I have had Ramen in many cities and I delight in the search and the joy of finding my favorite place for the not-too-thick, not-too-thin broth and homemade, hard but rubbery noodles that snap when you bite into them.
I know I have had success when I am oddly mildly hungry again in an hour or two; When Ramen attains that perfect balance, my body processes it quickly and happily.
There are a few upscale international Asian food restaurants that have developed perfected menus for upper-class food experiences such as Mr. Chow for Mandarin-style Chinese, Nobu for sushi, and Ippudo for ramen. Although it won’t drain the bank as much as its international counterparts, Ippudo is on the pricier side for a bowl of steaming beauty compared to many local ramen joints.
citizenDavid says: take advantage of the moment and speak about how happy and full you are after you have cleaned your bowl.
My first Ippudo experience was when my brother took my wife and I to the Ippudo in NYC a few years ago where we waited on the queue for about 1.5 hours - and it was well worth it. I have to say that we felt straight up “high” from the ingestion experience - the flavors and textures were just amazing. The Ippudo on St Giles High Street, London wasn’t far behind that outcome although we were able to walk right in and get a table - perhaps because it’s a larger establishment, perhaps because there are many other ramen joints close by.
This London location was straight up slick in its appearance to the edge of being overdone. I think it’s important to remember to speak at a normal tone in places like these to help you and your fellow foodies feel comfortable, to be yourselves, as this is a slurping noodle joint after all.
If you are unfamiliar with the basic rights of passage of Ramen here order what we did; Hirata Pork Buns and Spicy Tonkotsu ramen noodle soup and a small bottle of Nigori sake. The Tonkotsu broth is a pork base but there are plenty of options for vegetarians, so don’t worry.
You will not be able to really talk much as you’ll be busy sucking down noodles and slurping broth. You don’t really want ramen to go cold, or to overcook in the hot broth. It comes out as a perfected version of something truly complex, so take advantage of the moment and speak about how happy and full you are after you have cleaned your bowl. There are plenty of great big windows to people watch outside if you are lucky to be watching that way.
3 Central Saint Giles Piazza
St Giles High St
London WC2H 8AG
Header image courtesy of Ippudo London