Heard of the Cronut lately? Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past six months my guess is that you have. The pastry sensation fuses together two culturally acclaimed baked goods: the French croissant and the American doughnut. Fusion bites have been all the rage as of late and perhaps after the Cronut, none more so than the audacious and now renowned east meets west fusion bite, the Ramen Burger.
The Ramen Burger was an idea first hatched by Keizo Shimamoto and debuted in the summer of 2013 at Brooklyn’s one stop food shop Smorgasburg. Like the Cronut, the Ramen Burger fuses two seemingly disparate cultural food icons into one dish. Ramen noodles traditionally used in an umami filled Japanese soup are molded into patty form and paired with a savory and iconic USDA Prime ground beef patty. To further meld together the flavors of east and west, the hamburger creation comes complete with a piece of the requisite sliced cheese is given even a touch more Japanese flair with the addition of a soy and sesame based sauce along with finely chopped scallion.
At first the Ramen Burger seemed like somewhat of a novelty; a plate to be served at only a few food fairs. However, by the end of the Shimamoto’s first Smorgasburg showing it was evident the Ramen Burger was here to stay. The line of those who wanted to try the plate wrapped around the block and the burgers promptly sold out within the hour. The line to try the Ramen Burger has continued to consume the veritable food fair for months following the burger’s initial presentation. Luckily for those who chose to get on line and wait, Shimamoto and his team have been throwing a few more of the burgers on the grill.
The burger itself is quite the interesting creation. The patty is crafted from quality meat and seasoned to salt and pepper perfection. Surprisingly, much more than pure novelty, the ramen bun is pleasingly chewy- and actually the perfect vehicle to consume a hamburger on. The cheese too was perfectly melty and in an appropriate ratio to the meat and bun. The only shortcoming I can really think of is the addition of the soy sesame sauce. I found the sauce to be slightly overwhelming, taking away from the intrinsic flavors of the ramen bun and Prime beef patty. It may be just a personal preference, but I prefer my burgers to consist of purely meat, some cheese and a bun.
Though Ramen Burger is not a burger one should eat everyday, it is something that everyone who has access to it should try at least once. More than a tasty meal, the burger and other fusion bites like it prove that sometimes two heads, or in this case cuisines, are better than one.