There’s gold on them thar noodles!

One of the best things about going out to eat ramen, as opposed to just boiling some instant noodles at home, is the toppings. Extras like succulent chashu pork slices, crisp nori seaweed, and crunchy bean sprouts pay a big role in elevating ramen from a simple belly-filler for people too lazy to cook to a restaurant-quality meal.

So when we found out that ramen chain Zundoya is offering an extremely rare, incredibly special topping, our dinner plans were set. And just what is that topping?


As of August 1, Zundoya is offering gold leaf as a topping, which can be added to any type of ramen on its menu. So we walked in to the restaurant, took a seat, and asked for a bowl of the house specialty tonkotsu (pork stock) ramen with the precious-ingredient add-on.

▼ Zundoya’s standard tonkotsu ramen

The gold topping comes in the form of gold leaf, which is something you’ll occasionally find added to fancy desserts and sake varieties in Japan. This is the first time we’ve ever seen it used for ramen, though, and in order to deliver the maximum in decadent spectacle, Zundoya lets you add the gold leaf yourself, bringing you your ramen first, and then an entire container of gold leaf flakes.

After taking a moment to appreciate the sense of monetary might that comes from holding so much gold in our hand, we turned the bottle over and started sprinkling gold into our ramen.

The flakes are thin and light enough that they’ll float on the surface of the broth, and they’ll also cling to the noodles themselves.

Adding so much gold makes the ramen look incredible, and turns it into something you’ll definitely want to photograph in order to reminisce about afterwards. However, if you’ve never eaten gold before, you might be surprised to find that it doesn’t really affect the flavor of the ramen very much.

That’s not really a problem, though. Zundoya’s ramen is very tasty stuff, and so being able to keep that baseline flavor intact while giving it a sparkly visual upgrade is the best f both worlds.

At an additional 5,000 yen (US$46) on top of whatever base ramen you order (most are around 1,000 yen), Zundoya’s gold topping isn’t a cheap add-on. On the plus side, though, you get to take home any gold leaf you don’t use then and there for your ramen. Even using as much as we did, we still had enough left to add to a parfait we bought ourselves on the way home for dessert.

While Zundoya has a number of locations across Japan’s main island of Honshu, the gold topping is currently available at only three branches: Shinjuku Kabukicho in Tokyo, Sanjo in Kyoto, and Shinsaibashi in Osaka.

Restaurant information
Zundoya (Shinjuku Kabukicho branch) / ずんどう屋(新宿歌舞伎町店)
Address: Tokyo-to, Shinjuku-ku, Kabukichi 2-39-3
Open 24 hours

Zundoya (Shinjuku Kabukicho branch) / ずんどう屋(新宿歌舞伎町店)
Address: Tokyo-to, Shinjuku-ku, Kabukichi 2-39-3
Open 24 hours

Zundoya (Kyoto Sanjo branch) / ずんどう屋(京都三条店)
Address: Kyoto-fu, Kyoto-shi, Nakagyo-ku, Kiyamachidori Sanjo Sagaru Higshi Iri Ishiyacho 121
Open 11 a.m.-3 a.m. (Monday-Thursday), 11 a.m.-6 a.m. (Friday-Sunday)

Zundoya (Osaka Shinsaibashi branch) / ずんどう屋(心斎橋店店)
Address: Osaka-fu, Osaka-shi, Chuo-ku, Shinsaibashisuji 1-5-7
Open 24 hours

Related: Zundoya website
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