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Tag / pork ramen

Hailed from Hakata, the supposed ramen capital of Japan is Ippudo, the latest international Japanese ramen chain to arrive on our shore. The founder Shigemi Kawahara started selling ramen at a ten-seater stall in Fukuoka some 28 years ago, and has since expanded to some 10 cities around the world, serving up piping hot tonkotsu (pork bone) based ramen to eager diners.

We were invited for a tasting session last week ago to find out what the fuss is all about.

Hakata Ippudo Ramen at KL Paviliion
Hakata Ippudo Ramen at KL Paviliion

Ippudo Ramen is located just a floor up from the semi-alfresco dining area and a floor below the GSC cinemas. The ramen shop itself is pretty compact in size and could probably cater to around 40 pax or so.

The interior decoration is modern, and they even include “handbag drawers” under some seats, something I’m sure most ladies and dudes with man bags approve.

curry cheese haru maki, pork bun, spicy shrimp mayo
curry cheese haru maki, pork bun, spicy shrimp mayo

If you’re a fan of rather unique Japanese appetizers, you’re in luck. Ippudo carries quite a few dishes that goes well with hot green tea (or beer) before the main meal.

Curry Cheese Haru Maki (spring roll, RM 10) is indeed cheesy inside with a crispy skin as its exterior, delicious while hot, but you gotta find a balance and not let the melted cheese burn your taste buds.

Pork Bun (RM 7) is another one that I really enjoyed, reminds me of those “tong por” pork I had at Dengkil Seafood Restaurant.

Spicy Shrimp Mayo (RM 15) is beautifully presented and reminds me of those fried shrimp and mayo dimsum dishes that you could have for half the price.

goma Q, crispy corn, hakata style soup gyoza
Goma Q, Crispy Corn, Hakata Style Soup Gyoza

If you prefer something cold to start with, Goma Q (Japanese cucumber, RM 9) will fit the bill. This is very similar to those cold cucumber dishes served in some Chinese restaurants such as Private Kitchen at Uptown, or Hong La Qiao at Pudu.

Crispy Corn (RM 8) is something that I haven’t seen before and find myself liking it. The sweet corn seemed to be seared with a healthy dosage of paprika and other seasoning on top, giving the kernels a pretty unique taste. A serving is only 4 slices of corn though.

Hakata Style Soup Gyoza (RM 15) is an alternative to the usual pan fried version. It is served in the same tonkotsu soup with a bit of ginger in it. The gyoza was decent, but not something I’d get excited about, the soup is nice though.

akamara shinaji, shiromaru motoaji, and karaka-men ramen
akamara shinaji, shiromaru motoaji, and karaka-men ramen

Then came the ramen.

Ippudo serves three basic variety of ramen with noodle much thinner than most other places. Much like Italian food, you can also choose to have it al dente (cooked to be firm, but not hard).

Most basic is Shiromaru Motoaji with original tonkotsu broth, belly chasiu, bean sprouts, kikurage (black fungus), and spring onion. Akamara Shinaji has the same core ingredients but enhanced with special blended miso paste and fragant garlic oil. For those who like their ramen spicy, there’s the Karaka-men version, which incorporate special spicy miso and ground pork.

KY & Haze at Hakata Ippudo Ramen, KL Pavilion
KY & Haze at Hakata Ippudo Ramen, KL Pavilion

I find myself enjoying the original broth most, and have a bit of a mixed feeling for the other two miso infused soup as I think it somehow dilutes the essence of the pork bone taste (which takes 15 hours to cook, as I was told). I’m also not a fan of making ramen spicy, for that I’ll have my kimchi soup instead.

The chasiu at Ippudo is easily one of the best I’ve yet. Premium cut and prepared to perfection, this is the part I like most.

Over all though, I find Ippudo pretty decent and will certainly face strong competition from nearby ramen places within walking distance (Marutama at Fahrenheit 88, Hokkiado Santouka at Pavilion, Ton Chan at Cosway). While having the best ambiance among the competitions, Ippudo is also the priciest, expect to pay RM 26 for a basic bowl to RM 36 with everything in it.

map to Pavilion KL

Address:
Ippudo Ramen
Lot C4.07.00,
Connection Level 4, Pavilion
Jln Bukit Bintang, 55100 Kuala Lumpur

GPS3.148872, 101.713368
Tel03-2110 6233
Website: www.ippudo.com.my
Hours: 11 am to 11 pm

Hidden within Fahrenheit 88, also known as the re-branded KL Plaza, is a little Japanese ramen restaurant that has it’s origin in Singapore.

The island republic does not usually have the upper hand when it comes to food, but Japanese ramen is one of the rare exceptions. Here in Malaysia we have been stuck with trying to make ramen halal for way too long while our neighbor kept it real and true to the origin – with pork, like how ramen should be.

Marutama Ramen is located on first floor of Fahrenheit 88 (old KL Plaza)
Marutama Ramen is located on first floor of Fahrenheit 88 (old KL Plaza)

Local eateries have since realize what diners really want and it is good to see that there are a lot of ramen places that serves the dish with the right ingredients.

Marutama was introduced to me by Timothy, who got to know the place from his girlfriend Audrey, who in turn got the recommendation from Ringo. The two of them must be the most “Japanese” lookalike and act alike Malaysian in the country, so if they say it is good, it must be good.

chasiu ramen, I love it with plenty of fried garlic
chasiu ramen, I love it with plenty of fried garlic

I always measure a ramen place by its most essential dish – the good old chasiu ramen.

Marutama’s version is unpretentious, four slices of chasiu (not to be confused with BBQ pork, the Japanese version is slices of rolled pork shoulder), 3/4 boiled egg, seaweed, spring onion, and ramen noodle in pork chicken broth.

check out the glorious 3/4 boiled egg
check out the glorious 3/4 boiled egg

The broth at Marutama is one of the thickest and most flavorful I’ve had from anywhere, very savory and absolutely brilliant. They also have the egg boiled just right, and the chasiu were fatty and tender like they should.

Best of all, there’s free flow deep fried sliced garlic on the side to be added to your ramen.

I went with timothy and david on separate occasions
I went with timothy and david on separate occasions

Other than ramen, they also serve some side dishes like grilled pork belly, fried rice, gyoza and so forth. Their gyoza was just alright, and I wouldn’t recommend anyone to try their fried rice (it was quite lousy). Stick to the ramen and you’ll have a wonderful experience at Marutama.

Prices are around RM 20 including taxes. Another good pork ramen place nearby is Ton Chan at Wisma Cosway.

map to Fahrenheit 88, KL

Address:
Marutama Ramen
Fahrenheit 88
Lot Flr. 27.01, 1st floor
Buking Bintang, KL
GPS: 3.14748, 101.71283
Tel: 03–2141 1573