IppoRamen, East Bay ramen pop-up

I was alerted that this pop-up was going on at Tokyo Fish in Berkeley. For $9, I got a flavorful bowl of mild broth, a couple of slabs of roast pork, nori, a medium-boiled egg and various garnishes.

(not my photo)

He also has more intense versions of the broth, and I wish I’d written them down. There’s seating for about five people on a folding table.


Thanks for the heads up and the great find. Looks like the chef was back at Tokyo Fish a few more times to do the popup.

Do you know what went into the broth? Curious what the more intense broth is made of? Any idea the chef’s background?

I think he’s there regularly on Thursday and Saturday, but check the Twitter feed just in case. I don’t know the cook’s background, but he is fluent in Japanese and I think he lived in Japan.

I went back and tried the miso-based broth, the most deeply flavored, and he described it as a little of everything, pork, beef, shrimp, a little milk. I didn’t like it as much as the simple pork broth above.

So, he is setting a Ramen stand in Tokyo Fish market? How does his ramen compare to other places you have tried?

Look like he is offering
Soy Sauce, Miso and Salt Ramen.

It’s in the front yard of the empty storefront next to Tokyo Fish.

I’ll have to confess that I’ve never had ramen other than Top Ramen before, and of course this is a different universe completely. I haven’t tried “real” ramen locally because of sticker shock, but at $9.00 this is great. I’ve tried the salt and miso, liked the salt better.

I see. I noticed that you have mentioned the $9 a couple of times. I would say $9 is not outrageously cheap. Most other ramen places I know may be slightly more expensive, but not much more. I tried a couple of places in SF Japantown, and they are about $9-12. This one is from Ramen Yamadaya.

In Philadelphia, we have a place called Terakawa, and its regular Ramen is about $7-10.

This following one is from Sansotei Ramen from Toronto.

I wonder if you have been unlucky and visiting/introduced some really high end Ramen shops in the East Bay which are much more than the $9.

Yes, we have a high-end Ramen Shop here where it’s about $18 a bowl. I’m not sure I’ve seen it in my local Japanese place–udon, donburi yes, but not ramen.

I have been to a couple of big cities and I like to “hunt” Japanese ramen shops and Chinese wonton noodle soup shops in new cities. (I tried all three places I listed above). I must say $18 is kind of unusual if we are talking about regular ramen.

Ippo is no longer setting up at Tokyo Fish (or Sierra Nevada Torpedo room) , according to a post on his Facebook page. He’ll still be at the Kensington farmer’s market on Sundays, though.

A little blurb about IppoRamen from the Kensington Farmers’ Market newsletter.

So who’s the best Japanese pop-up in the East Bay? In 2015, readers of the East Bay Express voted for Ippo Ramen. And among the places he pops up is right here, every Sunday, at the Kensington Farmers’ Market.

Steve always loved cooking, so after his tour of duty in the military, he signed up for culinary school (“…it’s just like the military, minus the weapons and the armor”) after which he made the rounds as a line cook in San Francisco. But his wife is from Japan, and she was missing ramen - Steve thought, “it’s just soup and noodles, how hard can it be?” A year-and-a-half later he had his answer.

Steve makes everything himself except the noodles, (he tried, but couldn’t work his way through those big bags of commercial flour fast enough) and the nori, (harvesting seaweed was outside his skill set.).

Ippo Steve (as he is also known) serves up his ramen Japanese stop-and-slurp-style - in a bowl, at a counter, then on your way. But if you need it to-go, he’s got cardboard containers to make it work for you.

He’s found another place in Berkeley, the Westbrae beer garden on Gilman. He was there on Wednesday and yesterday, 4-9 PM. His Facebook page said he was open today, but he wasn’t there when I went over to see. The beer garden manager says he’ll be there on Fridays, but he’s in Japan for the next few weeks.

The beer garden was hopping! I had no idea it has become so popular.

IppoRamen will be back at the Kensington Farmers’ Market tomorrow (4/10)! Steve is back from Japan.

Ippo Ramen is delivering ramen during the shelter in place for $10/bowl in Albany, Berkeley, Kensington, and El Cerrito. He may deliver to more places, but you’d have to ask him. Facebook thread link below. I’ve ordered twice and it has been delicious as always! I’ll definitely order next week, too.

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