Have been dreaming back to my days in NYC where Momofuku was a 10min walk from home. Yes, the hype is deafening to the point of not wanting to go, but it was so consistently good. Someone who puts that much care into a glorified bowl of noodle soup deserves a little attention.
I’ve read his recipe and there are a lot of pieces to it: two styles of pork, tare, the broth, onsen egg, pickled veges, etc. The first issue of Lucky Peach is dedicated to ramen and with so many great practitioners it seems there’s little room in the world for ordinary ramen, let alone bad ramen.
I’ve made the momofuku pork buns (perfect!), onsen eggs (perfect!), pork belly (perfect!), various pickles (perfect!), chicken wing confit (good) with tare (too salty!) so before I try my hand at his ramen, I thought I’d start walking my way through the best of ramen in HK for inspiration. It’s a gloomy Monday and I’m working in ICC so decide to pop down to Elements mall to give IPPEI-AN RAMEN & BAR another go. My assessment in short: for someone wanting a quick unoffensive lunch, it was ordinary. For someone seeking out good ramen, it was disappointing. Not worth even talking about this place on Chowhound except as a springboard to reach out to ramen aficionados for better options.
I see this “Top 5” list by Asia Tatler Dining. Is it accurate? Have they just chosen the fancy places (ie. high rent, expensive decor) with celebrity chef?
For what it’s worth, here is my assessment of Ippei-an Ramen. Check out the difference between the menu photo and what I was given. Ha!
Higomonzu Ramen $75 (supposedly their best on offer)
Asahi Draft $50 (was necessary)
The egg was hard boiled (what a shame - so much nicer with soft yolk). It looked smoked or tea/soy soaked on outside (ie. little brown) but tasted absolutely plain.
The cabbage tossed on top was plain/raw, so much nicer if quick pickled.
Broth was milky looking and not overly salty at first. I suspect it’s a prok and chicken stock blend (quite valid) but to me the chicken flavour predominated. Not sure I could taste any tare in the background.
The stewed pork was a total let-down. Look at the menu picture, it’s lovely grilled to golden brown. Mine was grey, slippery and ultra-mild taste, reminded me of the left-over anaemic pork from making stock.
Sliced pork was fine. Noodles were springy and holding their bight. By the end of the bowl, however, the whole meal was feeling too salty. I didn't use the condiments (red pepper/nori/sesame powder, pickled garlic w crusher).
It’s funny how this Timeout writer had such a different experience a couple of years ago:
But those on Openrice weren’t so kind:
Anyway, enough crappy ramen. Where’s the good stuff? Mist? Ippudo?