By Josie Wu
Translated by Erica Lin
165, DunHua S Rd, Sec 1, Taipei City
Hours: 11:30 am-12 am
10% Service Charge, No Credit Cards Accepted, Japanese/English Menu Available
Is it because it is easy for businesses succeed in Taiwan? In the past year or two, the speed of Japanese ramen brand names opening locations in Taiwan has been faster than people can eat their noodles. People who are able to keep up are have either become an expert or at least half of one. Progressively, the ramen market accumulates fans according to the type of broth and their distinguishing features. Among these is Hakata Ippudo, which was established in 1985 and has consecutively won three years of TV Champion (a television show that decides which ramen store is the best in Japan). Following its ZhongShan location in Taiwan, the DunNan location in the East District is also very popular.
From improving the broth, the interior design and the ambiance in the restaurant--Ippudo insists on making progress. It allows a young female to have the courage to step into a ramen restaurant by herself (in Japan it is looked down on if a young female goes into a ramen restaurant by herself), and made it so that Ippudo is no longer a place to fill the stomach of a middle-aged male who doesn't value the flavor or the decor of a restaurant. Moreover, in 1994, Ippudo promoted the brand and "Tonkotsu (pork bone) Ramen" to all of Japan. In 2008, Ippudo stepped out of Japan and established its first oversea location in New York. Next, it opened more overseas branches in various Asian countries. ppudo came to Taiwan in 2012, originally only offering three flavors of ramen: Shiromaru Classic, Akamaru Modern, and IPPUDO Karaka. Now, other than the irregularly time period-limited ramen specials to surprise the public, it also came up with unique specialty dishes to go with Taiwanese' habits of eating small dishes with noodles.
A. The interior is painted with vibrant colors of red, white, and black. Accompanying the ramen is relaxing jazz music, making eating ramen a fashionable and lively activity.
B. If this is the first visit to Ippudo, try the recommended "Shiromaru Classic" (NT$200) that has been the classic since the beginning. Tonkotsu broth is considered to have a light and refreshing flavor. Other than the crucial factor of the broth, the noodles that go with it are also very important. Hakata super thin noodles paired with tonkotsu soup and thin-sliced chashu (barbecued pork) is the best combination. Remember to enjoy it as soon as it's served because super thin noodles turn soft in the broth over time.
C. The favourable Crispy Fried Chicken (NT$120) is coated with corn flakes. Although it looks burnt from the outside, it is not greasy. Squeeze some tangerine juice, dip in some brown pear sauce and enjoy every bite of the crispy, tender, juiciness.
D. Previously only promoted during a limited period of time in the ZhongShan branch, the Hakata Tsukemen (Normal NT$250/Big NT$280) is now an exclusive item on the DunNan branch menu. It certainly won't disappoint people who like chewy texture in the noodles with five noodle texture choices from super soft to super chewy.