Ippudo ensures oodles of noodles for fans with opening of Island outlet
Hongkongers just can't seem to get enough of their bowls of ramen - but help has arrived. In response to the overwhelming popularity of the city's first Ippudo outlet in Tsim Sha Tsui, which opened to great fanfare in July, the Japanese ramen emporium opened the doors on Wednesday of Hakata Ippudo in Causeway Bay. Island-side residents no longer have to travel across the harbour to line up for the soupy treat. What's more, the Causeway Bay shop offers five new exclusive flavours of noodle soup - all based on Ippudo's tonkotsu broth.
'It's an honour to be heading the team here in Hong Kong,' Ryota Yano, executive operations manager, said during a pre-opening tasting. 'The city has a real appreciation for the Japanese national dish.'
Yano, who trained in ramen-making at the Tokyo headquarters and worked in Ippudo's New York branch before coming to Hong Kong, revealed the importance of matching the right type of noodle to the broth.
'We use the Hakata-style ultra-thin straight noodles for the original tonkotsu ramen, but for the heavier-flavoured miso and shoyu broth, we use a thicker noodle to balance the taste experience. With the spicy miso and wasabi broth, we use a curly noodle - the spiral shape really helps to open up the spicy flavour in each bite,' he said.
While the opening of the Causeway Bay shop was mellower and more informal than that of Tsim Sha Tsui's, fans of the emporium still have the chance to rub shoulders with founder Shigemi Kawahara today. The chef-director has flown in for the day to help in the kitchen and meet the first wave of enthusiastic diners.