Choose Your Own Ramen Adventure at 1/2ppudo

Ramen.

It’s probably one of Japan’s most famous dishes after sushi, with shops located on nearly every street corner in Tokyo, and now encroaching into the international market. With an infinite amount of bases and toppings, including experimental sweet versions, hungry Tokyoites have certainly experienced the heart-tearing situation of having to choose between shoyu and tonkotsu ramen and the dozens of other options on offer.

The Hakata ramen chain Ippudo, with shops located throughout Tokyo, Japan and the world, created the new concept ramen shop 1/2ppudo to prevent such frustrations. Customers are able eat ramen with a lower calorie count by ordering portions that contain half the normal amount of noodles (and half the normal amount of sugar and carbs). If they so choose, customers are also able to indulge in two different types of ramen for the price of one.

While its name leads to believe they serve half-portions of ramen, the helpings are actually closer to 70 percent of the usual ramenya portions. However, your meal doesn’t have to be composed exclusively of ramen. The fun of 1/2ppudo (located at Shibuya Hikarie and other Tokyo locations) is that you get to customize the kind of dinner you crave, whether you are in the mood for ramen or not.

The menu offers different combinations including two half-size ramen bowls for ¥1,000, one half-size ramen with two sides for ¥1,100 or three sides for ¥900.

Among the ramen choices, you can choose between two signature bowls, in addition to three, more modern interpretations. Shiromaru is the original Ippudo variation of the pork bone-based ramen, featuring all of the toppings you would expect from Hakata-born tonkotsu.

Akamaru is Ippudo’s modern twist on the classic, topping it all with a red scoop of spicy miso and a dot of garlic oil. Other options include a chicken-pork hybrid ramen, tantan-men and chicken shoyu ramen.  Of course, as is the case in authentic ramen restaurants, customers are to choose how they like their noodles prepared, and can get a second half-serving of noodles for only ¥80.

As for the sides, 1/2ppudo has a selection that ranges from traditional ramen accompaniments to desserts. Those who fancy something on the saltier side could order a bowl of ramen along with some cheesy gyoza and small bowl of rice. Others who have an adventurous palate might appreciate the spice of a Karaka-men with a Mexican taco or two. For those looking for something lighter than ramen can order sandwiches, various salads and rice bowls available in the sides menu.

Finally, everything about the restaurant layout favors group outings, with tables for two or four as well as booths, making it a great option for both indecisive stomachs and a night out.

For locations and more information, visit ippudo.com

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