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In my dreams there is a Japanese Willy Wonka, and his factory looks like one giant Ippudo. I want to be the fat little German kid that drowns in a river of pork broth and noodles.

A few years in, Ippudo is as good as it's ever been, and we remain as over-the top obsessed with it as ever. This is one of the best meals you can have in this city. And that's now become one of the problems. What were once hour-long waits in the beginning have now grown to two hours, almost always. You should not be planning a meal during dining time, unless you have a whole lot of nothing to do, or some kind of golden ticket (how do we get that?). The only way to efficiently rock Ippudo these days is to tell your boss you have a doctors appointment and show up on a weekday at 4pm, ready to do bad things to your insides. Order the red bowl of ramen (Akamaru Modern) and as many pork buns as you can without losing too much respect for yourself.

Food Rundown

Pork Buns

I've been saying this forever now, much to Steinthal's dismay, but Ippudo's are way better than Momofuku's. Theirs have just enough lettuce for a crunch, and mayonnaise. Yes...mayonnaise. I am gross.

Akamaru Modern

This is the best ramen on the menu, and is Ippudo's specialty. It's full of garlic and scallion, and the broth is rich and extra porky. Save enough broth for an extra helping of noodles, which will only cost you two bucks, but they have to deem you worthy (gotta have enough broth left).

Shishito Peppers

Somehow, shishito peppers are everywhere these days. Pretty sure Brother Jimmy's even has them, but I think they think they are Japanese jalapeƱo poppers. Either way, I still love Ippudo's shishitos, especially because they give you citrus salt with them, which I have been known to dump directly into my mouth. Again, I am gross.

Ippudo Salad

A delicious, simple salad with gobo chips - and I still have no idea what those are.

Wasabi Shoyu Ramen

This is a soy sauce based vegetarian ramen that used to be only available by request (Mike D knows the deal). It's now on the menu, and it's actually really tasty.

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