Japanese noodle restaurant chain adds a decadent offering to its menu at select locations.

According to our Japanese-language reporter Mr Sato, now that he’s in his late 40s he can’t eat fatty foods like he used to as he wants to maintain his health. That doesn’t stop him craving a good bowl of ramen, though, and if he is going to have a cheat day every now and then, he might as well go all out with it.

Well, that’s what the devil on his shoulder told him when he saw that his favourite ramen chain Tenka Ippin was now selling Cheese Bread Ramen.

Tenka Ippin is known for its signature kotteri (heavy and flavourful) broth, which is so hearty some branches of the chain have been known to sell it on its own, in cups without noodles during winter. Mr Sato thought he might be able to order the Cheese Bread Ramen with a lighter broth to cut down on the calories, but taking a closer look at the poster for it, he found that that wouldn’t be possible.

▼ “Only available with kotteri broth.”

It was as if the devil had appeared again on his shoulder, and this time it was pushing him through the sliding doors and over to the counter before he had a chance to think twice about it. As always, Tenka Ippin doesn’t take long to serve up your order, so before he knew it, Mr Sato now had a bowl of Cheese Bread Ramen in front of him, and it would be a waste not to eat it all.

When Tenka Ippin called this Cheese Bread Ramen, they weren’t joking — there were two massive chunks of baguette poking out of the bowl, and they were both absolutely covered in grilled cheese.

As for the broth, it was as thick and decadent as Mr Sato remembered.

The noodles were thin and slightly firm, just as he liked them, and when he slurped up a good mouthful, he remembered to slurp extra hard, in order to get the heavy broth through them.

▼ Slurping hard to get the swamp-like broth into your mouth is the way of eating at Tenka Ippin.

The bread had been sitting in the bowl long enough to soak up a nice amount of broth, and when he lifted one of them, it felt extra heavy. Quickly popping the wet end into his mouth, Mr Sato felt the rich taste of broth wash over his taste buds, followed by a rush of rich Grana Padano cheese.

▼ It tasted fantastic, but Mr Sato decided to add a dollop of spicy miso on top for extra flavour.

Even better! The taste of cheese was knocked to the side by the flavourful broth, but the spicy miso helped to enhance the cheese, creating a more well-rounded flavour. There was no denying this was a heavy meal, though, and the cheese bread only made it heavier.

As he finished off his last slice of thick-cut cheesy bread, Mr Sato added a splash of vinegar to it, and it worked a treat to lighten the heavy feeling on his palate from all the food. Mr Sato recommends giving this a try if you’re a fellow 40-something-year-old diner struggling to finish the Cheese Bread Ramen, which is something a ravenous 20-something Mr Sato could never have imagined himself saying in the years of yore.

If you have a belly with a bottomless appetite for ramen, then the Cheese Bread Ramen is definitely for you. It’s only available at a limited number of stores in the Kanto region, listed here, where you’ll find it on the menu for 1,100 yen (US$7.94).

Restaurant information
Tenka Ippin (Ikebukuro West Exit branch) / 天下一品 池袋西口店
Address: Tokyo-to, Toshima-ku, Ikebukuronishi 1-34-4 Kyoei Bldg
東京都豊島区西池袋1-34-4 共栄ビル
Open 11 a.m.-3 a.m.

Reference: Tenkaippin
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