Sunday, April 24, 2016

The origin of Ippudo Ramen: Quest for world's first Hakata Ippudo restaurant

In November 2015, I traveled solo to Japan using the Japan Rail JR Pass. While I was touring in Hakata/Fukuoka of northern Kyushu, I decided to pay a tribute to the very first franchise restaurant of the most popular ramen  chain in the world: Ippudo Ramen, 一風堂
Original taste at the origin of Ippudo Ramen franchise restaurant in Fukuoka Japan

- To read about my 2015 Japan Rail JR Pass trip, visit: Project Shinkansen 2015: JR Pass Itinerary Seto Inland Sea
- To read about my recommendations of best food in Tokyo, visit: Best food in Tokyo Japan.
- To read about my recommendations of affordable, Reasonable and Convenient hotels in Tokyo, visit: Affordable Cheap Reasonable Hotels in Tokyo
- To read about how to plan your trip to Osaka, Kyoto, and Kobe, visit: Planning your trip to Osaka, Kyoto, and Kobe in Japan

Exterior of world's first Ippudo Ramen restaurant in Fukuoka Japan

While Ippudo ramen restaurant franchise was already well established in Japan and other Asian countries, I believe Ippudo ramen gained its popularity in the western world after opening their shops in New York City in the US. Ippudo has opened more locations in many parts of world, including London, Paris and Sydney etc. I have heard so many raves about the great taste, expensive price and long wait at these locations, therefore I have decided to pay a visit to the Ippudo restaurant that started Ippudo ramen fever in the world.

On day 5 of my 10 day JR pass trip in 2015, after staying overnight at First Cabin Hotel Hakata (across the street from the headquarter restaurant of Ichiran Ramen) I took a slow stroll on foot and started my search for the very first Ippudo restaurant that was about 15 minutes away from First Cabin.
First Cabin Inn Hakata is located nearby many famous ramen restaurants in Hakata Japan

The original restaurant was located in a quiet corner of bustling streets in the Tenjin area of Hakata.  There were two Ippudo restaurants within close proximity of each other, to minimize confusion, look for the smaller restaurant on the less busy street.
This Ippudo nearby is NOT the original Ippudo restaurant

I was there before they were opened for lunch. Peeking into the window, I saw the staff were doing their routine cheering right before opening their shop for lunch.
There was no line when I visited world's first Ippudo restaurant in Fukuoka Japan

While waiting for the shop to open for lunch, I noticed a poster showing their plan of opening their very first restaurant in Paris, France. Opening new restaurants all over the world is probably a sign of the how good this restaurant is.
Creating Ippudo Ramen craze in Paris France

There was no line, I was seated as soon as they opened for lunch.
No line at Ippudo original restaurant in Fukuoka Japan

I ordered the original white maru ramen at the original restaurant. The ramen soup was flavorful yet it was not heavy like other Hakata Tonkotsu ramen I have had in the past.

Since the soup was not heavy, I decided to go for another bowl of ramen off their location-specific secret menu. This ramen is only served at this specific franchise restaurant. The smoky aroma of the soup was quite different from what I expected, it was delicious regardless. 
Ippudo Ramen Artisan at work

Ippudo Original Restaurant Special Ramen from the secret menu

Two bowls of original Ippudo ramen cost me 720 + 850 = 1570 yen. The meal was worth all the effort in the search for the original restaurant.
Two bowls of origin Ippudo ramen in one visit. It was worth every penny and effort

Ippudo, Daimyo Honten (Tripadvsior page)
1-13-14 Daimyo, Chuo-ku, Fukuoka 810-0041, Fukuoka Prefecture
TEL: 0927710880

一風堂 大名本店 (Official Homepage in Japanese language)
〒810-0041 福岡市中央区大名1-13-14
TEL: 092-771-0880

Ippudo Restaurants in Tokyo area
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