ramen

Japan’s king of curry restaurants enters the instant noodle market, we taste the results

Japan’s king of curry restaurants enters the instant noodle market, we taste the results

Ironically, two of Japan’s go-to choices for a hot, satisfying meal came from overseas. Ramen is Chinese in origin, and curry came to Japan from India via contact with the British Navy.

Deciding between the two dishes can be a difficult task, which is where curry ramen, noodles floating in a curry broth, comes in. Until now, though, trying to have the best of both worlds meant giving up on the chance to eat the offerings of Japan’s most popular curry chain, CoCo Ichi. But with a new team-up between the beloved chain and instant noodle maker Ace Cook, not only can you dine on CoCo Ichi curry ramen and udon, but you don’t even have to leave the house to do so.

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Chicken Ramen mascot grows to giant size, runs rampant on the highways of Japan

Chicken Ramen mascot grows to giant size, runs rampant on the highways of Japan

Two of the things Japan is best at making are cars and cute characters. Sometimes these two worlds combine with itasha, cars slathered with painfully geeky anime graphics.

But itasha rely largely on decals, making them a literally shallow way of mashing up automotive engineering and cuteness. Isn’t there a more dynamic way to fuse the two?

Why yes, there is.

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Tokyo shop makes ramen for foreigners by adding sugar, something called “Japanese sprit!!”

Tokyo shop makes ramen for foreigners by adding sugar, something called “Japanese sprit!!”

With the 2020 Olympics on the horizon, restaurateurs in Tokyo are already thinking about how they can appeal to the crowds of foreign tourists set to descend on the city. Most of them are focusing on spiffing up their English menus and adding pictures, but some eateries are actually cooking up new menu ideas to appeal to the non-Japanese palate.

We got word that a ramen shop in Shinjuku had concocted just such a dish, so we naturally went to check it out.

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This is what happens when you order ramen with “200 times” the regular spiciness

This is what happens when you order ramen with “200 times” the regular spiciness

Ramen is a popular comfort food in Japan because, unlike many Japanese foods, there’s very little formality in eating it, it’s not especially good for you and therefore tastes wonderful, and you’re generally free to customize to your heart’s content, choosing a broth of your liking and then heaping on the toppings until you can barely see the noodles if you so desire.

Spicy ramen varieties aren’t uncommon, either, with many popular chains such as Ichiran offering customizable spiciness levels from one to ten. Of course, if you’re the right combination of bored, crazy and rich, you can pay extra to exceed the tenth level of spiciness; right on up to 200 times normal.

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The 6 best frozen foods at a Japanese grocery store

The 6 best frozen foods at a Japanese grocery store

Have you taken a look in your freezer lately? Has that carton of ice cream from last summer grown into an ice fortress yet? What about that mean-looking freezer burn on that mystery meat? Maybe it is time to clean out the chiller and fill it up with some surprisingly yummy frozen foods from your local Japanese grocery store.

While this is far from world-class gourmet dining, the following six foods will definitely make your stomach happy on a night when pushing the microwave’s “start” button is all the cooking you want to do. Click below to find out which Japanese frozen foods are worth your hard-earned yen!

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Ramen characters prove there’s more to Fukushima than just nuclear sadness

Ramen characters prove there’s more to Fukushima than just nuclear sadness

Before March 11 2011, Fukushima Prefecture was pretty much unknown outside of Japan. Within the country, however, Japan’s third-largest prefecture was known for much more than its nuclear power plant. Along with being a producer of delicious, mouthwatering peaches and home to areas of stunning natural beauty, Fukushima was also known as a hotspot for incredible ramen noodles.

Now, some of the more prominent ramen restaurants in the area have banded together to remind us all that the real heart of Fukushima has always been fuelled by ramen power. And they’ve even got shiny, new anime characters to prove it!

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Up all night? Tokyo-area late-night restaurants are standing by with ramen, donuts

Up all night? Tokyo-area late-night restaurants are standing by with ramen, donuts

For about 17 hours a day, urban Japan’s public transportation system seems like the greatest thing in the world. Clean, punctual, well-mannered, and convenient, it’s the perfect way to get around major cities like Tokyo and Yokohama.

