”Do we want ramen or fried food?” we asked ourselves, and the answer was “Both, obviously.”

The economic principle that people have unlimited wants but limited resources is one of the most important, influential truths in life. For example, at lunch we wanted ramen, and we also wanted fried food. However, the finite capacity of our stomachs meant we would have to choose one or the other, right?

But actually, this time there was a way to have both, and no, it didn’t require us talking our boss into letting us take two lunch breaks. Instead, we simply walked over to our local branch of Katsuya, a casual Japanese restaurant chain, and ordered a plate of ramen croquettes.

▼ Katsuya

Katsuya only announced this new menu item a few days ago, but ever since we heard about it, it’d been dominating our waking thoughts (and our dreams too, if we’re being honest). Since Katsuya ordinarily specializes in tonkatsu (deep-fried pork cutlets), it partnered up with Korakuen, a popular ramen chain, to create the ramen croquettes, and between the two of them we figured we were in for a tasty treat.

▼ The Ramen Croquette and Cutlet Set Meal includes two ramen croquettes, seen in the middle and on the right side of the plate.

Well, we were pretty sure we were in for a tasty treat. As far as we know, no one else has ever made ramen croquettes, and so there was the possibility that Katsuya’s chefs had become a culinary Icarus, flying too close to the sun in their quest for glory and instead producing an awful mess of a meal. Still, we bravely took up our chopsticks in order to face the fear/stuff our face.

Splitting one of the croquettes open, we confirmed that there are no noodles inside, which we guess makes sense. Deep-frying ramen noodles makes them invasively brittle, and while they’re OK for a snack (or ice cream topping), they’d definitely mess with the texture of a proper croquette, which should be crisp on the outside, but invitingly soft on the inside.

Instead, the ramen croquettes are filled with mashed potato, negi (green onion), and menma (fermented bamboo shoots), the latter two some of the most popular ramen toppings. The seasoning is a mix of soy sauce and strong pepper notes that tastes like the broth from a bowl of soy-broth ramen, and the combined flavor tastes great! They’re also bold enough that the ramen croquettes can be enjoyed without pouring any additional sauces on them, though that option is available with the condiments Katsuya provides each table with.

Surprisingly, the ramen croquette set also comes with a regular pork cutlet. This might have been a decision Katsuya made to hedge their bets and reassure people who are intimidated by the idea of ramen croquettes that the meal also contains a purely traditional entree too, but in the end, those fears were unnecessary, since the ramen croquettes are perfectly satisfying.

Still, more fried food is always something to be thankful for, and in this case, pouring a little sauce on the cutlet makes it even better.

For just 690 yen (US$6.40), the Ramen Croquette and Cutlet Set Meal is also a pretty amazing value, and definitely an opportunity for an all-new eating experience that’s worth taking advantage of.

Related: Katsuya location finder
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Follow Casey on Twitter, where he’s partial to niku jaga croquettes.

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