We all know and love ramen. It’s one of the most famous representatives of Japanese cuisines, and ever-present in every corner of the country. Perhaps you have a favorite broth, like tonkotsu (pork) or shoyu (soy sauce). It’s the classic soup stocks and standard toppings from soft boiled eggs to chashu pork that make ramen the recognizable dish it is.
Some ramen restaurants in Tokyo though, are determined to stand out with their peculiar flavors. From pineapples to lemons to blue soup, you’ll want to take a trip around the city to explore the many different faces of ramen here.
This might be the most striking bowl of noodles you’ll ever in Japan. The soup in this peculiar ramen immediately stands out with its vivid blue color, not at all the usual shade of broth. It may sound odd, but the dish itself is surprisingly beautiful. Ramen restaurant Kipposhi has made waves with their unique “Clear Chicken Soup Blue”, where the blue color of the clear both goes so far as to tinge the noodles blue. No coloring or additives are involved, so you can be assured that the color is a natural result of a special technique known only to the cooks. The dish also serves tender chicken meat with the noodles instead of the usual pork, creating a refreshing yet hearty bowl of ramen.
Tomato isn’t just something you turn into juice for breakfast! In several ramen restaurants in Tokyo you can get the tart flavor and juiciness in your bowl of noodles for a rich combination of flavors. These places claim that tomato ramen comes packed with nutrition and health benefits, perhaps to make you feel a little better about downing a whole bowl of it. It has recently been growing into a phenomenon among Japan cuisine, so it seems like it can only get even more popular and tastier from here. Taiyo no Tomatomen Next is a chain that consists of almost 30 branches from Tokyo to Kansai, all of them serving this bold new dish.
Taiyo no Tomatomen (太陽のトマト麺Next)
We thought putting pineapple on pizza was novel enough. What about pineapple in ramen? Papapapapine specializes in this curious concoction—they serve pineapple ramen and arrange it with a variety broths and toppings, giving customers all the pineapple they could ever want. With all that bright yellow color, the shop is cheerfully lit up and unapologetic about their bizarre menu. “We love pineapple and ramen, so why not pineapple in ramen?” Why not, indeed. They even have pineapple wine on the menu, so you can finish of your meal with a shot of tangy pleasure.
Ayu fish ramen
Chashu pork is usually the meat of choice in ramen, and it’s hard to find a bowl that doesn’t have the typical slices of braised pork belly. At this restaurant in Futako-Tamagawa though, they go against the current with their distinctive topping of ayu (sweetfish). The fish is laid right across the bowl, taking up a significant amount of space and attention with its size. Grilled right in front of you, it’s crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. It’s simple, but this satisfying bowl of ramen will fill you up nicely.
Ayu Ramen (鮎ラーメン)
Pie crust ramen
If you’ve ever had pot pie, you might recall the pleasure of breaking into that buttery crust over your bowl and revealing the delicious treasure below. Now you can do that with ramen! On first sight, this dish looks nothing like the ramen you know. It comes with a formidable dome of flaky pie crust, and only after you cut into it do you discover the tantalizing broth inside. This is for you to dip your noodles in tsukemen-style, which come separately on the side. The rich fragrance of the crust complements the sharp flavor of the tsukemen, making it an unforgettable gourmet experience.
The truth is that ramen is not a light dish. It is meant to be heavy soul food, and can pack a punch with its richness. However there are many ways to tweak this according to your own tastes, and one of them is this special lemon ramen. There are actually lemon slices in there, adorning the noodles like lily pads on a pond. The lemons add a refreshing tinge of sourness to the otherwise salty broth, adding an extra flavor to the ramen. Although this is certainly unusual by common standards, the lemon ramen is the number one bestseller at ramen restaurant Kotoboki in Ikebukuro.
Even when it comes to the most well-known dish of Japan, they will always find ways to give it new life through creative methods and presentation. You’ll never get bored with eating the same thing, since all these different dishes have their own distinctive and individual personalities that cater to everyone and everyone. Which of these unique ramen bowls would you be up to try?
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