But sometime after midnight, the trains, subways, and busses all stop running. Sure, you could always hop a taxi home, but cabs in Japan charge a special surcharge late at night. So unless you feel like shelling out the 5,000 to 10,000 yen (US $50-$100) for a ride to the suburbs, you’re either spending the night in a capsule hotel or hanging around somewhere until the trains start up again around 5 a.m..

The almost complete absence of street crime in Japan means you’re unlikely to get hassled or mugged, even in the seedier parts of town. You will, however, eventually get hungry. Thankfully, when you do, these awesome late-night eateries are ready to serve you.

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We try surprisingly delicious Miso Curry Milk Ramen in Aomori

We try surprisingly delicious Miso Curry Milk Ramen in Aomori

Locally owned ramen shops can be found spread out all across Japan. In fact, some of the best flavors aren’t found at the big chain restaurants, but at the hole-in-the-wall shops that you might never even notice without a proper introduction. Hence, we’d like to make it our duty to tell you about an amazing, little ramen joint in Aomori Prefecture, which is famous for its miso flavored curry milk ramen.

When we at RocketNews24 first heard about this place, we couldn’t imagine how so many different flavors could possibly achieve good balance within a single bowl of noodles, so we sent one of our adventurous Japanese reporters, Mami Kuroi, to try it out. Here’s what she had to say about the experience.

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“Ramen Cake” dessert looks just like the real thing, is probably just as bad for you

“Ramen Cake” dessert looks just like the real thing, is probably just as bad for you

An advance word of warning: this recipe seems both extremely difficult and extremely time consuming, so we’d advise you only try it if you’re a master chef or incredibly bored. Or if you need to consume a disgusting amount of calories in a short space of time.

Still, in the spirit of Halloween, this sweet cake and gelatin “Ramen Cake” masquerading almost perfectly as real ramen, is a clever, cute substitute for the usual chocolate eyeballs, brain Jell-o and other grotesqueries of the season.

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The airport that’s practically a theme park — Shop, eat, play at the New Chitose Airport!

The airport that’s practically a theme park — Shop, eat, play at the New Chitose Airport!

If you’ve ever visited the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido, there’s a good chance that you went through New Chitose Airport. Being the largest airport on the island, it serves as the gateway to Hokkaido for the numerous tourists that visit both from within and outside of Japan. Yes, when it comes to Hokkaido, we Japanese are just as enthusiastic about the beautiful snow, fresh seafood, tasty ramen, delectable sweets, relaxing hot springs and scenes of vast natural beauty as visitors from abroad.

But did you know that New Chitose Airport, which you may only briefly pass through as a traveler on a tour, could be a destination all on its own? After undergoing some expansion work in recent years between 2010 to 2012, the airport is now a seriously impressive shopping, dining and entertainment complex. Here’s a look at just some of the things you can enjoy at this airport that looks and feels like a theme park. If you thought that airports were nightmarish places where you want to spend as little time as possible, this may change your mind!

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Pitch black sesame garlic ramen at craft brewer’s restaurant stirs our hearts while filling our bellies

Pitch black sesame garlic ramen at craft brewer’s restaurant stirs our hearts while filling our bellies

When dining out in Japan, there is a commonly accepted truism that you get the tastiest example of a particular type of food by eating it in a restaurant that specializes in it. For example, if you want good ramen, you go to a place that serves that and little, if anything, else.

Speaking of Japan’s favorite noodle dish, popular wisdom also holds that the dingier the ramen restaurant, the better-tasting the food.

So imagine our surprise when we discovered that the Yona Yona Beer Kitchen, a classy restaurant with a full menu in Tokyo’s swanky Nagata-cho neighborhood, can also whip up a bowl of ramen that’s as delicious as it is visually striking.

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Man making ramen in Speedo while gaming suddenly receives 20 rockets to the groin

Man making ramen in Speedo while gaming suddenly receives 20 rockets to the groin

It’s a scene all too familiar to many of us: You’re sitting at home playing some video games when you begin to get sweaty from the strenuous button mashing. Like anyone would, you change into a pair of Speedos to cool down a bit. Then, feeling a little peckish after some more gaming, you decide to cook up some ramen.

Stop!!! Little do you know these seemingly innocent actions are a recipe for getting 20 rockets fired at your private parts. This painful lesson was learnt by Mr. Ye of New Taipei, Taiwan on 1 October.

