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2016 Project 365, Day 287: Ippudo Kuro Ramen

Photo #287: October 13

Ippudo Philippines has a new limited edition ramen: KURO! Best paired with their latest ramen sidekicks, gyutan don and my new favorite, the seafood okonomiyaki! Huhu so oishii!!! Many thanks once again to the Ippudo/Yabu team! Vlog to follow on my YouTube channel this weekend! Itadakimasu! 😀

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What’s New at Yabu and Ippudo

What makes a restaurant great? Delicious and Instagram-worthy food, acceptable (a.k.a. justifiable) price-serving ratio, and quality service top my list. Yabu: House of Katsu and Ippudo Philippines fit the bill, but they decided to take it a notch further by having two food tasting events in one night! What is food coma?!

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Let’s start with Yabu, my favorite restaurant, like ever! 😀 Based on the invitation, I expected to taste just their new burger, so I was pleasantly surprised when we were served a new drink: lychee and peach iced tea. Normally, lychee-flavored drinks are a red flag for me because they often taste like medicine. However, Yabu’s version is so good, I had to stop myself from drinking too much since we still had a lot of food to devour! Anyway, the lychee flavor is stronger than the peach’s, but it isn’t overpowering nor medicine-like. It definitely goes well with anything spicy!

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Yabu’s house blend iced tea is still available, but I think I have a new favorite drink: lychee and peach iced tea!

And speaking of spicy, we also ate mozzarella katsu sticks, which came with a spicy aioli dip. I’ve tasted so many versions of cheese sticks, but Yabu’s take on this sinfully good appetizer is simply breathtaking. Hello, mozzarella!!! From its crunchy golden panko-crusted outside to its delectably cheesy inside… oh dear, I could finish an order (6 pieces, P260) on my own!

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These cheesy babies are best eaten with the spicy aioli dip! Yum!

Now, a few months back, I wrote about their latest master class creations: hire and ebi katsu burgers. Unfortunately, the hire katsu burger is no longer available (hoping it would make a comeback, though!), but don’t despair! An even yummier variant has arrived: the MENCHI katsu burger!!! Yabu’s menchi katsu set is one of my favorites even before they had burgers! And my gosh, this new burger is so good, I am contemplating on going back to Yabu today to enjoy it again! To the uninitiated, Yabu’s menchi katsu is made with flavorful ground beef & pork, and two types of creamy cheese (cheddar and harvati)! Like its predecessors, the menchi katsu burger also has Japanese pickles, shiso leaves, and shredded cabbage. Aside from spicy aioli sauce, it also has caramelized onion jam, and everything is sandwiched in toasted brioche buns.

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The menchi katsu burger is best enjoyed with Furikake fries with 2 dips: spicy aioli and Furikake, all for P380!

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What a cheesy beauty! It’s almost a shame to eat it…not! :p

At this point, I started getting full (wow, started pa lang?! haha!), but off to Ippudo Ramen next! For starters, we had the staple pork and fried chicken buns, and my sister agreed that the latter is more to our liking.

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This fried chicken bun is so good that I forgot to take a picture of the pork bun! Both are P125 apiece.

We also had deep-fried gyoza! I am so not a fan of gyoza because every time I attempt to eat it, I get disgusted by the taste of what I think is rotten vegetable paste. However, Ippudo’s version isn’t like that at all! The inside wasn’t pasty and tasted meaty, plus it was garnished with negi (white onion sprouts), spicy mayo, and chili ! It tasted great even without the accompanying ponzu sauce!

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5 pieces, P210. Best eaten with any of Ippudo’s ramen variants!

Of course, any of Ippudo’s appetizers are also great ramen sidekicks, so we were also treated to their latest ramen creation: Gyokai Tonkotsu. Ippudo is known for their rich tonkotsu (pork bone) broth, so imagine fusing it with creamy chicken and bonito (a type of fish) flavors. Damn, it’s ramen perfection! I would normally add freshly ground garlic, pepper, and sesame seeds to my ramen, but the gyokai tonkotsu doesn’t need any flavor enhancement! I slurped the wavy noodles and broth away like a real Japanese would! Every bowl has generous servings of bamboo shoots and cabbage, plus nori, a half slice of soft boiled tamago (egg), and soft, thinly-sliced chasyu (pork). The gyokai tonkotsu is seasoned with yuzukoshƍ, a type of Japanese seasoning made from chili, yuzu (a citrus fruit), and salt.

