We might need some time to recover from this one.

Japanese restaurants love signage…or maybe we should call it flaggage? A lot of times they’ll stick cloth banners on the street next to their entrance to entice passersby with offers of special discounts or signature menu items.

The irony is that with so many banners in any given restaurant district, sometimes they all start to blend together. But there was one that definitely stood out during our recent walk through Tokyo’s Kanda neighborhood, which proudly declared:

“New! Taiwan Ramen Pizza!”

The first two parts weren’t shocking, seeing as how this was the Kanda Nishiguchi branch of Kaku Masayoshi Misen, a sister restaurant to Nagoya’s Taiwanese restaurant Misen, which has played a large role in popularizing spicy Taiwanese ramen among noodle fans in Japan.

▼ Misen’s ramen

The “pizza” part, however, was a puzzler. Sure enough, though, the restaurant’s ample signage included photos of no fewer than six Misen pizzas.

▼ Top row, left to right: Taiwan Ramen Pizza, Mapo Eggplant Pizza, Chicken Wing Pizza
Bottom row: Taiwan Ramen Pizza Zero (non-spicy version), Mixed Greens Pizza, Shrimp Mayo Pizza

Never ones to be intimidated by culinary innovations, or to pass up a chance to make our boss pay for our pizza, we ordered a Taiwan Ramen Pizza for 1,990 yen (US$19) and took it back to SoraNews24 headquarters for taste testing.

The noodles are added pre-baking, so they have a crispy texture and an enticing aroma. You also get the spicy simmered mincemeat that Misen uses in its noodle soups.

However, both of these ingredients end up playing more of a supporting role here. What takes center stage, and by way of shoving everything else aside with brute force, is the intense garlic flavor.

Yes, there’s garlic in Misen’s ramen, but it feels like there’s 10 bowls’ worth of the stuff on the Taiwan Ramen Pizza. While this might be too much for some people to handle, if you’re the sort of person who, for example, orders dishes with “super garlic” and the like in their name and still craves more, you’ll probably be in heaven here. You’ll probably notice that the crust of Misen’s pizza is a little lacking compared to dedicated pizzerias,’ but honestly, it’s just there to serve as a garlic delivery system, and for that purpose it does just fine.

By the way, as the outlier on the menu, pizza orders at Misen can take a long time, so you’ll want to give yourself some time between when you put in your order and when you want to eat. You’ll also want to give yourself plenty of time after eating and before you spend any time with someone who won’t appreciate the smell of garlic on your breath.

Restaurant information
Kaku Masayoshi Misen (Kanda Nishiguchi branch) / 郭政良味仙(東京神田西口店)
Address: Tokyo-to, Chiyoda-ku, Uchi Kanda 3-7-4, Kobundo Building 2nd floor
東京都千代田区内神田3-7-4 香文堂ビル 2F
Open 11 a.m.-11:30 p.m. (Monday-Saturday), 11 a.m.-10:30 p.m. (Sunday, holidays)

Photos ©SoraNews24
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