Have you ever tried ramen burgers before?
Yoshinori Hasegawa who was the head chef of a highway service area restaurant in Kitakata was wondering...
“Aside from our Katakana ramen, what can be the next new local gourmet in this region?"
Because Kitakata ramen was so big in the city at the time, there was nothing that attracted tourists to the area more than the Kitakata ramen.
As a chef, he wanted to use local products to promote the area. There were some specialties in the area like chicken, pork, soy sauce, green onion, and wheat.
Yoshinori invented Kitakata ramen burger in 2008.
The dish he invented went viral.
In the beginning, sales for the ramen burger was very limited, the restaurant sold 20 to 30 burgers a day. But in 2009, they suddenly became very popular and they sold 300 burgers a day. Kitakata ramen burger became iconic of this service area.
He shaped ramen noodles into round blocks and used them as burger buns.
For protein, he used pork kakuni or chicken. Instead of tomatoes and lettuce, he used ramen toppings like menma and naruto.
These were all placed into the ramen buns.
In 2013, Keizo Shimamoto who ran a ramen restaurant in New York was inspired by the Kitakata ramen burger and made the first American ramen burger.
He replaced pork kakuni with beef patty and created sauces that matched this burger. It also went viral and this epic burger was even brought back to Japan.
Keizo opened his ramen burger shop in Tokyo.
After hearing about this innovative burger, I bet you want to try one now, right?
Unfortunately, ramen burgers are not widely available around the world yet.
So before that time comes, why don't we try making them in the comfort of our own homes?
I want to share this simple ramen burger recipe with you.
This is what you will need...
(Serving for 2 people)
Instant noodles 2 packs
Soup powder (which comes with the instant noodles) 2 packs
Olive oil 1TBSP
It can be a little difficult to make bun shapes without the help of any tools, so you will need to prepare a large round cookie mould to make cylindrical shapes.
Now here comes the good part…
1. Break instant noodles into two and boil it for 90 seconds less than the instructions on the packaging.
2. Rinse the noodles in cold water.
3. Strain it.
4. Prepare a bowl and mix together eggs, soup powder, flour, and mayo.
5. Add the prepared noodles into the mixture.
6. In a large tray, lay out a piece of plastic sheet wrap and put 4 large cookie molds onto it.
7. Put the noodles into the mold and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
8. Pan fry the buns using olive oil. (Each side: 3-4 minutes)
Now, what should we sandwich inside our freshly-made buns?
Let me tell you about some of my favourites...
Unlike its thin-sliced chashu counterpart, kakuni is a thick-sliced or cube-shaped piece of braised pork belly.
It is tender and delicious!
The cooking method includes putting cut-up pork cubes into a mixture of soy sauce, sugar, green onion and sake and braising it for hours.
This method yields a piece of meat that has a far richer taste than chashu. This is a regional dish prominent in the southern parts of Japan, namely, Kagoshima and Okinawa. The Okinawa version of kakuni is called rafute.
The slight difference between the two is that instead of using sake and brown sugar, rafute combines awamori sake (indigenous to Okinawa) and Okinawa black sugar.
Soy-sauce marinated chicken chashu pairs well with ramen burgers.
I recommend using the steaming method to make chicken chashu which locks in the moisture of the meat and keeps it juicy and tender.
Narutomaki is a type of kamaboko, which is a type of processed seafood created by steaming various pureed and deboned white fish together.
It is named after the Naruto whirlpools of Awaji Island in Shikoku, because of its distinct pink and red spiral pattern.
The anime character, Naruto Uzumaki was actually named after this Japanese ingredient.
Regular beef patty would also make a great protein to sandwich between the buns!
Well, now you will need some beautiful Japanese plates to dish them in!
We wanted to recommend some that we think you might like!
The ramen burger doesn't appeal to you? Well, we have large beautiful bowls for those of you who like traditional 'ol ramen!