Keizo Shimamoto’s Ramen Burger debut at Brooklyn’s Smorgasburg food fair. Photo courtesy of GoRamen.com
“Hey, you got your Burger in my Ramen…”
“Noodlemania” continues here as, if you pay any attention to your daily online news feed, chances are by now you’ve heard about the latest hot foodie craze hitting the streets of New York, the Ramen Burger. Surprised? Nah, I wasn’t. Intrigued how it tastes? Speaking for myself, absolutely!
Keizo-San’s Ramen Burger
Well, not surprisingly in this day and age of online social media, the likes of Korean Taco Trucks, “Cronuts” and Krispy Kreme Burgers have received attention from the hungry masses like viral beasts.
Which is exactly what happened for ramen enthusiast and blogger Keizo Shimamoto, 35, who debuted his new Ramen Burger at Brooklyn’s Smorgasburg food fair in New York. Using his social media prowess, Shimamoto-San sold 150 Ramen Burgers at $8 a pop on the debut event day, going on to sell hundreds more in the oncoming days while the social media buzz on his new creation was and still is hot.
The Ramen Burger crew, with mastermind Keizo Shimamoto second from left. Photo courtesy of GoRamen.com
What’s interesting to note, is that this New York-based Ramen Burger uses Sun Noodle ramen noodles, based here in Honolulu, whom now have manufacturing facilities on the mainland in California and New Jersey. Which I suppose brings us back to the six degrees of separation (a.k.a. Kevin Bacon) theory.
Keizo-San’s Ramen Burger
The only thing that didn’t quite jive with me when I first read about this now famous Ramen Burger is that it has a beef patty in it. Like traditional Japanese Ramen that has meat in it, it really should be PORK. Either if he had made it using a ground pork patty that resembles the flavor of Chashu. Or better yet, an actual slice of tender, braised Chashu pork in it.
Well, not by Keizo-San, however consider the Chashu Ramen Burger (actually a sandwich) done!…
Chashu Ramen Burger (a REAL Ramen Burger!) from unsaid source. Photo courtesy of GoRamen.com
Of course now everyone’s gonna’ go off on Ramen Burger concoctions, adding everything under the sun in or on it, as does most burger joints. There’s even blogs already out there with step-by-step recipes on DIY Ramen Burgers, including this one that concludes with a Ramen Cheeseburger (made by Keizo-San)…
Photo courtesy of DramaFever.com, c/o GoRamen.com
Hmmm, Cheese and ramen noodles? Sounds like a play on Mac ‘n Cheese that actually could work exceptionally well if executed properly! Didn’t they do that on ‘Chopped’ already?
What a Ramen Burger might look like if it came from Texas. Or made for ‘Man vs. Food’. Or ‘Duck Dynasty’. Photo courtesy of RocketNews24.com
Personally, if I were to make a Ramen Burger at home, I’d make the noodle “bun” just like Keizo-San did. However, providing it’s the weekend and I can eat at least a little meat, I’d try making the patty out of ground pork, pan-frying it until just seared on the outside, then simmering it in the concentrated nama ramen broth packet so the patty takes on the broth’s rich, complex and intense shoyu flavor. I’d then top it with a generous helping of Menma (bamboo shoots), a couple thin slices of simmered boiled egg and thin slices of Japanese negi (large green onions), including both the green and white parts of the stalk, which is how they do it in Tokyo. Oh yeah.. hashi iranai!
“Hey, you got your Wasabi Sauce on my Hot Dog …”
As the Ramen Burger continues to push the envelope, everything and anything that’s been put on or around a hot dog either has been done or is being thought of as we speak as well. Look no further than Hank’s Haute Dogs right here in Honolulu for a prime example of that.
Think a “Ramen Dog” hasn’t been thought of yet? Done. Hank’s done it. While this isn’t Hank’s version, a visiting patron was so intrigued by it, she tried making a Ramen Dog herself…
Home-made Ramen Dog, an ode to Hank’s Haute Dogs Ramen Dog from My Last Bite blog. Photo courtesy MyLastBite.Wordpress.com
Who’s to say a hot dog has to be made from encased meat? Enter the “Ultimate Carrot Dog”…
Hot Dog Bun + Spinach + Grilled Carrot + Almond Butter = The Ultimate Carrot Dog. Source: MealandMiles.com
Which brings to mind my little “Frankenstein” foodie creation, the Arabiki “Tonkrazy! Dog”…
Here’s a rather EXTREME visual reference of Tonkatsu (Japanese Pork Cutlet) where the “Tonkrazy Dog” sourced its influence…
To build the Tonkrazy Dog, I placed a bed of finely sliced cabbage in a toasted bun. Then on that goes a pork-based Arabiki Hot Dog which acts as the pork cutlet, sans the deep-fried panko breaded crust. Then like Tonkatsu, what really seals the deal is the Tonkatsu SAUCE! Ah, yes, the sauce! Ikari brand to be exact, however any of the brands featured in that Tonkatsu sauce shootout would work fine. Sure better!