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Ramen perfection! P490

Finally, we capped off this humongous gastronomic event with Ippudo’s matcha crĂšme brĂ»lĂ©e. It was my sister’s first time to try it, and she was left speechless! Even though she was already full, she managed to eat a lot of this beautifully crafted dessert! 🙂

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Foodie piece of advice: don’t share this with anyone haha! Bitin eh! :p

Indeed, it was a great night filled with splendid food and fun company! Thank you, Candice and Yuan! Looking forward to more food journeys with Yabu and Ippudo next year! ❀

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L-R: my friend Mark, yours truly, Yuan, Candice, my sister Kate, Rey of Lifestyle Bucket, and Cristelle of Girl and Boy Thing. 🙂

 

 

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2015 Project 365, Day 329: Yabu x Ippudo

Photo #329: November 25

Had a really fun time with my sister, Marcky (my darling haha), fellow bloggers, and of course the awesome marketing team of Yabu: House of Katsu and Ippudo Philippines! Most of us felt like it was our last meal because we ate so much delicious food! Until next time!!! ❀

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Ippudo Philippines Spicy Black Ramen

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.

Get ready to feel the heat!

Get ready to feel the heat!

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 voilĂ ! It’s ready to eat still hot, so give each spoonful some blows first!

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The beauty before being devoured!

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.

Different textures in one spoonful!

Different textures in one spoonful!

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.

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Refreshingly good! Hi, fried chicken bun!

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.

L-R: Lemon Spritzer & Mango Banana Smoothie

L-R: Lemon Spritzer & Mango Banana Smoothie

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 superherofood. 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.

Spicy Black Ramen; even the name sound like a superhero! Haha!

Spicy Black Ramen; even the name sounds like a superhero! Haha!

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! 🙂

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2015 Project 365, Day 218: At Ippudo Philippines Once Again!

Photo #218: August 6

Tonight’s food coma was brought to me by the awesome marketing people of Ippudo Philippines! Will write about their latest limited edition ramen probably after a deep slumber. Haha! Busog lusog! Thank you again, Adrian & Candice! And it’s finally nice to meet you, Denice! ❀

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Ippudo Philippines: Newest Ramen Sidekicks

As most of you know by now, I teach English to mostly Japanese students, and one of the most used topics to connect with them for the first time is food! Many of them would ask if there are Japanese restaurants in the Philippines, and of course, I would say yes and mention the world renowned Ippudo Ramen! It’s a great way to build rapport with most students. 🙂 During my first Ippudo visit, I was already impressed with its ambiance, service, and quality. You really get what you pay for here, and I’m glad to have been introduced to their latest menu additions: the ramen sidekicks.

Showing off Ippudo's newest ramen sidekicks are the very handsome Chef Daisuke and the ever so lovely Candice from marketing!  

Showing off Ippudo’s newest ramen sidekicks are the very handsome Chef Daisuke and the ever so lovely Candice from marketing! ❀

 

I learned that in Japan, ramen is usually paired with gyoza, and it is also the go-to meal of people who have just come from a drinking session. At Ippudo, they don’t just offer gyoza and beer; they have an even wider selection of side dishes to choose from. However, before I continue to describe each of their new items, let me first tickle your taste buds with my ramen choice: the Miso Akamaru special.

Close up of the Miso Akamaru. 

Close up of the Miso Akamaru.

 

Compared with the original Akamaru ramen, the Miso Akamaru has 3 kinds of miso instead of just one (but both Akamaru variants are delicious). The base broth is still Ippudo’s signature tonkotsu (pork bone), so the inclusion of different miso varieties makes the meaty-garlicky soup richer & even more flavorful! In addition, this limited edition ramen has thicker noodles, bean sprouts, green cabbage, seasoned ground pork, and a beautifully torched chashu (pork belly) roll. Since I chose the special, my Miso Akamaru came with an extra chashu roll, a creamy soft-boiled egg, and seaweed! This ramen is already so good on its own, what more if you pair it with the newest ramen sidekicks?!

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Miso Akamaru special. Special participation: my right foot/shoe. 🙂

 

Let’s start with the fried chicken bun, which isn’t really that new since it was launched in April. I’ve tried Ippudo’s grilled chicken bun before, and though it was okay, I thought that their classic pork bun tasted much better. However, after tasting the improved chicken bun, it immediately became my favorite! The Japanese mayo seemed tastier, and the chicken? It was so crunchy! It had a lightly sweet-spicy glaze that went well with the soft white bun. I took one home, and the chicken fillet was still crunchy & flavorful even though it came from my ref! ^^

The fried chicken bun. Just looking at it makes me say

The fried chicken bun. Just looking at it makes me say “CRRRRRUNCH!” 😀

 

Next, there’s the fried chicken skin salad. Wait, what? Chicken skin in a salad?! Hey, it’s okay NOT to feel guilty; after all, there’s still more salad than chicken skin here! Haha! The salad is composed of mixed greens, juicy cherry tomatoes, and shio tamago (salted boiled egg). You can drizzle all those with the shoyu (soy sauce) dressing, but even without that, I already liked the mildly spicy mayonnaise that’s mixed into the salad.

