We love Yukimi Daifuku ice creams, but will we love them when they’re wrapped in pork and floating in a hot, salty broth?

Whenever we want to find new ways to enjoy ramen, we can always rely on Japanese chain Kourakuen to challenge our preconceptions.

In the past, they’ve wowed us with chocolate noodles and even a ramen waiter robot, and now they’re blowing our minds again, this time with a couple of dishes that add mochi ice creams to the mix.

▼ Kourakuen

Mochi ice creams are balls of ice cream wrapped in a thin layer of mochi sticky rice, and for one special dish at Kourakuen for a limited time, the frozen morsels have been wrapped again…in slices of char siu roast pork.

The unusual treat is part of a tie-up with Lotte’s beloved Yukimi Daifuku brand of mochi ice creams, to celebrate the upcoming 67th anniversary of the founding of Kourakuen on 22 September.

The “founding festival” kicked off on 2 September, and you can bet our ramen pro Mr Sato was there on the scene to check the Yukimi Daifuku collaboration menu out as soon as it started.

▼ Sure enough, when Mr Sato arrived at his local branch of Kourakuen, the unusual dishes were there on the menu waiting for him.

Upon seeing the menu, the first thing that went through his mind was, “Is wrapping Yukimi Daifuku with char siu really the best way to express gratitude to customers?” Ramen purists might scoff at such a dish, but Kourakuen knows their customers have adventurous tastes, so a meat-wrapped Yukimi Daifuku is really the perfect way to give thanks to their loyal fans. 

Mr Sato wasted no time in ordering the “Yukimi Daifuku Meets Char Siu Premium” from the menu, and when it arrived it looked even better than he expected.

▼ Mmmmm…meaty mochi ice cream…

Not only did these look good, they also promised to deliver a good hit of flavour, as each one had been covered in a dollop of caramel sauce.

Picking one up with chopsticks, Mr Sato couldn’t help but feel as if he was about to bite into a quail egg wrapped in meat. It looked like an egg, and its soft plumpness made it feel like one too, so he had to remind himself that this was actually ice cream.

▼ To be totally correct, this was ice cream + meat + caramel sauce.

The morsel was super soft to bite through, and even more surprisingly, it was delicious! The soft texture of the meat was a perfect match for the ice cream, and although he initially thought the ingredients might clash with each other, it was a blissfully harmonious combination, with the caramel sauce blending superbly well with the taste of the meat.

Just as he pondered contacting the company to request they make this a mainstay on the menu, his next dish, the “Yukimi Daifuku Meets Shio Ramen” arrived on the table.

This ramen comes with the ice cream on the side, so diners can control how much mochi ice cream they add to their noodles. Mr Sato, of course, dove right in, adding them both to the steaming hot salt broth, where their colours were a perfect match for the bowl.

The heat of the broth gradually melted the fine mochi skins, leading them to spill their creamy contents into the bowl.

Unfortunately, the taste of this dish wasn’t as impactful as it looked, as the ice cream melted away and was slightly overpowered by the broth, creating a fairly mild salt ramen. Still, the fun of adding mochi ice cream to ramen was a treat he’d never experienced before, and it’s one he might try again at home, only with a few more of the frozen morsels to add even more creamy flavour to the dish.

If you’d like to get a taste of noodles and pork with mochi ice cream, which retail for 540 yen (US$4.92) and 380 yen respectively, the Yukimi Daifuku collaboration meals will be on the menu at Kourakuen branches around Japan until 15 September.

And if you’d like to try another novel way to enjoy mochi ice creams, you can always add them to a slice of cheese toast, for a “forbidden” level of tenderness.

Related: Kourakuen location list
Images: ©SoraNews24
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