REVIEW

Ippudo Causeway Bay

Ippudo is a popular Japanese ramen chain that was founded in Hakata (Fukuoka) in Kyushu and now serves 20,000 customers a day. There are six locations in Hong Kong alone, in Central, Admiralty, Causeway Bay, TST, Kowloon Bay and Mong Kok. The Causeway Bay location is in the same building as the Shama, across from Times Square, and is perennially popular. The decor consists mainly of an entire wall of red and white ramen bowls and spoons, along with a glass open kitchen, wood slatted ceiling, and several long counters. It doesn't have the drama and trendiness that some of Ippudo's locations have, such as in New York City.

However, the cuisine is dependably good, if also not at the same level as in NYC. The BBQ pork buns are tasty, but doused with mayonnaise and are filled with half the amount of meat as in NYC. A dish of deep-fried squid tentacles with a slice of lemon, however, was lightly battered with flakes of seaweed and a wonderful way to begin the meal.  Naturally, the ramen is first-rate. Ippudo excels in all things pork, particularly the tonkotsu broth for which they are justly famous (tonkotsu-broth has pork fat emulsified into the broth). It is a rich, complex and deeply flavorful soup that gives a smoky, nutty overtone and is best paired with kakuni (braised pork belly). The Akamaru Shinaji ramen with seared bbq pork is rich and powerful and has wonderful pork back fat, miso, garlic oil and a dash of chili. The Shiromaru Motoaji is based on the original recipe and is subtler, with lean pork slices and Hakata-style thin noodles.  Overall, I thought the ramen at Ippudo Causeway Bay was significantly better than at Hide-Chan in Central. It's probably also worth trying Ichiran and Butao. 

This restaurant has a lot of virtues: convenient location, great value and delicious food. However, be prepared to wait. Although I haven't been, I have heard that the TST outlet is the flagship location for Hong Kong and has a larger menu with more variety.

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INFORMATION

Causeway Bay
8 Russell Street
+852 2892-2387
Mon-Sun, 11:30am-11pm

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