IPPUDO, Queensbay, Penang – Finally decided to try this place because of the raving review from my sister. We were practically the only customers when we walked in. The place had a nice ambience, minimalist like typical Japanese restaurants. Service was prompt, and the waiter stood at a discreet distance while we looked through the menu.
|Fun fact: IPPUDO started in 1985 in Fukuoka. Today, there are over 200 IPPUDO outlets all around the world. Their founder, Shigemi Kawahara, sees the restaurant as a stage where each employee plays a role like an actor. From cooking to server, every move is perfectly choreographed.|
I decided on the Ishiyaki Rice Set (RM32.90), and went for Lemon Mint Soda (RM8.90) add-on. The set had 2 choices of rice, Ishiyaki Pork Fried Rice and Ishiyaki Chashu Rice. You also get a choice of 2 sets of Appetiser Platter to choose from:
– Set A is made up of Edamame, Potato Tamago Salad, Okonomiyaki Fries and Ebi Katsu; or
– Set B has Edamame, Potato Tamago Salad, Shu Mai and Takoyaki.
I opted for the Ishiyaki Pork Rice and Set B. Figured I’d give the fries a miss. However, looking back, it did not occur to me that the Shu Mai in Set B is actually not of Japanese origin.
Drinks – Lemon Mint Soda add-on – RM8.90; and Pink Guava Soda – RM13.80
The drinks came first. For RM8.90, I think it is pricey because the Lemon Mint Soda is actually canned Schweppes Soda Water, with lemon, mint and sugar water. Guess you pay for the DIY experience. They were generous with the lemon, though. It was almost a whole lemon stuffed at the bottom of the glass. The other drink we ordered was the pink guava soda (RM13.80). It was nicer of the 2 drinks.
Ishiyaki Rice Set – RM32.90
My food came a short while after the drinks, with the rice still sizzling and steaming from the really hot stone bowl. The wafting smell was appetising and the presentation was equally tantalising to the eyes. One scoop into my mouth and I was won over. It was one of the best fried rice I have taken in a long time.
I like their Potato Tamago Salad! Served cold, it complimented the steaming hot rice. You can’t go wrong with Edamame. I decided to separate them from their pods and mix them with my rice. The Shu Mai and Takoyaki were okay.
While eating, small talk was on why the Japanese, and also the Koreans serve their food in hot stone bowls and other stone wares. Guesses from to make the food nice and fragrant were thrown in. I guess kids these days don’t learn their geography well and forget that Japan (and Korea) are countries with cold and harsh winters. Don’t think they can have Chinese style cooking left on the table for dinner time. Imagine eating meat or vegetable popsicles!
Shiromaru Special – RM35
The young teenager with us ordered their Shiromaru Special (RM35). The dish features an ultra thin classic Hakata-styled ramen, served in Tokontsu broth. It came with salted soft-boiled egg, pork-loin and pork belly, green sprouts, kikurage, spring onions and seaweed. Now, do take note that this teenager is not a fan of pork. And yet she said that was the best ramen she has taken.
|Fun fact: The kikurage, is a type of edible mushroom and is a popular condiment in Japanese ramen noodles. It is also commonly known as wood ear mushroom, black fungus, jelly ear, jew’s ear, and Mu Er in Chinese.|
The broth was thick and creamy. It had a creamy look. One slurp and your taste buds get teased with this meaty and flavourful broth. The noodles had a nice springy taste to it. Overall, it was a delightful bowl of ramen. Tonkotsu broth is one of the 4 types of broth that goes with ramen, the other 3 being shio, shoyu and miso. It is a broth that is simmered from bones and marrow, for around 18 hours. This is a non-halal Japanese restaurant, hence the opportunity to try this type of broth.
Karaka Special – RM38
The third order was a Karaka Special (RM38). Also served with original Tonkotsu broth but with spicy miso and ground pork, cashew nuts , bean sprouts, spring onions, salted soft-boiled egg, seaweed, pork loin and pork belly. It promises you and addictive kick. So, was this good? You can bet.
The damage – RM120.85
IPPUDO was having a promotion of “Roll The Dice” during our visit. 2 dices and if you total a score of 9, you get a RM50 voucher. A double (same number) will get you a 50% off any special ramen. For a consolation Prize, an odd number will get you a Goma Q (pickled cucumber) at half price (RM2.50). And dig this. Even number gets you nothing. That’s adding some spice to the game of roll and dice. Our young friend drew a double, and we got a 50% off for the Karaka Special.
Total bill came to RM120.85 for 2 drinks (1 is an add-on), 2 ramen and 1 rice set. That’s quite pricey but I think it’s one of the nicer Japanese meals we’ve had. Will we go back again? Most likely!
70%: Price (value for money)
90%: Location (ease of parking)
83%: Overall Rating
Open daily from 10:30 AM – 10 PM