The Top 7 Weird and Wonderful Ramen to Try in Tokyo!
It is no secret that the Japanese people love to eat out, and as a local favorite, ramen shops can be found everywhere in Tokyo. With so much competition, it's no wonder that some chefs have chosen to harness unusual flavors in an attempt to attract customers. Their battle for business makes us the winner with plenty of weird and wonderful ramen to enjoy! Here are 7 weird types of ramen you must try in Tokyo!
Mar 30 2020 (Jun 25 2021)
What Is Ramen?
For the uninitiated, ramen is a noodle dish that comes with a rich meat-based or fish-based broth. Toppings like chashu pork (braised pork belly), boiled eggs, spring onions, and nori seaweed all add a delicious umami boost to the dish.
Ramen is considered a comfort food by many Japanese people, and it's worth noticing how different regions of Japan make use of their local ingredients and seasonings in their cooking. For instance, Hokkaido locals swear by miso ramen, whereas people in the Kyushu area gravitate more towards tonkotsu (pork broth) ramen.
Since ramen restaurants are a dime a dozen, some chefs have come up with novel flavors in order to make their ramen stand out from the crowd. If you're a ramen fan visiting Tokyo, you're sure to have a blast trying out these seven weird flavors!
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1. Matcha Ramen
When you're in Tokyo, why not try a ramen dish that marries two of the best-loved flavors in Japanese cuisine? If this stirs your curiosity (and appetite!), look no further than the matcha (green tea) ramen offered by Mensho San Francisco.
This ramen is unique because the chef, Tomoharu Shono, shuns conventional broth flavors like miso, shio (salt), soy sauce, and tonkotsu in favor of a chicken-based broth. An added dash of matcha tea brings out the flavors and turns the ramen an eye-catching, mouthwatering green. Remember to get a picture for Instagram before you dig into this wholesome dish! One bowl of matcha ramen costs 980 yen.
2. Coffee Ramen
Calling all coffee connoisseurs! Like matcha, coffee is another local favorite flavor that has been turned into a splendid bowl of ramen in Tokyo. Serving this dish is Aroma, a charming kissaten (traditional Japanese cafe) tucked away in a relatively quiet part of Tokyo. Not only does its atmospheric vibe set you at ease, its creatively arranged bowl of coffee ramen will put a smile on your face.
Here, the ramen is a visual feast with its slices of boiled egg, kamaboko (steamed fish cake), banana, salami and even ice cream arranged into a smiling face. Both the noodles and broth are made with coffee, lending the dish an aromatic depth. Feel the ice cream gloriously melt in your mouth and marvel at how this creation chases away Tokyo's notorious heat (as well as your blues).
A delicious bowl of coffee ramen will set you back just 600 yen!
3. Blue Ramen
After green matcha ramen and brown-toned coffee ramen, our next weird ramen in Tokyo is blue! Although blue dishes are pretty rare in the food world, the blue ramen served by Kipposhi evokes such a calming vibe you'll likely put aside your inhibitions and devour it gladly.
The chef at Kipposhi wanted to create something that would remind his customers of the Hawaiian sea, so he infused the broth with a natural pigment called blue spirulina. Blue spirulina is said to contain anti-aging and anti-oxidant properties, so this blue ramen isn't just Instagram-worthy, it's healthy too!
Kipposhi's blue ramen comes with several pieces of tender chicken, fresh vegetables, and a yummy boiled egg. One bowl at Kipposhi will cost you 900 yen
4. Pineapple Ramen
Just like the banana used in Aroma's coffee ramen, Papapapapine has found a way to use fruit in its dish! You may not think pineapple and noodles would go well together, but the expert chefs at Papapapapine have found a way.
Their culinary creation doesn't just stop at a few chunks of pineapple. Here they go the extra mile to really harness the sweet, tart flavor of pineapple. Not only is the ramen cooked with a little pineapple juice, but the soft-boiled egg is also soaked in pineapple juice, too.
This pineapple ramen also contains chashu pork and nori. The refreshing, tropical taste of pineapple contrasts nicely with the rest of the salty and savory dish, gving it a delightful depth of flavor. A bowl of this pineapple ramen costs a reasonable 750 yen.
5. Lemon Ramen
Curious to see what other fruits pair well with ramen? Japan's climate means it's home to some fantastic citrus growing areas. Offered by Rinsuzu Shokudo, this lemon ramen grabs your attention with its full layer of lemon slices, under which you'll find a lightly flavored chicken-based broth. You'll relish how the lemon infuses the noodles with a sour zing.
If you're looking to fill up on something more substantial, try Rinsuzu Shokudo's killer chicken tempura. It goes perfectly with the ramen's fresh lemon kick! Just be mindful not to leave the slices of lemon for too long in the bowl, or else the broth can turn a tad bitter. A tasty bowl of this lemon ramen costs 650 yen.
6. Pie Ramen
Many of Tokyo's ramen chefs also look to an unconventional presentation to distinguish themselves from the competition. A great example is pie ramen offered by Uma Tsukemen. Rather than serve its ramen in a piping hot bowl of broth, Uma Tsukemen opts for visual impact with a dome-shaped pie and a bowl of noodles. Have fun poking open the pie and dipping the noodles into the delicious broth inside.
The broth comes in a choice of four flavors: pork broth, shrimp, curry and miso. Once you finish eating the noodles, you can enjoy eating the crispy pie that has absorbed the flavors of the broth. Uma Tsukemen's pie ramen is sold at 1,380 yen.
7. Natto Ramen
Natto, or Japanese fermented soybeans, is definitely a food that polarizes people: either you love it or loathe it! This is exactly why adventurous foodies should not turn up the chance to try natto ramen by heading to Ramen Horiuchi..
Natto is known for having an strong smell, but Ramen Horiuchi's natto ramen comes with a runny egg that mellows it out. The egg and natto mix together to form a yellow layer that really whets the appetite.
This natto ramen comes in in two versions, hot or cold, so you can pick the one that best suits the weather. Either way, the shoyu (soy sauce) based soup and egg-natto mixture form a great combination. This natto ramen is sold at 790 yen.
Explore Ramen in Tokyo!
Salivating after reading this article? If you're looking forward to exploring Tokyo's awesome ramen restaurants, you might want to check out our roundups of the for best 12 Vegan Ramen Restaurants in Tokyo and the 7 Top Ramen Restaurants in Shinjuku. We're sure you'll find your new favorite ramen joint in Tokyo!
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The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.