Think that chocolate and ramen don’t go well together? Think again!

You might have thought that with his long history of food challenges during his tenure as a reporter at SoraNews24, there’d be no food P.K. Sanjun wouldn’t be able to polish off, and for the most part you’d be correct. Which is why, when we sent him to taste-test some chocolate ramen, we were pretty surprised at his initial reaction, which was less than thrilled.

Released just in time for Valentine’s Day, the Chocolate Ramen and White Chocolate Ramen is back again at ramen chain Korakuen. Like in previous years, the restaurant has teamed up with snack manufacturers Lotte, and specifically with Sasha, a popular sweet treat with layers of white and milk chocolate weaved together to make a bar.

For P.K., the idea of eating chocolate with ramen was simply inconceivable. Chocolate ramen is far from a Korakuen exclusive, and especially around Valentine’s Day it can be found in other chains too, but P.K. just can’t imagine a food combination more ill suited for each other. Chocolate? Good. Ramen? Good. Together? Bleurgh!

But Korakuen’s chocolate ramen got the two thumbs up from P.K’s co-worker Mr. Sato in the past, so P.K. knew that despite his reservations, it wouldn’t be completely inedible, at the very least. Add to that the fact that Korakuen have sold this chocolate ramen for three years straight, there had to be something tasty about it. So, trying to keep an open mind, P.K. headed on out to his nearest branch of Korakuen.

Like in previous years, anyone who orders chocolate ramen can receive some special Bikkuriman stickers. Unfortunately, P.K. didn’t get there quick enough to get the super rare Pink Zeus card, but he did get a Head Kororo sticker, and Super Devil sticker. Bearing in mind he arrived at the restaurant just 30 minutes after it had opened for the day, there must be some die-hard Bikkuriman fans out and about with bellies full of chocolate ramen.

But P.K. hadn’t come to Korakuen for stickers, and soon a plate of piping hot Chocolate Ramen had arrived at the table….

▼ …followed by the White Chocolate Ramen soon after.

Both bowls could easily be seen as normal flavours of ramen — the Chocolate Ramen could be a thick, soy sauce-broth dish, whereas the White Chocolate looked the spitting image of tonkotsu ramen.

But the overpowering aroma of chocolate wafting its way to P.K’s nose was a dead giveaway. He began to experience a weird feeling of disconnect; the bowls in front of him were unmistakably ramen, but if he closed his eyes and relied on his sense of smell, it was 100-percent chocolate. Everything in his body was screaming that something was very, very wrong here.

But as he braced himself and gingerly took a bite of the Chocolate Ramen noodles, P.K. was shocked to find that they didn’t taste chocolate-y at all, and just tasted like a regular bowl of ramen.

Even though both bowls of ramen featured ‘chocolate’ in their name, the ramen broth was actually just Korakuen’s regular soy ramen and shio (salt) broths, with the addition of cacao oil and white cacao oil, to give it a chocolate-y aroma. But it tasted like a perfectly normal bowl of ramen without any added sweetness, albeit with a faint aroma of chocolate every now and again.

The bowls each came with a stick of Sasha as a topping, but P.K. recommends just taking this home to eat later. There was no benefit to adding it on top, and it took the meal from ‘a delicious bowl of ramen with cacao oil in the broth’ to ‘a bowl of ramen with a random bit of chocolate in it’.

But still, P.K. was pleasantly surprised with how good the bowl of Chocolate Ramen turned out to be, and recommends everyone give it a go — not because it tastes mind-blowingly delicious, but because despite its intimidating aroma, it tastes surprisingly normal once you start eating it.

Both bowls are 650 yen (US$4.87) and will be available from February 14 until March 31. They’re available at 342 Korakuen restaurants across Japan, but if there isn’t one near you, you can have a go at making your own chocolate your own peril, of course.

Related: Korakuen location list
Images © SoraNews24
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