Fast food chain Lotteria in Japan is teaming up with famous ramen chain Menya Musashi to bring you the Menya Musashi Ramen Burger: a seasoned, lightly charred ramen patty, stewed barbecue pork (chashu), and mayo on a burger bun. This carb-laden sandwich will be available for a limited time from May 20 to mid-June for ¥634 (about $6.40) and comes with a side of bonito-flavored soup. The name Musashi refers to the legendary samurai but is also shorthand for the number 634, hence the price. You can also get an extra ramen patty with soup for ¥100.
But before there were ramen-stuffed "burgers", there was the Kitakata Ramen Burger, griddled ramen-patties-for-buns filled with common ramen toppings like pork belly, fish cake, scallions, and bamboo shoots. (So, again, not really a burger, but I'm sticking it on AHT anyway.) You can see how it's made in this post at Eataku or in this video:
Serious Eats reader Geoff T. emailed us about ramen burgers a few years ago. ...An email that got lost in the murky depths of my email archives. (Sorry, Geoff!) I'll take this opportunity to resurrect his thorough description of the ramen burger:
Usually enjoyed in a big bowl while sitting at a table or counter, ramen is not known as a food for people on the go. The ramen burger looks to change all that, combining all the ingredients that make ramen so tasty into handheld form. I found this specimen of gourmet goodness at a summer matsuri (festival) right outside Ikebukuro, Tokyo.
The name 'ramen burger' is a bit misleading because there is no actual hamburger patty, only a slice of chashu pork. Many sandwiches are mislabeled as burgers in Japan but in actuality, it should be called a ramen sandwich.
To start off, this sandwich doesn't have a traditional bun, instead using ramen noodle discs fried into the shape of a bun. The noodles aren't fried until they're crunchy but rather just long enough so they could keep their shape.
In between the noodle buns were all the usual ingredients you might find in a bowl of ramen: chashu (roast pork), naruto (fish cake), negi (scallions), and menma (marinated bamboo shoots).
After it's assembled, you have a choice of which type of ramen soup flavor you'd like in your sandwich: shoyu (soy sauce), shio (salt), miso (soybean paste), and tonkotsu (pork bone). Don't worry about it being super messy; the soup base was thickened significantly to make for a nice condiment. Finally, if it was to your liking, you could add some togarashi (Japanese assorted chili pepper powder) to spice up your sandwich.
The ramen burger really captures the essence of a bowl of ramen but so far, it hasn't really caught on besides being sold on the street at local festivals. However, with the worldwide explosion in the popularity of ramen, I'm hoping that you'll soon see the ramen burger at a restaurant near you.
Have any AHT'ers tried ramen burgers before? Anyone looking forward to trying Lotteria's ramen burger?
About the author: Robyn Lee is the editor of A Hamburger Today and takes many of the photos for Serious Eats. She'll also doodle cute stuff when necessary. Read more from Robyn at her personal food blog, The Girl Who Ate Everything.