Could this be the start of a new innovative gourmet trend?
For all the silly costumes and gags he pulls for the good of the site, Mr Sato is actually a foodie at heart. Having worked in the restaurant industry, he always has his ear, or nose, to the ground, constantly in pursuit of cheap finds, unusual hole-in-the-wall joints and good food festivals around the capital.
While he has a well-honed knowledge of the various types of unique dishes on offer, even he was surprised at his latest discovery: a noodle dish that can specifically be ordered without the noodles. Sure, he’d seen substitutions before, with some places offering extra meat or tofu instead of noodles, and he’d even seen a gluten-free variety, but this was the first time he’d seen a restaurant encourage diners to forgo what many would consider to be an indispensable part of the dish.
▼ Customers who go without noodles get a 30 yen discount on their order.
Eager to find out what a ramen dish without noodles would taste like, Mr Sato headed down at lunchtime on a weekday, lining up with a number of other patrons outside the restaurant. Called “Bikku Ramen”, the name of the eatery sounded like the well-known “Bikku Camera” chain of electronics stores. Mr Sato wondered whether that was intentional, or if it was actually meant to mean “Big Ramen”.
Looking at the handwritten menu inside, “Bikku Ramen” appeared once again, with options for different base flavours like miso, soy sauce and salt.
Investigating further, he discovered that it was in fact meant to read “Big Ramen”, and given his fondness for all things big, he quickly ordered one of the salt varieties for himself, with no noodles.
When it arrived, he was pleasantly surprised. It certainly was big, but it also looked incredibly fresh and healthy too. Piled high with ingredients like cabbage, spring onions and mung bean sprouts, this was one of the freshest-looking meals he’d had in a while.
▼ As advertised, the dish contained 850 grams (1.9 pounds) of vegetables.
▼ Sitting on the side of everything was a shiny boiled egg.
As he began eating, he was impressed with the crunchy freshness of the mung bean sprouts. The salty flavour went really well with the fresh cabbage and sprouts. Although being a cold day, Mr Sato wondered if he should’ve tried this with a more hearty miso-based broth.
Still, the light soup was delicious, and this meal would certainly appeal to people looking for a healthy, fresh-tasting option at a ramen restaurant. However, Mr Sato gradually became tired of the monotonous flavour and crunchy texture of the meal. He began to miss the chewiness of a good noodle and lamented the fact that slurping up vegetables wasn’t nearly as satisfying as slurping up long strands of wheat.
By the end of the meal, Mr Sato said this was delicious, healthy, and great value for money. However, while he might’ve been 30 yen richer for going without, it only made him realise how much he actually loves the noodle component of a good ramen dish. If you’re game enough to walk the path of Mr Sato and try ramen without the men (the noodles) take a look at the restaurant details below!
Bikku Ramen Toranomon / ビックラーメン 虎ノ門店
Address: Tokyo-to, Minato-ku, Toranomon 1-11-13
Hours: 11：00 a.m. – 22：30 p.m. weekdays; 11：00a.m. – 7:00 p.m. weekends
[ Read in Japanese ]