And yes, of course ramen pizza comes with one of Japan’s favorite toppings.
When it comes to comfort foods, pizza and ramen are two of the most comforting. Both are tasty and filling, and have such broad appeal that they’ve become immensely popular far beyond their countries of origin.
But since you’ve only got one mouth, you have to select just one to eat at any given moment, right? Nope, at least not at this restaurant in the city of Ebetsu in Hokkaido.
Called Menkoiya, the eatery is located across town from the Ebechun Ramen instant noodle factory, and uses the locally produced brand of ramen in its offerings. Standard miso, tonkotsu (pork stock), and soy broth ramen varieties are all on the menu, but for 450 yen (US$4) you can try something a little more unique: ramen pizza.
▼ Large-size ramen pizzas are also available for 650 yen
Now when you hear “ramen pizza,” you might imagine that Menkoiya uses the noodles as a topping, but what it actually does is the opposite. Instead of a doughy crust, the bottom of the ramen pizza is a slab of crispy ramen noodles.
Technically, the ramen pizza is a pizza bianca, since it’s made without tomato sauce. There’s plenty of delicious cheese, though, and just to make sure it’s as absolutely Japanese as possible, a generous amount of corn, one of the country’s favorite pizza toppings.
▼ Accompanying the corn are slices of green onion.
While the sauce-less pizza is fine as-is, we eventually tried adding a few dashes of Tabasco, a common pizza condiment in Japan, which brought out even more of a pleasing tang from the cheese.
Ramen pizza isn’t the only unorthodox option at Menkoiya, either. There’s also the 550-yen milk miso ramen, which celebrates Hokkaido’s dairy farm heritage by mixing locally sourced moo juice into the miso broth.
The resulting mixture is rich yet smooth, and bears a bit of a resemblance to creamier varieties of tonkotsu ramen.
While we wouldn’t have thought up either of these ramen dishes ourselves, we’re glad Menkoiya did, and since the restaurant also sells packs of Ebechun Ramen for customers to take home (starting at just 100 yen), should we ever get a craving for more ramen pizza or milk ramen, we can try making them for ourselves, too.
Menkoiya / 麺こいや
Address: Hokkaido, Ebetsu-shi, Oasa Higashi-cho 13-48
Open 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
[ Read in Japanese ]
Follow Casey on Twitter, where milk ramen reminds him of how his host sister used to like drinking milk when eating chutoro sushi.
[ Read in Japanese ]