Former computer programmer, Kiezo Shimamoto created the ramen burger after being inspired by a similar creation while studying the noodle in Japan.
Ramen Burger Becomes A Hit
Marilyn Hagerty told TODAY.com that the ramen burger was “a good combination of flavors with the ramen flavor and the burger… a very clever way to serve a burger. It does hold up well … it’s a tiny bit oily, you need the napkin, but I think it’s got to be the way it is to taste as good as it does. It would be something that would make it for me at lunchtime or maybe in the middle of the afternoon when you’re just about ready to eat something, at 4 o’clock.”
Shimamoto told TODAY.com that he tried a whole lotta ramen before figuring out how to make the ramen burger, "I took a trip around Japan and in 28 days, I ate 55 bowls of ramen and visited 21 different cities, and every one had a regionally different style so that really interested me and I wanted to learn more about it.”
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Burger buns have become unconventional lately. First there was the Double Down that replaced bread with fried chicken, followed by the more moderate Pretzel Burger, which sandwiched typical ingredients in between pretzel bread.
So is the sandwich world ready to accept a ramen as a burger bun?
It has even impressed 87-year-old food writer, Marilyn Hagerty, whose review of The Olive Garden became a viral sensation last year. Hagerty told TODAY.com that the ramen burger "...is a good combination of flavors with the ramen flavor and the burger… a very clever way to serve a burger. It does hold up well … it’s a tiny bit oily, you need the napkin, but I think it’s got to be the way it is to taste as good as it does. It would be something that would make it for me at lunchtime or maybe in the middle of the afternoon when you’re just about ready to eat something, at 4 o’clock." And the hundreds of New Yorkers who line up to try the ramen burger must agree. The all-beef patty is sandwiched between chewy ramen noodles as a replacement bun and the atypical burger is definitely in high demand.
Keizo Shimamoto, the mad genius behind the ramen burger, quit his job as a computer programmer to pursue the study of ramen for four years in Japan, where he discovered something similar to his current creation. Fascinated by how the dish perfectly combined his Japanese and American cultures he decided to bring it back to the U.S. and modify it. He replaced the bun with ramen and the pork with a beef patty.
Shimamoto hopes to redefine the chewy noodles as more than college dorm room food. “Most people in America think ‘Oh, college food, instant ramen, cheap,’ but real ramen is actually a little more healthy for you than instant ramen and it’s actually really good. People take good care in making it,” Shimamoto explained to TODAY.com.
Curious gourmands now flock to Brooklyn’s Smorgasburg at 7:30 am on Saturdays to line up for a taste of the ramen burger, which always sells out.
The daring culinary mash-up has definitely aroused the interest and palates of New Yorkers, which is encouraging to Shimamoto to expand his vision: “As long as we can get production up, we’d like to do other markets and collaborate with other restaurants. And possibly, in the future, open up a restaurant of our own. I’d like to open a restaurant on both coasts.”
Check out the slideshow above to learn more about the ramen burger craze.