This one got us really excited! Just writing this blog post makes my mouth salivate thinking about the yummy goodness this restaurant has to offer. We've heard so many good things about IPPUDO. Being from East Coast North America, we had a lot of family and friends that visit New York City and overtime they go there, they always try to stop by IPPUDO. And even though we've been to NYC six times now, we've never tried this highly hyped restaurant. So you can imagine our excitement when we discovered that they have an IPPUDO restaurant right next to our school here in Shanghai! For this of you who are not familiar, IPPUDO is a Japanese ramen restaurant chain that originated in Fukuoka, Japan. The first restaurant opened in 1985, and since then it has opened numerous other restaurants all over the world, including in NYC, London, Hong Kong, Seoul, and here in Shanghai. They opened many branches in Shanghai, and the one we ate at was at the Jing'an Kerry Centre. It's a new, highly upscale mall right in the middle of downtown. The restaurant is located in the basement of the mall, where pretty much all other restaurants are.
When we came into the restaurant, we were greeted with very enthusiastic waiters that altogether shouted "Irasshaimase!", which is a Japanese expression to welcome someone. We found it really cool that even though we are in China, they still try to give customers an authentic Japanese restaurant experience. They even have these baskets underneath the seats so that you can put away your bags, which was very useful and convenient! So after looking at the whole menu twice, we ordered the Tsukemen (which is a new item on their menu), a pork belly bun, a fried shrimp bun, and a potato gratin. We decided not to order their ramen as it was a very hot day. But we'll definitely go back to IPPUDO to try their ramen! And don't judge us for ordering a potato gratin in a Japanese restaurant! We basically eat Chinese food 24/7 in Shanghai, so any chance we have you best believe we gonna be all over anything that's cheesy or creamy! And what do you know, it was amazing!! All the dishes we ordered were in fact amazing!
The first plate that came was the buns. We ordered two buns for a price of 30 yuan ($6 CAD). The steamed bun is filled with braised pork belly, some lettuce, and their house mayo sauce. The second steamed bun is filled with a fried shrimp patty, some shredded cabbage, and their mayo sauce too. Both are soon good. The braise pork belly is so tender and juicy, with just the right sweet and salty flavours. Coupled with the fluffy steamed buns and the creaminess of the sauce, it was definitely of the best steamed buns we've ever eaten. The fried shrimp patty steamed bun was also very very good. The patty is cooked very well, juicy and tender on the inside and crispy on the outside. The shredded cabbage and the mayo sauce were very good matches for the shrimp patty. The flavours and textures came together very nicely, although we would've liked a little bit more mayo sauce in it. Overall, the steamed buns were overwhelmingly satisfying and we'd definitely order them again!
The second plate that came was the tsukemen noodles. If you're not familiar with it, tsukemen is a Japanese dish where the ramen noodle is served in a separate bowl from the soup. The dish is meant to be eaten by basically dipping the noodle into the soup. The cold noodles were very good, very chewy and perfectly cooked. It was topped with some bamboo shoots, diced pork, and some scallions. The diced pork was amazing!! It literally melted in our mouths, so tender and flavourful. YUM! The soup tasted a bit fishy, which is how it's supposed to be. It was good, but the consistency is a bit too runny for our taste. It would've been nice if the soup was thicker so that it would stick to the noodles when we dip them. But overall, the tsukemen was very delicious! The price for this dish was 55 yuan ($11 CAD), which is quite reasonable!
The last dish that came was the potato gratin. This dish costs 28 yuan ($5.60 CAD), which is a pretty good price. I was expecting your typical potato gratin, but this one was a bit different. It was actually even better than your typical potato gratin. It was served in a hot stone bowl with an egg on top. The egg was perfectly cooked, the yellow was still runny but not too much. It also had the right amount of cheese and cream sauce. What's different about this potato gratin is that the potatoes inside tasted more like a Japanese potato salad. The potatoes were a bit mushier, and they were seasoned with Japanese mayo and some rice wine vinegar. On top of that, they added some ham and mushroom in the dish. This dish was SO good! Although it looked like your typical potato gratin, the flavours inside were so different and amazing! We would definitely order this dish again!
The whole dinner costed us about $22 CAD for two people, which is very cheap considering the amount of goodness we were able to have with that price! The food was of excellent quality and very well made. We'd definitely go back to IPPUDO to order some of these dishes again and to try their famous ramen!