I recently went to a cake shop, but when the time came to order, I said, “I’ll have the soy sauce ramen with a side of fried dumplings.” Don’t worry, I haven’t lost my mind. I was just at a hot new sweets shop in Shinjuku called, Maplise, where the specialty of the house is a decadent dessert that looks like a hot bowl of noodles.
RocketNews24 recently went to check out this strange bakery, and sure enough, in the display case, nestled among the usual brightly colored cakes, there were what looked like several bowls of ramen of both the salt and soy sauce varieties. Not only that, there were small plates of fried dumplings and even plates of tenshindon, a rice omelette with crab topped with a thick sauce. But wait, are those for real?
We decided to order one of each and the experience became even more surreal when we were offered the option of packing them up in the type of carrying case usually used for Chinese food delivery. It was getting harder and harder to remember we were buying sweets, not lunch.
▼All boxed up to go like Chinese take-out.
Even looking at them up close, they look like the real deal. They’ve recreated every detail, including a transparent soup for the noodles and the crunchy fried skin of the dumplings. The tenshindon was especially well done, from the looks of the egg, to the shininess of the sauce, and even the handful of green peas normally used as a garnish wasn’t forgotten. Our mouths were beginning to water, but in anticipation of what flavor?
▼ Salt ramen cake
▼ This one is the soy sauce ramen
▼ Can’t you just smell the ramen steam wafting up?
▼ But it’s cake. Psych!
▼ The tenshindon
▼ It really looks like a glaze
▼ But it’s a cake! Again.
▼ It even comes with dipping sauce (actually maple syrup)!
We nibbled a bit of the ramen cake. What the-?! Your mouth doesn’t know quite what to make of this thing that tastes so different from what you are seeing. Usually, you finish a cake just thinking, “Mmm, tasty,” but this experience is totally different. There’s an unimaginable spice added to the experience by the confusion in your brain. You wouldn’t think that the conflict between what you see and what you taste would feel so strange, but it is an experience we definitely recommend.
Oh, and if you were wondering, the ramen is actually a mont blanc dessert made with chestnuts and whipped cream, the tenshindon was a chocolate cake wrapped in a crepe, and the dumplings were cleverly disguised apple pies.
Perhaps the most surprising thing about this unique culinary experience is how reasonable it is. Maplise is actually well-known for offering slices of cake starting at just 105 yen (about US$1), and these new Chinese-food-inspired creations are similarly reasonable, just 980 yen (about US$9.50) each for the ramen and tenshindon and 780 yen (about US$7.50) for the dumplings. The sizes are big enough that you will want to share, making them an even better bargain. And the entertainment you will get from watching your friend’s surprise and confusion as they dig into their “lunch” is just priceless.
Tokyo, Shinjuku-ku, Nishishinjuku 1-1-2, Shinjuku Subway Station B2F
Map (Maplise is #8 on the B2F map)
[ Read in Japanese ]