All About Japan

Ippudo Set to Make a Splash in France

Restaurants Ramen

While the beloved ekiben, or train station bento, have only recently started popping up in Paris, ramen, which many now consider to be one of the national dishes of Japan, seems to have grown steadily in popularity and recognition.

Now, one of the most successful ramen chains in Japan, Hakata Ippudo—often simply referred to simply as “Ippudo”—will be venturing into a brave new culinary frontier as they open their very first shop in Paris, France, this December. We can imagine it has to be pretty exciting and challenging for a foreign-based restaurant to open shop in the country that gave us the Michelin Guide, and it also looks like we can look forward to some fashionable collaborations to commemorate Ippudo’s foray into one of the gourmet capitals of the world!

There seems to be plenty of stylish buzz surrounding the opening of Ippudo’s Paris branch, most notably in the form of collaborative promotions involving fashion designer Mihara Yasuhiro, and French automobile maker Renault.

So, what could a fashion designer have to do with a ramen chain? It turns out Mihara designed the staff uniform for Ippudo’s shop in Paris!

Mihara—who started his career in fashion with his own footwear brand in 1997 and is now an international designer with shows in Milan and Paris—has apparently long been a fan not just of ramen in general, but of Ippudo’s playful and progressive attitude toward ramen making. For the new Paris Ippudo shop, he designed denim jackets and aprons with a modern look in a beige color which should blend in well with the building’s wooden interior. He also used red, one of Ippudo’s theme colors, in parts of the details as well as the tie-dyed towel for the staff to tie around their heads.

And where does French auto-maker Renault fit into all of this? Well, a very special Renault Kangoo will be making an appearance in Tokyo to join in the excitement.

This cute and pop “Ippudo Kangoo,” wrapped with the same red tie-dye print designed by Mihara, is the only one of its kind in the world and will be seen on the streets of Tokyo as well as select events to add to the festive atmosphere of the Paris shop opening.

In addition, to show support and excitement for the work going into the Paris branch, some of the Ippudo staff here in Japan will be wearing special commemorative Paris shop launch T-shirts for a limited time.

They’ll also be distributing free copies of Renault’s seasonal magazine RENAULT PRESSE as well as displaying posters at the shops in Japan promoting the special collaborations.

Ippudo, whose ramen features a rich (and sinfully greasy yet very tasty) tonkotsu pork broth, just celebrated their 30th anniversary earlier this month. The chain began in the Hakata area of Fukuoka Prefecture on the southern island of Kyushu, a region considered one of the ramen meccas of Japan. In fact, ramen originating from that area is known as the Hakata style of ramen, known for its signature pork-stock soup. The chain first ventured overseas to New York in 2008 and currently has branches in eight countries outside of Japan, so we guess it’s not too surprising that France should be next!

Not only has ramen started to gain notoriety in Paris, but even the beloved ekiben, or train station bento, have started to pop up in Pairs.

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