On May 17, Japanese hamburger chain Lotteria’s ramen burger went on sale in the Tokyo area. Comprised of a slab of seasoned pork and a handful of noodles sandwiched inside a bun, with a cup of broth on the side, the sandwich is a collaboration between Lotteria and the popular ramen restaurant chain Musashi.
Representing the convergence of two of fast food’s all-stars, the ramen burger has been a hit, with lines stretching out the door when it went on sale. But our stomachs are fickle masters, and we decided to tear the two star-crossed lovers apart once again by using the ramen burger to make a bowl of ramen noodles.
In keeping with the spirit of fast food, our ingredient list is short, and the directions simple. To repeat our experiment, all you’ll need is a ramen burger from Lotteria, some hot water, and one long green onion.
▼Our ingredients, including noodle refills
We started by slicing the green onion into cross sections and tossing them into a ramen bowl, along with the cup of broth that came with the burger. The initial supply of broth isn’t quite enough for the proper ramen experience though, so we also added in some hot water, equal to about 2/3 of the amount of broth we started with. Finally, we tossed in the slab of pork.
▼Don’t hold back on the green onion
We mentioned before that Musashi has lots of fans, and the chain’s popularity stems from its fragrant broth made from bonito stock. The broth that comes with the burger is specially prepared by Musashi, and it does not disappoint. Adding the green onions drew out even more of its flavor, resulting in a refined taste that we couldn’t believe started out as fast food.
With our broth finished, it was time to toss in the noodles. Lotteria’s ramen burger comes with a sweet hamburger sauce and rich mayonnaise slathered on the noodles, so naturally when we put them into the broth, all of the flavors mingle together. We’d been worrying about how this would affect the taste, but the resulting mixture was unexpectedly tasty. While the elegance of the pure ramen broth was lost, in its place we found the kind of delicious, over-the-top flavor a high school kid might think up after coming home hungry from sports practice and tossing anything he could find in the refrigerator onto some leftover pizza.
Of course, some purists may scoff at the idea of adding sauce and mayo to a bowl of ramen, but there’s a simple solution. Lotteria offers refills of plain noodles for 100 yen (US$1). Toss a cup of these into the broth, and you can enjoy a more traditional flavor. Of course, to get the refill you still have to order the ramen burger, which means the sauce covered noodles are going to be sitting there as you eat the plain ones. We recommend giving both ways a shot, since the broth really is just that tasty and versatile.
[ Read in Japanese ]