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Ramen Burgers ‘n Tonkrazy Dogs

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.

Gyoza No Osho Shoyu Ramen

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.

Hank’s now “Triple D Famous” Lobster Haute Dog

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”

Pomai’s Tonkrazy! Dog on the left, and an American style Arabiki Hot Dog on the right.

As the name suggests, think Tonkatsu meets Hot Dog, and that’s pretty much the goal here.

Here’s a rather EXTREME visual reference of Tonkatsu (Japanese Pork Cutlet) where the “Tonkrazy Dog” sourced its influence…

Tonkatsu with 1001 different Tonkatsu Sauces

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).

Pomai’s Arabiki Tonkrazy! Dog

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…

Ryan’s take on the “Tonkrazy Dog” at Gochiso Gourmet

Not that Burgers ‘n Dogs with an asian twist are anything new, as even back at the time I created the “Tonkrazy Dog” (5 years ago), there was already JapaDog

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…

Okinawan 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!

Krispy Kreme Bacon Cheeseburgers

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…

Portuguese Sweet Bread & Portuguese Sausage 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…

Dill-Battered Barramundi with Nori Bun and Tartar Sauce

Or the “butterier” version, this here Croissant Banh Mi

Croissant Banh Mi Sandwich

Back to Okinawan foodie twists, apparently one of the latest crazes on the Ryukyu islands (Okinawa) is “Taco Rice”….

Okinawan 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.

23 thoughts on “Ramen Burgers ‘n Tonkrazy Dogs

  • August 15, 2013 at 1:41 pm

    Shouldn’t the Filipino burger have banana ketchup? Also, there’s a place in California that is selling a Cronut knockoff, they’re calling it the Kronut. Spelling it with a “K” kind of misses the point, but I guess it was branded with the same reasoning as Krab for mock crab.

  • August 15, 2013 at 4:04 pm

    Pomai, Pacific Hotel chef Fenton Lee made a malasada like crosnut called crossada and Regal Bakery made copycat crosnut which price better than New York selling there 5.00 ea. Regal Bakery at 2.50 to 3.00 ea. My cousins in San Francisco went to Clover Bakery in San Jose for some Japanese pastries a bun filled with spaghetti. Emeril Lagasse love his chow mein sandwich from his hometown New Jersey.

  • August 15, 2013 at 7:24 pm

    @ h – Good catch! You must be familiar with Filipino food to know about Banana Ketchup. It certainly has a “fruitier” note, yet it still tastes pretty much like ketchup as us Americans know it. IIRC, we didn’t have any Banana Ketchup from P.I. on-hand in the office when Diner E put together that Pan de Sal Burger for lunch. However he got some later that week for a “hana hou” (encore), which I didn’t document (blog). And you’re right, ‘Kroissant’ does look weird, from a visual typography point-of-view.

    @ Dan T – I really enjoyed the video clip on Keizo-San! Daisuki desu yo! Domo arigato gozaimasu! Now I need ramen. NEED Yama-Arashi ramen!

    @ Amy – I had a feeling Regal Bakery would be one to offer such a thing as a Cronut. I’ll check out the McCully street location for it (and avoid the Chinese Cultural Plaza location like the plague). Besides, I’m overdue to blog Regal Bakery. I remember when they had humble beginnings as a plate lunch stand on Kapahulu avenue!

  • August 15, 2013 at 7:27 pm

    Ramen and burger? Sorry, but that just sounds too weird. Anyway, talking about sounding weird, the oroshi dog at Japadog is the bomb! Daikon oroshi, special shoyu and sliced green onions. Who woulda thought.

    • August 16, 2013 at 6:16 am


      Glad to hear you highly recommend the Oroshi JapaDog, as that’s EXACTLY the one I’d pick! Loaded with grated Daikon? Are you kidding me? HOOK. ME. UP!!!

  • August 16, 2013 at 8:42 am

    Hey Pomai:

    Wow you must be reading my mind! After you showed me those great cake noodle dishes on the Chow Fun article, I was determined to find a way to make my own using whatever I could find out here in Alabama. If I couldn’t find Sun Ramen at one of the local asian markets, my fall back would be using ramen noodles cooked al dente then shaped in a small skillet and fried into a cake. If that succeeded, I was gonna top it off with whatever stir fry I could come up with… then I thought, what about a loco moco cake noodle? (with the cake noodle subbing for the rice) , or a spam cake noodle musubi…. and then, you post this article… I was soooo close to getting to that step! LOL Now, I have even more incentive to start experimenting!

  • August 16, 2013 at 10:07 am

    There is complicated, technical fusion cuisine and there is “I can’t believe they did that ..heck…it is so delicious’ fusion cuisine. I like both, my wallet tends to like the latter.

    If you are ever in Seattle, I’ll treat you to this place:


    This is what happens when a serious and committed sushi chef decides to color outside the lines.

