Ramen Burger has come to Tokyo. Its eponymous creation has been one of the hottest new foods in the U.S. in the past couple of years, but here in Japan the arrival has been muted to the extreme, with minimal publicity and a location far from the center of the city. That’s just the way the originator, New Yorker Keizo Shimamoto, likes it.
His concept is simple but radical: Take a burger patty and place it between two “buns” made out of ramen noodles. And voila — a double hit of everyone’s favorite fast foods. What does it taste like? Exactly the way it sounds — and it works a treat.
The secret lies in the contrast of crunch and softness in the noodles, the juicy flavor of the patty (all U.S. beef) and the umami-rich burger sauce made with shoyu. That’s what you get with the Original Burger (¥723) and it’s a fine munch. Add in all the sides and trimmings (The Works; ¥1,019) and it’s starting to get close to awesome.
Ramen Burger is already a foodie favorite in New York and Los Angeles. Can it take Tokyo by storm? It will be a much harder sell here, and that is why Shimamoto is right to start off quiet and let the word spread organically. Go soon: It’s not going to remain a cult secret for very long.