IPPUDO OUTSIDE

Journal from IPPUDO spanning the world over

IPPUDO JAPAN

The keyword is “1/2” (one half).The opening of “IPPUDO 1/2” in Lumine Est Shinjuku

IPPUDO’s concept 30 years ago in 1985 was to open an “IPPUDO where a woman would feel comfortable coming in by herself”. Since then IPPUDO has come to be loved by all manner of people, regardless of age or gender, through adopting a fashionable and colorful interior unusual for a ramen shop, and while preserving the flavor of the original Hakata tonkotsu soup, IPPUDO has been pursuing a taste and noodles suited to women’s palates. Now the new challenge for IPPUDO has been to open a ramen shop mainly targeting young women in – none other than – Lumine Est Shinjuku known for being a fashion building. The IPPUDO Lumine Est Shinjuku shop was launched as a new type of food business offering a special menu based on the new concept of IPPUDO nibun no ichi (lit. IPPUDO one half).

WORDS by YUKARI YAMADA
PHOTOS by HIDEKI ANZAWA

Hello readers, my name is Yukari Yamada and I am an editor and writer of IPPUDO OUTSIDE. There is nothing quite like the sheer bliss experienced through ramen, gyoza dumplings and a glass of beer at the end of a day. April 27, 2016 saw the grand opening of IPPUDO Lumine Est Shinjuku based on the new concept of “1/2” in Lumine Est Shinjuku. Although I am a sake-loving woman in my 20s now, this is a place I used to frequent during my university days.

2ぶんの1風堂

Speaking of Lumine Est, this particular fashion building is one out of all the Lumine buildings that focuses especially on young women. The 7th floor restaurant area is lined with chic restaurants with an open-space décor, looking very much like a café, designed to appeal to female customers.

Not only are the ramen noodles “1/2”but the carbohydrates are also “1/2”

At “IPPUDO 1/2”, you can order a half portion of noodles, or noodles with half the amount of carbohydrates. In its 31st year since being founded, IPPUDO which concentrated on opening a ramen shop where a woman would feel comfortable coming in by herself, is now moving into a new phase. This new challenge of opening a ramen shop in Lumine Est targeting women could not have been an easy one. I interviewed Maki Ogawa, the manager of “IPPUDO 1/2”.

店長の小川真貴さん

“There was a certain amount of trial and error in coming up with the menu. So saying, I wasn’t particularly worried and I was determined to keep on coming up with ideas. The menu may have been “for women”, but that didn’t mean I was only thinking about women, and instead I concentrated on the idea of “something women would enjoy too”. Regardless of gender, we developed ramen noodles with half the amount of carbohydrates so that anyone who loves ramen but has to mind their carbs, can eat our ramen.

Although I’m the shop manager, there are some things that as a male I don’t notice. Which is why I asked our female staff to freely give their opinions and worked on polishing our concept towards the opening of the shop.”

An appealing array of ramen for women

There are a lot of women for whom one bowl of ramen is too much, and there are those who end up leaving some noodles in the bowl. So sometimes 1/2 is just the right amount or you can add a bit more to your own bowl and share it with a friend. IPPUDO also fulfills the wishes of women to try a little bit of everything. In the line-up is four different kinds of ramen: as well as the IPPUDO signature ramen dishes, the “Shiromaru Classic” and the “Akamaru Modern”, also on offer are the “Chicken & Pork Noodles”, a blend of paitan chicken broth and tonkotsu pork broth, and the “Coriander Tantan Noodles”, which uses an abundance of coriander. All of these dishes can be ordered in a half size. There are also new side dishes on the menu such as the “Hot Sandwich” which features IPPUDO’S famous chashu, and the addition of a “Creamy Rooibos Tea Pudding” and “Almond Noodles” to the desserts.

In addition, there’s also a set menu which comes with a dessert. And the Shiromaru Tonkotsu Hyakunen Tofu (Shiromaru Pork Broth Century-Old Tofu), a limited-time menu which caused quite the stir, serving up tofu instead of noodles, is now a regular feature on this shop’s menu. The light taste and texture of this smooth tofu enveloped in a pork broth can be eaten up much like miso or a savory rice porridge. It can also be made without oil which is a great dish for women on a diet, and it’s also perfect for a bite to eat to round off an evening of drinks. Rooibos tea which is offered by IPPUDO as a free drink at the IPPUDO ramen shops is also popular with the Lumine Est female customers. Rooibos tea is rich in minerals but contains little caffeine. Its refreshing taste clears the palate after the ramen, and also aids digestion.

