I guess you could call it a ramen lover's Mecca, going to Ippudo, but that Mecca is almost only relevant to foreigners. We know Ippudo because it's in New York, Singapore, Hong Kong etc., and it's often true that the better ramen in these cities is from Ippudo. Hell, people are lining up for two hours to get in in Hong Kong! But in Fukuoka, or even Japan? I'm sorry to burst the bubble, but Ippudo simply doesn't rate.
That's not to say the Ippudo (we went to TAO) we had in Fukuoka wasn't good though. It was still fantastic - rich, silky soup base, umami-packed and damn feel-good. The noodles had bite and weren't at all floury. It is still the best ramen I've had in a while; its counterpart in Hong Kong pales ridiculously in comparison.
To us "gaijin", I reckon any self-respecting ramen shop in Fukuoka will be good. It is, after all, the birthplace of ramen (after the inspiration was taken from Chinese la mian).
|"one-bite" gyoza - they had good vinegar to go with it too|
So go to Ippudo, bow, ooh and ahh, take photos, slurp up the noodles, drink the soup, but don't let the pilgrimage stop there (like mine did). It's okay to be a tourist. We all want to know whether they're serving us the real deal back home (I don't think they are). Go out there and try the stuff that the locals rave about. Compare and contrast, and please please please tell me how it was. (Or maybe don't... I might die of envy.)
Ippudo TAO Collection (if you're a pilgrimage maker, you might want to go the honten (original) instead, we - well, I - stupidly chose the hip TAO - I still don't know why.)
Tel: +81 (0) 92-738-7061
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