SoraNews24 taste tests ramen like nothing we’ve ever seen before.

If you’re walking around Tokyo and spot a gigantic line stretching down the sidewalk, odds are it’s one of three things: a popular ramen restaurant, a dessert spot, or, these days, someplace to get tapioca. So what happens when you combine all three?

You get this.

That was the view our hungry field reporter P.K. Sanjun had just before 6 o’clock on a weekday evening. Even though plenty of Japanese office workers are still at their desks at that time, the quorum of this queue had all managed to free up their schedules early enough to be standing on this stretch of sidewalk in Tokyo’s Hirakawacho neighborhood.

So what was P.K. doing here? Well, he’d come to eat some noodles at Sora no Iro, a popular ramen restaurant. Ramen is consistently Japan’s least traditional noodle type, with fewer creativity-constricting conventions, and Sora no Iro is always willing to try something new, with its protein-enhanced Muscle Ramen and two different types of vegan ramen proving popular enough to earn permanent spots on its menu.

But as P.K. (the same guy who recently ate piranha ramen) waited in line, he couldn’t help but worry that maybe this time Sora no Iro was pushing the envelope just a little too far. Why? Because the new menu member he’d come to try was Choco Mint Ramen, and as startling as those first two ingredients are, they’re less than half the craziness of the full story.

Choco Mint Ramen is only offered at dinnertime, because when was the last time you heard of something so weird as eating chocolate mint noodles for lunch? But given how unorthodox Sora no Iro’s new ramen is, P.K. figured he’d have no problem getting a bowl before they ran out, and sauntered up to the restaurant shortly before its 6 p.m. opening time…only to be told that 24 people ahead of him had already put in their orders for Choco Mint Ramen!

Luckily, Sora no Iro was serving exactly 25 bowls of Choco Mint Ramen that day, so P.K. just barely slipped inside the cutoff. Immediately after he told the Sora no Iro employee managing the line what he wanted, the staff put up a written notice in the window saying “Choco Mint Ramen sold out for today.”

After about an hour in line, P.K. was finally ushered inside the restaurant and soon after, the server placed his meal in front of him. He’d already been bracing himself for a shocking visual, but Sora no Iro’s Choco Mint Ramen turned out to be even more visually shocking than he could have ever imagined.

The blue-green broth was an even more surprising shade than the blue Final Fantasy ramen we ate in Akihabara, and a perfect match for the hue Japanese foodies have come to accept as visual shorthand for “mint chocolate.” The noodles are a dark brown color, a result of the chocolate that’s kneaded into them

…and there are additional squiggles of the dark shade in the chocolate sauce that’s drizzled atop the broth. Other splashes of color come from the verdant mint leaves and bright red raspberries, and there’s also a straight-up Oreo floating in the bowl, because if you can dunk the sandwich cookies in milk, why not ramen too?

But there’s no brighter star in the Japanese dessert world right now than tapioca pearls, and so of course Sora no Iro has thought to include a ration of boba balls, though they’re clear so as not to disturb the broth’s minty looks.

Tapioca may be the hottest thing in Japanese desserts right now, but Sora no Iro’s Choco Mint Ramen is served chilled, in the hiyashi ramen style, as it’s called in Japanese. With no fear of burning his tongue, P.K. lifted up a spoonful of broth, and was surprised once again to find that despite its sugary-sweet appearance, it had a slight but noticeable saltiness too. “It really is ramen,” he said, and not just a dessert soup playing at being ramen.

Of course, there’s also an ever-present sweetness, as well as a pleasant and refreshing minty sensation keeping your taste buds company. While the unusual toppings were initially shocking, P.K. was also happy to find that the sheer variety of the sweet supporting cast gave the Choco Mint Ramen an unexpectedly complex flavor that kept it from ever getting monotonous, and before he knew it, he’d finished the entire bowl.

In all fairness, the 1,500-yen (US$14) Choco Mint Ramen scratches a very different culinary itch than the one that comes from craving soy broth, tonkotsu, or other ordinary styles of ramen. Still, P.K. was blown away by how well Sora no Iro’s vision had come together. “I can’t imagine mint chocolate ramen tasting any better than this,” he said, still amazed at how what had started out as an enigma had ended up as a miracle.

However, it’s a miracle that’s only sticking around for a short stay, as the Choco Mint Ramen is a limited-time offer, with the 50 bowls to be served on September 21 the last for the time being. Still, with the positive response it’s been getting so far, maybe some day we’ll see it become a regular fixture on the Sora no Iro menu.

Restaurant information
Sora no Ito / ソラノイロ
Tokyo-to, Chiyoda-ku, Hirakawacho 1-3-10, Blue Building Honkan basement level 1
東京都千代田区平河町1丁目3-10 ブルービル本館1B
Open 11 a.m.-3 p.m., 6 p.m.-9 p.m. (Choco Mint Ramen available only at dinner)

Photos ©SoraNews24
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