女性にうれしいメニューがずらり

A stylish and thoughtful shop designwhich retains the feel of a café

Since this IPPUDO is a shop in a fashion building, the interior gives off a sophisticated impression like that of a café. The 7th floor restaurant area has an open-space feel to it, and although most of the shops are designed using light, airy colors such as white, “IPPUDO 1/2” has a black base and the glass windows contain woven metallic wire. The manager, Maki Ogawa said, “Since it would be hard to eat in peace knowing that you’re in full view from the outside, we came up with a way to create a discreet, almost smoky effect screening our customers from the outside.” To me, that makes sense. It seems that IPPUDO gives thoughtful attention to its female customers even with these small details.

配慮の行き届いた店舗デザイン

IPPUDO’S familiar red and white bowls were custom-made to match the concept of “IPPUDO 1/2.” Although these custom-made bowls were made from the same aritayaki as usual, these 1/2 bowls have a part which is curved. The idea behind this design was to make the bowls snuggle inside a woman’s relatively small hand.

有田焼

So “IPPUDO 1/2”, a new type of food business has only just begun. Keep your eye on “IPPUDO 1/2” and Maki Ogawa and his staff who say, “We aim to preserve the original ‘Hakata Tonkotsu IPPUDO’, but also plan to keep listening to our customers, and to constantly adapt to improve our ramen.”

小川店長たち

Extra edition

Comments from the staff working in other Lumine Est Shinjuku shops

インタビュー1

Asuka Tanaka VANQUISH(5F)

What did you eat? “Akamaru Modern” and the “Hot Sandwich”
I have been to IPPUDO several times when I went on a business trip to Hakata. I’ve also been to the Soramachi shop. I normally tend to order a kaedama (extra serving of noodles), but at 1/2, you actually get more of a choice because you can either order a kaedama or a different kind of ramen.

Tatsuya Sasaki VANQUISH(5F)

What did you eat? “Akamaru Modern” and the “Hot Sandwich”
I went to the Tenjin IPPUDO when I visited Fukuoka. It was delicious as always, and 1/2 was the perfect amount for me.

インタビュー2

Yumi Tezuka TORQUE(5F)

What did you eat? “Akamaru Modern” and the “Hot Sandwich”
I instinctively ordered two dishes, but managed to finish both of them! They were both delicious, and I was personally really happy that a ramen shop, a tonkotsu ramen shop at that, was opening on the restaurant floor because I love tonkotsu ramen. I’m definitely going to come again in between my work shifts.

Keisuke Ibara TORQUE(5F)

What did you eat? “Akamaru Modern” and the “Hot Sandwich”
I’ve also been to the Soramachi shop before. Even though you know that it’s a half size, it doesn’t feel like that at all. It just goes to show that this dish is a reasonable amount. You don’t feel like you ate too much, but are contently full.

インタビュー3

Akane Suzuki STACCATO(B1F)

What did you eat? “Shiromaru Classic” and the “Coriander Tantan Noodles”
I instinctively ordered two dishes, but managed to finish both of them! They were both delicious, and I was personally really happy that a ramen shop, a tonkotsu ramen shop at that, was opening on the restaurant floor because I love tonkotsu ramen. I’m definitely going to come again in between my work shifts.

Asami Suzuki STACCATO(B1F)

What did you eat? “Shiromaru Classic” and the “Akamaru Modern”
I compared the “Shiromaru Classic” and the “Akamaru Modern” by eating both of them. I prefer tonkotsu ramen too. Since IPPUDO uses thin noodles, even women can easily eat up the entire dish. I also really like the fact that the shop atmosphere feels so welcoming that women feel comfortable coming in alone.

IPPUDO Lumine Est Shinjuku
Lumine Est Shinjuku 7F, 3-38-1 Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo
03-6380-4473
Opening hours: 11:00 – 23:00 (L.O. 22:30)

山田 友佳里

WORDS by
YUKARI YAMADA / WRITER

Yukari Yamada was born in Ishikawa prefecture in 1990. Working at “nostos books”, an old-books store in Shoinjinja-mae, Setagaya ward, Ms. Yamada is also the writer and editor of an online magazine. As editor for the online magazine “PICTCAKE” featuring photo cakes which can be ordered through an app, she also writes articles on food and gifts. In search of music, designs and photographs, her favorite haunts are live music clubs, galleries, and bookstores. A lover of oden (Japanese hot pot) and sake.