I’ve always liked spicy food, and I believe my threshold for such is a bit higher than average. I particularly enjoy getting the sniffles while eating something spicy! Some of my favorite spices or hot condiments include pepper, garlic chili, dried chili flakes, and Sriracha sauce. When it comes to Ippudo‘s ramen, I really enjoy adding freshly crushed garlic and black pepper into my bowl of Shiromaru or Akamaru. Having control on how spicy my ramen will be is something I value, but of course, it’s also nice to have something that takes spiciness to a whole new level: the limited edition Spicy Black Ramen.
But first, appetizers! Aside from their recently launched ramen sidekicks, I also got to try their latest addition, the Beef Ishiyaki Rice. It reminded me of Yabu’s Donburis, but since it is considered a side dish, it comes in a smaller serving (well, if you’re not a big eater, then you can probably eat it on its own). Its aroma was enough to make me drool because of the toasted garlic chips! That smell alone is already a winner for me! It’s such a beauty with a colorful combination of brown stewed beef, yellow corn, red cherry tomatoes, green beans, and white Japanese rice inside a black hot stone pot. You have to take a quick snap if you don’t want the rice to get burned. Mix everything well along with the accompanying yakinuku sauce, and voilà! It’s
ready to eat still hot, so give each spoonful some blows first!
Ahhhhh it’s so good!!! The stewed beef will make your taste buds want to marry it and stay forever together!!! It’s slightly sweet and soft, perfect for an amazing melt-in-your mouth experience! It goes well with the crunch of the green beans and garlic bits, plus the smoothness of the tomatoes & corn.
Speaking of textures, it’s best to wash everything down with Ippudo’s newest drinks: the smooth Lemon Spritzer and creamy Mango Banana Smoothie. They sound and look like summer drinks, especially since both have lemon.
The Lemon Spritzer contains freshly-squeezed lemon juice (were you able to guess that?! Haha!), sparkling water, and mint leaves. On the other hand, aside from fresh mangoes and bananas, the Mango Banana smoothie surprisingly has coconut cream and a hint of cinnamon. It’s difficult to choose which is better because both are equally good! However, I think the Lemon Spritzer goes better with the Beef Ishiyaki Rice.
And now, the main event, the star of the night, as black as…okay, that sounds like a superhero introduction! Well, the Spicy Black Ramen may well be your next super
herofood. If you think Ippudo’s signature tonkotsu broth can get better, then you’re right! The limited edition ramen’s broth is further enhanced with spicy sesame sauce & Koyu oil, and flavorful garlic oil. My initial sip made me cough because of its heightened spice level! You know the feeling you get when you drink a strong alcoholic beverage? In Filipino, we call it gumuguhit, something like the liquid somehow leaves a strong mark in the throat. A good start! Once you get used to the heat, prepare yourself for more textures as you chew on the flat noodles & pork belly slices. More flavors come into play as the ramen is topped with curry-flavored spicy nikumiso & cilantro (I’m okay with not including this, though hehe).The nikumiso is basically ground pork shaped into a meatball with a red spicy layer. I dub it a meatball surprise because you’ll end up mixing it into the ramen, creating more chewy goodness as you finish it. This ramen is definitely best paired with the Mango Banana Smoothie as the coconut cream in it somehow decreases the heat.
I would recommend that you share a bowl of the Spicy Black Ramen with a companion because it’s so rich! I wasn’t able to finish mine, and that was a surprise, even to myself! It’s something that you should eat at a leisurely pace lest you get overwhelmed by it. Almost anything that’s limited edition is worth a try, especially if it is from Ippudo! 🙂