Ramen is perhaps the most beloved food in Japan, and certainly the most experimented on. From ice cream to frog it seems like Japanese are always enthusiastically throwing things in their ramen in the pursuit of new and exciting flavors.

There is a food stand in Yoyogi Park that has taken a different approach to ramen innovation and changed the form of ramen itself. Moreover, they chose a method of delivery that challenges instant ramen’s title of most convenient noodle dish: the hamburger.

The ramen burger swaps out the bun for grilled ramen noodles and uses simmered pork (chāshū) instead of a beef patty. Standard hamburger toppings are replaced with simmered bamboo shoots (menma), and there are a total of three sauces to choose from: miso, soy and tonkatsu.

The ramen hamburger originally hails from the city of Kitakata, Fukushima. Kitakata is something of a ramen powerhouse: with roughly 120 ramen shops for its relatively small population of 37,000 it has the highest ramen-per-person ratio in all of Japan. Furthermore, Kitakata ramen ranks in with Sapporo’s and Hakata’s as ‘Japan’s Three Famous Ramen,’ and is well known for its distinctive brand of thick, flat and springy ramen noodles.

Curious as to how this unlikely fusion tastes, we made our way to Yoyogi Park and ordered the most popular flavor: tonkatsu sauce. On first bite we noticed that the texture is much like that of Mos Burger’s rice-patty burgers, but even more springy thanks to the noodles. The flavor is surprisingly weak at first, but the tonkatsu sauce soon picks up and gives the burger a hearty, enjoyable flavor. The ramen burger is also much more filling than a regular hamburger, and may be a bit too heavy for those without a strong appetite.

We were told that they have a store on Takeshita Street in Shinjuku called Pinku no Kobuta (Pink Piglet). We recommend that anyone in the Tokyo area looking for a unique hamburger/ramen experience try it out!

Translation: Steven