Established in 1985 in Daimyo, Chuo-ku, Fukuoka City, Ippudo has made eating ramen tonkotsu more popular than ever. Known for its rich and flavorful tonkotsu broth, Ippudo currently has over 80 stores in Japan and other cities globally, such as New York, Paris, Singapore, Seoul, Bangkok, and Jakarta.
Earlier this February, they introduced the plant-based version of their famous tonkotsu ramen at 45 stores across Japan, which later received a massive hit from both its new and loyal customers, making them consider turning one of their stores into a dedicated vegan store!
While the original tonkotsu ramen is traditionally made with a pork bone, their plant-based version is made from soy milk, kombu seaweed, and mushroom to get that silky and rich soup. They also created a special noodle without any eggs to ensure it's 100% plant-based. And for their signature topping, Ippudo uses "char siu" mock meat made from kidney beans for their signature topping, which they admit is one of the most challenging parts.
However, according to Nikkei Asia, Ippudo says the plant-based soup is probably the closest approximation to actual tonkotsu. One of their satisfied customers said, "While my husband frequents Ippudo, my kids and I are vegans and have never come before. This is the first time our entire family has eaten at Ippudo,"
The success of the Ippudo plant-based ramen proved that Japan's current plant-based scene is growing. Hajime Mizukami, TPC Marketing Research told Nikkei, "Our estimates show the Japanese market for plant-based foods will grow at an average annual rate of 27% in the coming years,"
Receiving a lot of positive feedback from its customers, Ippudo considers turning one of its shops to serve entirely plant-based offerings. Tomita, Ippudo sales manager, said, "We were very pleased to hear from happy customers since our mission is to give them the best experience of eating ramen,"