taste and over-all dining experience, I'd still go for Ippudo.

We tried Ippudo Singapore, review coming soon!

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