Ippudo Ramen (Mandarin Gallery): Not Worth The Hype.

After an hour long line, we enter Ippudo.

Written By Mu Yao, 25th June 2012. 

With it's snaking long queues ever since its opening, it is evident that Ippudo's popularity overseas has spread to Singapore as well, with persistently patient Singaporeans queueing for a taste of this famed institution. The price reflects this as well - but the question on my mind is: Is it good value and worth the hype? 

The Akamaru Shinaji ($15)

Not too appetizing given the light tonkotsu broth floating amidst lots of shoyu and oil. 

I think the quality of the ingredients presented in this very well-hyped and premium ramen are certainly above average, from say, chain restaurants like RamenPlay, but that's about it. The pork belly fat was tender and melt in your mouth, and the noodles were made of dough that was pretty elastic and chewy, but not the "qq" texture that is more popular with Singaporeans. 

The communal tables, while sticking to tradition, make it hard for conversation to happen.

However, there was the ubiquitous hour-long snaking queues, leading to hurried service. Not only was the music was too loud making hard for conversation to happen, the communal tables didn't fare too well in that aspect either. I mean I definitely won't recommend this for a place to catch up with friends (which was exactly what I did). I understand that it's "tradition" to have this table thing as it is with their outlets in Japan, but I think as I see it, many here definitely don't wish to have a quick meal of ramen on the go only to rush back to work, especially after queuing more than an hour long.

I feel that the prices are too much for the food quality (there's better to be had elsewhere) - one example was the mediocre soup base. The tonkotsu broth was nowhere as rich as Nantsuttei's, and it was flavorful because of the copious amounts of (sesame?) oil and shoyu added on top. The pork belly was also a bit too gamey for my taste, although I may be challenged on this one. 

In all, I can't help but feel that sometimes, Singaporean diners aren't discerning enough, just blindly trying the food stores that have the best reputation and the longest queues. I'd much rather go for Nantsuttei next time, which offers a much better and more consistent quality of ramen served for its similar price.

Ippudo Ramen (Mandarin Gallery)

333A Orchard Road,
Mandarin Gallery #04-02/03/04
Singapore 238867

Tel: 6235 6797

Opening Hours
Mon- Sat: 11AM-11PM
(Last Order at 10PM)
Sun: 11AM-10PM

(Last Order at 9PM)


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