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KARAKA Spicy Ramen @ Ippudo Ramen!!!

$41.92  2x Karaka Spicy Ramen
(waters, 1 add on of egg and bamboo, tax/ 20% tip included)

From Wikipedia - Ippudo, also known as Hakata Ippūdō (博多一風堂) in Japan, is a Japanese ramen restaurant chain with locations worldwide. Ippudo is well known for its tonkotsu ramen, and has been described as "the most famous tonkotsu ramen shop in the country"

From their website -
round blade noodles
fineness no. 26

A bowl full of basics – the question is what noodles would best suit the Shiromaru Classic? Noodle specialists worked night and day trying out all kinds of possibilities until they reached the answer which was “Round blade noodles fineness no. 26”. Skilled
professionals controlled the hydrolysis rate and process by adjusting the temperature and humidity, and achieved the most perfect balance. Using “round blades” which produce circular noodles, these noodles which draw up just the right amount of silky
pork broth, and provide a gentle, almost nostalgic comfort can be said to be the basic origin of IPUUDO tonkotsu ramen.

My Review - The Karaka Spicy Ramen is a very tasty and  has a good heat level.  The broth is on the lighter side, but still rich enough to satisfy.  The toppings are a bit sparse, but that depends on which style of ramen you get as the other styles of ramen include more/different toppings, and you can always add on options. Though options here are somewhat pricey side, e.g., corn is $1.50 and an egg is $2.00.

The broth is the shinning component of this dish and stands up to other popular ramen joints I've been to.  The spicy Karaka broth has a nice heat level, is rich, but still on the lighter side and not very thick.  Ippudo makes use of the ingredient that gives your mouth a pleasing numbing feel as well, which could be the szechuan peppercorn.  I was very happy to slurp the remaining broth at the end of the meal.

Now, with that said, the disappointment of the dish is their style of noodles.  I prefer a more thick and chewy noodle, much thicker than the normal ramen noodle.  Ippudo's noodles are much thinner than even regular noodles, more akin to angel hair pasta(in size only).  They were done perfectly for ramen noodles and had some bounce, but because of lack of substance I had to downgrade a star.  Your mileage may vary, as I mentioned I prefer a thick noodle.  I wouldn't hesitate to go back if someone wanted to try Ippudo, or if I was already in the area. However, Afuri Ramen is right down the street, and I live near downtown Japan town where Kumako is, one of my absolute favorite ramen joints.

Right now being this location is brand new, they just opened the previous Friday, the line can be quite long especially around dinner time. We (2) waited for 45-60 min and were put at the shared counter alongside the glass window of the kitchen, where all the action occurred and the seats were comfortable.  I would have to say if your are going to try this place out for the first time the wait is worth it, but as for a return visit I wouldn't wait more than 10 min.

Address: 19540 Vallco Pkwy #130, Cupertino, CA 95014
Phone: (408) 721-6789

Mon-Fri 11AM–2:30PM and 5–10PM
Sat 11:30AM–10PM
Sun Closed

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