Then to finish it off, just as you would with most Japanese “set” meals, I rounded out the savory aspect of the pork, crispness of the cabbage and deep, dark robust element of the sauce with the acidic brightness of the Tsukemono (japanese pickled side dishes), adding slivers of Takuwan (pickled daikon/turnip) and Beni Shoga (pickled ginger; the more acidic version of the sweeter sushi shoga).
And? Oishii! Sugoi! I was quite surprised how delicious the “Tonkrazy Dog” turned out. What’s key to point out about this “Tonkrazy Dog”, is that it still taste like a Hot Dog, not a Tonkatsu Sandwich. Very important! That said, I thought it would taste flat-out weird, especially with the tart Beni Shoga and pungent Takuwan (a.k.a. Takuan), however everything matched really well!
In fact, if imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then so be it, as reader and fellow local food blogger Ryan-San over at his Gochiso Gourmet was intrigued enough by my “Tonkrazy Dog”, that he attempted to make it himself…
JapaDog menu. Photo courtesy of HotDogProfits.com
IIRC, that’s how I heard of JapaDog, was after posting my “Tonkrazy Dog” post that someone had mentioned them. However, I swear when I thought of it, the idea came straight from my head, and not from searching for ideas online or elsewhere.
Which brings to mind: have you ever thought of an idea, whether it’s some novel new 3-D printable particle accelerator, purse or shoe smartphone app, or a crazy “Frankenstein’d” dish like we have here, only to search online if anyone had already thought of or did it, and it turns out, it’s been done? It’s like “Dang it! I thought I’d be the first one to invent the “Tonkrazy Dog”, and that guy in Honolulu already created it!”
On a tangent
East-meets-west ‘n noodle buns sounds fun, yet we can’t forget Ramen’s sacred sibling, rice, where once again we have the “Okinawa Burger” from MOS Burger in Okinawa…
MOS BURGER’s (Naha, Okinawa locations) “Okinawa Burger”. Photo courtesy of Debbie-chan
What you have there are two rice “buns” harnessing a bed of crispy nori, fried teriyaki style luncheon meat (SPAM?) and an egg omelet. Genius!
Then how about an “Okinawa Dog” using a rice-based “bun”? Well, that’s kinda’ already been done with the Hot Dog Musubi from Masa & Joyce Okazuya in Kaneohe…
Hot Dog Musubi from Masa & Joyce in Kaneohe
Hot Dog Musubi from Masa & Joyce in Kaneohe
Then there’s the ever-decadently delicious Okinawan Festival treat, the Andadog…
Hot Dog + Andagi (Okinawan donut) = Andadog, which means we must also try Hamburger + Andagi = Andaburger. My thinking for the Andaburger isn’t to deep-fry the burger within the Andagi batter like the Andadog, but to deep-fry an Andagi-based hamburger bun separately, and grill the patty as usual. Krispy Kreme Burger, look out!
While we’re on sweet bun meets savory meat combinations, there’s Diner E’s own Filipino inspired Pan de Sal Burger…
Diner E’s home-made Pan de Sal Burger – Valerio’s Tropical Bakery Pan de Sal “bun” (roll), Cheese, May’s Seasoned Patty, B.F. Mayo’, Sliced Cabbage (not lettuce) and Heinz Ketchup
Then there’s the Portuguese Sausage & Sweet Bread Dog…
What they should do at the next Portuguese Festa, is dip the Portuguese Sausage in Malasada batter and make Portuguese Malasada Dogs. Cha-$$$-ching!
As there are sweet buns, there’s also earthy & umami with Tango’s Nori Bun…
Or the “butterier” version, this here Croissant Banh Mi…
Back to Okinawan foodie twists, apparently one of the latest crazes on the Ryukyu islands (Okinawa) is “Taco Rice”….
OK, then, how about Taco Ramen? Has that been done yet? One more quick Google-Fu triple kick… Well I’ll be a Mariachi Ninja, it has…
OK, this is getting carried away. Before we know it, there will be Ramen wigs and hair extensions. Ack!
Let’s wind down all this hybridized extremes with something sweet, in what is essentially a Croissant and Doughnut magically blended into what’s now trademarked as the Cronut™…
Croissant + Dougnut = Cronut. Photo courtesy of ManRepeller.com
OMG, that sounds and looks SO GOOD! I MUST TRY THIS! And yes, someone already made a Cronut™ Burger. Sigh.
Not stopping there in the pastry category, for a local Hawaii twist, combine Portuguese Malasadas with Austrian Croissants, we have “Croissadas“…
Croissant + Malasada = Croissada
What will be the next 1+1=X-Factor foodie craze to light up Twitter and our tummies? Whether it’s a Kim Chee “this”, Natto “that”, or whatever it is, I probably won’t be surprised anymore.
Now to the kitchen for an attempt at creating Somen Salad Rangoon, “Cake Noodle” Banh Mi and Mango Cheesecake Lasagna. ;-)
Photo courtesy of GoRamen.com
P.S. Still working on that “epic” photo post.