Back in January, Alex told us that she was coming out to install and open her solo show at a Gallery. Alex has spent most of her last 2 years traveling around the world to various places and in between trips shes making amazing paintings and paper cut-outs. Whenver Alex comes to New York for a visit she always has a list of places she wants to eat and so we had her take her pick and she chose Ippudo. We couldnt have asked for anything more on that brisk, winter evening. A hot bowl of ramen was exactly what our tummies called for and not even a 2 hour wait was going to stop us from having it.

Thats the one thing you should keep in mind if you ever decide to try Ippudo, theres almost always a wait of at least 45 minutes to an hour. But let us tell you, it is worth every minute we waited.

During your wait, you can set yourself up at the bar up front where you can order fancy cocktails, sake, or beer along with pork buns. drroooooollll, those pork buns. The Hirata Buns are steamed buns, pork (of if your preference is ground chicken) served with a spicy sauce.

The most recommended are either the Akamaru Modern or the Shiromaru Hakata Classic. So Jenna and Alex got the Classic and I got the Modern. The Modern was described on the menu as the original tonkotsu soup noodles with ippudos special sauce, miso paste and fragrant garlic oil, slices of simmered berkshire pork, cabbage, onions, kikurage & scallions.

Shiromaru Hakata Classic the original tonkotsu soup noodles with slices of simmered berkshire pork, kikurage, red pickled ginger, menma, 1/2 hard boiled egg, sesame & scallions. There isnt too much of a difference in both bowls other than the garlic oil and miso in the Modern. The Modern felt a little bit heavier but not in a bad way, just perfect. In fact, both were perfect. If you end up with more soup than noodles in your bowl(which is usually the case), you can order a side of noodles for about $2 to slurp up every last bit!

Ippudo 65 4th Ave, New York

Food Talk with Alex Ong

1. What was the last thing you ate?

Spicy shrimp tikka masala with coconut rice, sauteed brussel sprouts and raw fennel celery root salad made by my friend. It was better than any restaurant meal I’ve had in NY this week and sooo delicious! I had seconds. Or if this answer is too redundant for the blog, you can say:Turkey burger with pickles, chipotle mayo and yummy fries that are crispy on the edges and chewy on the inside (exactly how I like them) and Sumatra Dragonfruit juice from Choice .

2. Sweet or savory? Based on your answer what is your favorite (sweet or savory) snack?

Savory. Mmm. Popcorn made on the stove with olive oil and sea salt and cayenne pepper or cumin on top is my favorite. Sometimes I sprinkle fresh, cracked black pepper or finely grated parmesan cheese too.
I eat this often with a cup of hot tea and tangerines. Don’t try to take your contacts out after getting cayenne pepper on your fingers like I did (more than once).

3. What is your favorite place to eat after midnight? (Alex is a night owl/vampire/insomniac)

BCD tofu house Los Angeles although they have other locations too. The stone pots bubbling with hot, spicy soup just tastes better if the sky’s black outside and having a full, warm belly makes insomnia go away.

4. What were your favorite 3 places to eat from 3 different places youve traveled to and describe the meal?

Handmade pici noodles with a ground meat and tomato sauce is the absolute best meal that I’ve ever had in my entire 28 years of living on planet earth. I will always remember it. My boyfriend and I ordered the same dish and we looked at each other and our eyes widened at the same time. It was instant love and infatuation from the first bite. There’s life before pici pasta and after pici pasta. Sadly, the unintended consequence of such intense love is that every Italian pasta dish in America seems tasteless now. The texture and flavor of this seemingly simple meal was just amazing and unimaginable in ‘before pici’ life. It was so fresh and delicious. Simplicity with extra fresh ingredients is definitely the best way to enjoy food.

I don’t know how to pick only 2 more!

All the food at the Village Resort Luau on the big island of Hawaii was gluttonous and delicious. The whole pig cooked all day in an underground dirt oven with lava rocks and leaves make the meat taste so soft, juicy and has this incredible smoked flavor that you can’t get enough of. By the way I was scared to see the poor pig come out of the oven, but it didn’t look like a sad carcass or murder victim; it looked like a huge pile of yummy food. It was my first time eating poi and some kind of barnacle sea snail like creature too. Hanging out with sunburned, middle aged couples, watching the fire dancers, wearing a flower lei and having to do a little bit of audience participation was corny but the food made me wish I had more than one stomach and a muumuu.

The chocolate ice cream with chocolate flakes in Buenos Aires, Argentina was my first taste of Argentine ice cream and the absolute best. My butt grew bigger in 2 months and I couldn’t fit into the clothes I packed, trying lots of other places to find something as good but this is my favorite pick because it was so flavorful but not too sickeningly sweet and rich. It’s happiness on a cone.

5. Whats your favorite thing to make?

I like to make things that are healthy and don’t take long to prepare. Lately it’s been cold so I’ve been making a simple soup that I made up without a recipe. I boil half chicken broth, half water, slices of white onions, ground chicken, Sriracha hot sauce, salt, pepper, Chinese 5 spice (star anise, cloves, cinnamon, fennel and pepper), crushed garlic and fresh lime juice and baby spinach tossed in just before serving. Sometimes I’ll throw in other ingredients like leeks, scallions, carrots or Korean rice cakes. It tastes both light and refreshing and filling and comforting.

6. Tell us what youre working on and where youre traveling to next.

I’m working on my first book of my artwork which I’m really excited about and I’ll be soaking up the hot sun and surfing the waves in Cabo Mexico at the end of the month. I had to work through the weekends and holidays for the last 2-3 months so I can’t wait to be have some time to relax, reflect, give gratitude and hatch plans for the rest of this year!!!