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We try Cheesecake Kimchi Natto Ramen with a conspicuous moe character on the box

We try Cheesecake Kimchi Natto Ramen with a conspicuous moe character on the box

While traveling in Iwate Prefecture recently, one of our reporters stumbled across a brightly decorated pack of instant ramen. Although first drawn by the buxom moe character on the front, it was the name – Rare Cheese Kimchi Natto Ramen – that made this a must-buy.

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This smartphone stand looks like ramen, but costs a lot more than a real bowl of noodles

This smartphone stand looks like ramen, but costs a lot more than a real bowl of noodles

Hamee has done it again! First, they managed to create an egg on toast smartphone case that’s so realistic you might accidentally take a bite. Now the quirky company has just released a bowl of ramen that will hold your iPhone for you.

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New York-style Japanese ramen! We try Totto Ramen in Midtown Manhattan

New York-style Japanese ramen! We try Totto Ramen in Midtown Manhattan

So, you’re a loyal RocketNews24 reader. You’ve seen us posting about ramen, possibly the greatest food ever, and always wanted a nice big bowl of your own to scarf down. But an international flight to Japan is both expensive and exhausting, so it’s remained little more than a dream for you. You lie awake at night, tossing and turning, as thoughts of hot noodles, thick, delicious broth, and perfectly sliced pork dash through your head. Well, now you can finally put an end to your torture! If you live in New York that is. Otherwise, you’ll have to keep saving for that flight.

A few months back, one of our esteemed Japanese writers found himself in New York and decided to check out one of the city’s finest ramen shops: Totto Ramen. Here’s his thoughts on the Japanese restaurant! Does it measure up??

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Love Nissin’s Chicken Ramen? The Yokohama Grand Intercontinental Hotel has a room just for you!

Love Nissin’s Chicken Ramen? The Yokohama Grand Intercontinental Hotel has a room just for you!

Teaming up in a collaborative effort for the first time, the Yokohama Grand Intercontinental Hotel and the nearby Nissin Cup Noodles Museum have created two Chicken Ramen-themed rooms for connoisseurs who just can’t get enough of those tantalizingly delicious instant noodles and their irritating lovable chicken mascot Hiyoko.

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We learn the terrifying secret of Silent Hill ramen

We learn the terrifying secret of Silent Hill ramen

Since 1999, Konami’s Silent Hill horror series has been spooking gamers with its mysterious, reality-bending setting and plotlines, not to mention its collection of grotesque, otherworldly creatures like the appropriately-named Pyramid Head, a giant with a large, triangular head who stalks the game’s protagonist while carrying an enormous blade.

Konami has recently formed a partnership with a number of ramen restaurants across Japan to serve Silent Hill ramen. But just what exactly happens when you use a horror story that’s dripping with gore as the inspiration for food? We headed to Hajime, a Tokyo restaurant that offers the terrifying noodles, to find out.

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Gut-busting 6kg ramen destroys stomachs, self-esteem

Gut-busting 6kg ramen destroys stomachs, self-esteem

There’s a ramen noodle shop in Akasaka, Tokyo, appropriately called Akasaka Ramen, that’s been around for ages. One of the reasons it has lasted so long is a menu item that gets a lot of press: the Jumbo Spare Rib Challenge. If you can polish off this bathtub-sized bowl of ramen in 20 minutes or less, you will get 10,000 yen (about $100), and probably a stomachache.

Think you’ve got the guts to get the glory? Well, you probably don’t.

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We try “snow viewing” ramen

We try “snow viewing” ramen

There have been plenty of largely portioned bowls of ramen with so much stuff piled on top that you can’t see the noodles beneath. But this one is probably the weirdest mountain-like ramen we’ve ever seen. It appears to be topped with white foam and is closer to looking like a snowy mountain peak than a steaming hot bowl of soup.

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To live and dine in L.A.: we find marshmallow ramen in the City of Angels

To live and dine in L.A.: we find marshmallow ramen in the City of Angels

Among the extensive pantheon of ramen varieties is tsukemen, in which the noodles are served on a dish with a bowl of dipping sauce on the side. My first experience with the dish was in college, when a buddy took me to a tsukemen place that had opened up near our campus in Tokyo that was famous for their sauce made with fish stock. At the time it seemed like a wildly exotic concoction, but little did I know that years later my hometown of Los Angeles would produce an even more outlandish version of the dish: marshmallow ramen.

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