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The fried chicken skin salad can be a “healthy cheat” dish for anyone who’s dieting (or trying to haha).

 

Let’s have more chicken, shall we? Karaage is a Japanese cooking technique that involves deep-frying pieces of meat, usually chicken. Ippudo’s nanban karaage is an upgrade of their classic karaage: it’s now even crunchier and comes with a mixed greens salad & tartar sauce. I’m used to having tartar sauce with fish fillet, but I must say, it’s also quite good with chicken karaage! I’m not sure, but I think there were also egg bits in the sauce, making me think that it was egg salad! :p The karaage pieces were also drizzled with a sweet-sour-salty sauce that’s not too strong for the palate & does not affect the crunchiness of the chicken.

Nanban karaage: crunchy chicken pieces, healthy salad, and yummy tartar sauce! 

Nanban karaage: crunchy chicken pieces, healthy salad, and yummy tartar sauce!

 

I did say more chicken, right? Lately, I’ve been obsessed with chicken wings, so I was very excited to try Ippudo’s version, and I wasn’t disappointed! My best friend Mark and I both think it’s the best among all the new sides, but we also believe these perfectly peppered babies are best eaten with lots of Japanese rice! They are covered in a mildly sweet glaze, sprinkled with white sesame, and come with a side salad. The peppery flavor isn’t overwhelming, and it seeps through the chicken meat! I can’t stop thinking about Ippudo’s chicken wings until now! ^^

This ramen sidekick has definitely winged it! Peppery chicken wings! 

This ramen sidekick has definitely winged it! Peppery chicken wings!

 

If you prefer pork to chicken, then I would recommend that you pair your ramen with Ippudo’s okonomiyaki! Okonomiyaki is basically a Japanese-style pancake, albeit savory. Ippudo’s version has cabbage layers, which are then topped with delectable chashu slices, chopped green onion sprouts, creamy Japanese mayo, and okonomiyaki sauce. The entire ensemble is served on a tiny sizzling plate. Truth be told, I didn’t enjoy the sauce so much, but I did like the vegetables in the okonomiyaki! It was like eating vegetarian lasagna, and for me, it’s the best partner to any of Ippudo’s ramen variants!

Such a beautiful ensemble: okonomiyaki. 

Such a beautiful ensemble: okonomiyaki.

 

I still had a few slurps left before finishing my ramen, but I was already getting full. However, no matter how full I am, there’s always room for dessert, especially when it is matcha-flavored!!! Ippudo has taken the classic crĂšme brĂ»lĂ©e to a whole new level of heavenly goodness! The creamy green tea custard base has an outer brittle layer of hardened caramel, which is then topped with smooth vanilla ice cream & sprinkled with matcha powder. A tiny mint leaf caps off this beauty! Yum!

Matcha crÚme brûlée: a sweet ending to a flavorful meal. 

Matcha crÚme brûlée: a sweet ending to any Ippudo ramen.

 

If you can’t wait to try all of these ramen sidekicks, now’s a good time as Ippudo is promoting their Matsuri card. Matsuri means festival in Japanese, and a food festival awaits you because once you buy the 5 featured side dishes on your card, then you’ll get a bowl of basic ramen for free! You can buy each on separate visits or buy all 5 in one go! I’d probably do the latter… hahaha! Hello, it’s a diverse gastronomical feast that only Ippudo can offer! 😀

The Ippudo Matsuri Card: you know you want to complete it ASAP!

The Ippudo Matsuri Card: you know you want to complete it ASAP!

 

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2015 Project 365, Day 167: Ippudo Philippines Private Tasting Event

Photo #167: June 16

Attended another private tasting event, thanks to Ippudo Philippines this time! Will blog about their latest ramen sidekicks soon! As usual, Tons and I enjoyed chatting with the awesome marketing duo, Candice and Yuan! We were also able to chat with one of the bloggers I follow, Ms. Say of Makeup by Say Tioco Artillero. ’twas such a great evening filled with delicious food, lively company, and even Game of Thrones theories (slash mixed sentiments about the latest finale). Burp! ^^

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