The world’s most venturesome ramen shop, Musashi Noodles, fearlessly created a cold ramen dish with soy milk soup and rayu, or chili oil, ice cream.  Musashi Noodles is a Japanese noodle shop franchise.  Their Shinjuku branch held a Valentines special promotion back in February featuring Unique Chocolate Ramen.

Summer in Japan is when ramen shops do a booming business in cold noodle dishes like  hiyashi chuka.   This new creation dubbed ‘tonyu hiyashi men’ or soy milk cold noodles, is available for a limited time only.  Notice the  scoop of red rayu ice cream floating in the white soy milk soup.  A timely creation, full of national pride for all those medals won in the Olympics!   But what about the taste?  One of our reporters went to check it out.

Musashi Noodles can be found on a five-minute walk from Shinjuku station in an area away from the crowded shops.  That doesn’t keep it from being filled with customers at its 11:00 opening time.  Musashi Noodles are popular eateries.  Shops in Ikebukuro, Shibuya, and Ueno also have no trouble drumming up business.

Tonyu hiyashi men is available on limited offer from July 17th to August 31st.   The imagery is spot on with the rising red sun, a scoop of ice cream made from tomatoes and rayu floating in the middle of a sea of snow-white soymilk.  The bowl is even rectangular so that there is no doubt what this dish represents.  The ice cream and cold soup should be soothing in the worst of summer heat, but quite honestly the taste is worrisome.

Soup can make or break a bowl of ramen. On tasting this soy milky soup it was found to be surprisingly sweet.  It must be the natural sweetness of the soy beans, something that you wouldn’t notice when drinking standard soy milk, but in a soup for a meal the sweetness stands out.  The ice cream, on the other hand turned out to be excruciatingly spicy hot.  The punch from the rayu spreads through your mouth making it feel like it is on fire.  It may be wise to take this ice cream in small doses or you could hurt yourself!

Maybe you are supposed to blend the soup and ice cream together so that one even outs the other?  This could be the way to get through this bowl of ramen!  Our reporter found that even in mixing the two, they didn’t truly combine, which could be a matter of personal taste.  Although the two tastes were expected to blend together, the spicy hot and the sweet ended up in a duel for the taste buds.  The two tastes just didn’t fuse properly, maybe it would be like poring rayu into plain cows’ milk and drinking it.

But this meal wasn’t a total loss!  The other ingredients lived up to the expectations of a good meal.  The noodles are  flat and wide shaped in comparison to the usual skinnier ramen noodle.  They had substance to them making them enjoyably chewy.   The thinly sliced chicken breast meat was very tender and juicy, countering the image of dry tough chicken breasts.  These ingredients were actually very impressive.

All in all, there is meaning in a ramen  taking on the shape of the Japanese flag during this Olympic year.  Regardless of the taste, tonyu hiyashi men’s main attraction consists of the hot spicy rayu, burning heedlessly, without regrets.  That may well be the point of this ramen.

Salute to the tonyu hiyashi men!

The flat wide noodles

The tomato based rayu ice cream

Too spicy for big bites!

The Shinjuku Musashi Noodle shop

Shop Info: Musashi Noodles Shinjuku Shop

 East Shinjuku 7-2-6, K-1 building 1st floor,   Shinjuku Ward , Tokyo

Hours: 11:00 to 22:30

Open all year round

[ Read in Japanese ]