  • August 16, 2013 at 11:26 am

    @ Keith-San – Upon looking over several “Cake Noodle” recipes online, I was surprised to find a lack of consensus on the type of noodle used to make Hawaii style “Cake Noodle”. One said to use saimin noodles (seriously?), and another said to use “Chinese Egg Noodles”. From what I keep hearing, if you ask for “Cake Noodle” anywhere on the mainland in Chinese restaurants, they’ll say they never heard of it. I met this one guy from Nebraska who was all about Lo Mein, who he claimed Patty’s Chinese Kitchen were famous for. I dunno’. Never heard of Lo Mein until he mentioned it. Doesn’t Alabama have Chinese restaurants? I’m sure you can get the proper Chinese noodles from them to make your cake noodle if you ask the owner or manager. Show them a picture of what Cake Noodle looks like on your smartphone. When you finally do make your Loco Moco Cake Noodle (or whatever else it may be), snap a photo and send it over. I’d love to share it!

    @ Arny-San – Such as those restaurants that practice Molecular Gastronomy. I found this guide to those in the Seattle area:

    “I’ll have the Pressurized and Freeze-dried Foie Gras and a glass of Aged for 10 seconds Carbonized Pinot Noir.” lol

    I checked out the menu for Katsuburger. Guess I’ll have to go for the signature “Tokyo Style” Katsu Burger with Japanese Mayo (Kewpie?) and Tonkatsu Sauce (what brand?).

    According to their ‘About Us’ page, their meats go like this, ““Meats?” you ask? Oh yes, the choice is yours. Every day, we hand mix our secret recipe seasoned ground beef patties (menchi katsu). We also hand trim and tenderize our pork loin and chicken breast cutlets. All of the meats we use are all natural, without added growth hormones or antibiotics. For our herbivore friends, we hand slice organic tofu before bathing it in our savory marinade and serving it to you on our locally baked, all natural buns. That’s right – we take pride in our mighty fine buns.”

    Ooh, a Tofukatsu Burger. Hook me up!

    • August 16, 2013 at 2:36 pm

      I went to a molecular gastronomy joint once just to see what the fuss was about. Once. I left many dollars poorer, was still hungry and did not even have a buzz on. Instant gratification was met when on the way to my car, I inhaled two street hot dogs slathered in cream cheese. That vendor was genius for posting up there. Probably gets a lot of customers from that restaurant.

      I am pretty sure the folks at Katsuburger make their own mayo and tonkatsu sauce. Did not see the familiar packaging. The condiments were dispensed from ordinary squeeze bottles. Their Katsu Curry is the most interesting. Curry AND tonkatsu sauce. Did I mention that I believe ‘munchy cuisine’ will be next food revolution in Washington after the most recent ‘green’ legislation?

      Good area to grab lunch in. Not too bad Hawaiian food place just up the street called Kauai Family Restaurant. Only place I know of that has smoked pork on the daily menu.

      • August 17, 2013 at 4:35 am


        Not sure if you have them in Seattle, however here on Oahu we have several fast food chain locations from Japan named ‘Curry House Coco Ichibanya‘, that feature Japanese style curry and Tonkatsu. FWIW, oishii, actually!

        Curry House Coco Ichibanya Tonkatsu Curry

        You know what’s funny is, aside of Korean fast food restaurants grillin’ Kalbi, Hawaii is totally lacking BBQ joints. You’d think with our outdoors fun-in-the-sun lifestyle that BBQ restaurants would be everywhere, yet it’s far and few between! Go figure.

        • August 17, 2013 at 6:34 am

          I am a Japanese curry nut but most folks around here don’t do it right so I end up doing it at home. I just thought curry sauce and tonkatsu sauce on one sandwich was a bit over the top but when you look at the cutlet as the communicator between the two, it actually works out.

          If have not read this, I would highly recommend it. Fascinating:


          It’s interesting on your take of BBQ. If you are talking American BBQ, I would think that the availability of the traditional hardwoods (oak, hickory, pecan, etc..) would be a bit of a hindrance. Pellets work in a pinch but are not the same. BBQ is very regional. Hard to translate it just a region away versus an entire ocean. The worse are the places here that try to do it all (KC, Memphis, Carolina, Texas, etc…) all on one menu. If you are talking slow and low BBQ Hawaiian stylee, well, maybe there is a hardwood issue there as well. There is only so much kiawe, guava, and strawberry guava available on an island. I would think that too many commercial institutions would deplete that supply rapidly. And that would be tragic to the backyard BBQer.

          • August 17, 2013 at 6:52 am

            Arny said, “I just thought curry sauce and tonkatsu sauce on one sandwich was a bit over the top but when you look at the cutlet as the communicator between the two, it actually works out.”

            Wow man, that’s deep. Too deep for me to fathom on a Saturday morning, actually. lol

            Not surprised there’s a book dedicated to curry. Which I always found perplexing, even as a young kid walking the streets of Tokyo’s Ginza district, where there were curry houses on practically every street corner! What do Japanese find so fascinating about curry? Well, if you’re a Japanese curry fan, surely you must be familiar with the S&B brand. Their curry bouillons are the best. Several Japanese ramen joints here feature currry katsu as a lateral feature on their menu, such as Ichiben, Ramen-Ya and Sumo Ramen.

            As for BBQ, you’re right about resources on an island. As you know, Kiawe is the same as mesquite, considered an invasive species that grows rapidly all around our islands, especially near beaches. Yet you can see where people are taking chainsaws to the trees. Seriously! Not sure if it’s “official” (state workers) or everyday folks gettin’ some for their imu. However, imagine if BBQ were huge here? Kiawe burns HOT and smokes heavily. Which means Kiawe is fuel. Add a Hawaii BBQ restaurant industry into the equation? Kiawe will eventually become endangered, not invasive.

    • August 19, 2013 at 6:11 am

      I am just starting my cake noodle ques, so I will try whatever I find. Most cake noodle recipies call for chinese egg noodles, so I will start there. Will definitely send you pics of any successful attempts. As for the Lo Mein comment some one posted, here’s a link to a definition: http://chinesefood.about.com/od/chinesedishfaqs/f/lomeinchowmein.htm One surprise I have found is that at the fast food restaurant Panda Express, they make a very nice chau mein; well seasoned and fried to a nice chewy texture, much as I remember Hong Kong noodles.Very surprising for a chain. But maybe my absence from Hawaii has dulled my sensibilities. I have also discovered that many of the take out Chinese restaurants offer a dish call Mei Fun or Chow Mei Fun, so I will try em out and see if they have a respectable version reminiscient of the Chow Fun of home.

    • August 19, 2013 at 6:26 am

      Oh yeah, before I forget. This may be a little off-topic, but have you ever heard of the Saint Paul Sandwich? I sorta got thinking about it with the discussion here about BBQ. I used to go to St Louis, MO a lot on business and tried all sorts of BBQ there (and in KC, too). Someone there mentioned the St Paul sandwich and that it was cheap, delicious and almost exclusively made at Chinese restaurants there in St Louis. With the juxtaposition of the name and the source, I had to check it out.It was crazy! It is an egg foo young patty (meat of your choice) between two slices of white sandwich bread slathered in mayo and dressed with lettuce and tomato. wow, so ono! and less than $2! So I had to buy two! LOL I also have discovered that this is a regional cusiine pretty much restricted to Missouri! Kinda like spam musubi in spirit.

      • August 19, 2013 at 7:28 am


        Never heard of a Saint Paul Sandwich until you now mentioning it. So it’s essentially an Egg Foo Yung Sandwich? Sounds AWESOME!

        I tell you what: I’ll hit Honolulu’s Chinatown district, and ask EVERY Chinese restaurant that I have the time do and if they’re open, whether or if they know what a Saint Paul Sandwich is. And if not, if they serve Egg Foo Yung. God, I love Egg Fu Yung!

        • August 20, 2013 at 4:17 am

          Also, as this was a noodlemania blog, I remember my mom used to make us spaghetti sandwiches sometimes. She got the leftover spaghetti mixed with sauce out of the fridge and would put some in a skillet and form the spaghetti into a patty and fry it until the sauce carmelized and tightened up the patty. She then put it between two pieces of bread and a little ketchup and that was it! Sometimes she would melt a slice of cheese on the spaghettiburger for an added touch!

  • August 17, 2013 at 3:00 am

    Pomai, I had one time some reserched on hotdogs recipes. I wraped corn tortilla with hotdog and cheese and some dry salsa and brush with egg to seal it. deep fry or bake it .I also wraped half cooked ramen all over the hotdog till well seal and deep fry it too.

    Family like hotdogs score it and braise in teriyaki sauce wraped in cooked rice and nori musubi or serve as side dish.

    • August 17, 2013 at 4:48 am


      Admittedly, anything wrapped-up in a tortilla isn’t very inventive. My Somen Salad Rangoon concept will run circles around that!

      Hot Dog braised in Teriyaki sauce, served with Omusubi is an Okazuya staple. Gulick, Toshi’s, Nuuanu, Matsumoto’s, St. Louis, Mitsuba, Fukuya… you name it. ;-)

    • August 17, 2013 at 8:10 am

      After watching short film online Ramen Dreams I now want to make nice hot bowl of ramen. I also will try to make ramen burger too. Price not bad for ramen burger at 8.00 in New York city compare to cronut at 5.00 each and only two per a customer.

  • August 17, 2013 at 7:06 am

    I see ramen burger not bad at all. Making it at home should great. I lke it with kim chee or takuwa.

  • August 29, 2013 at 9:52 pm

    uh maui’s culinary program, which supplies the cafeteria, is doing a cronut. there’s is only $3, but i’m not sure if it’s smaller than the original.


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