For when you’re not quite in the mood for just noodles.

Ringer Hut is a Japanese chain restaurant that’s popular for its Nagasaki-style chanpon, a Chinese-inspired dish packed with veggies and noodles, as well as other noodle-based dishes. It has branches all over Japan, but one particular spot in Tokyo’s Shinjuku neighborhood offers something extra-special.

▼ Here’s what a typical Ringer Hut looks like.

At this branch, our reporter Mr. Sato discovered they sell something totally unrelated to noodles: koppepan, a light and soft bread that can be thought of as Japan’s version of a hot dog bun.

▼ These are koppepan from Family Mart (left), Seven Eleven (center), and Lawson (right).

Curious as to why a place popular for its noodles would venture into the koppepan market, Mr. Sato went to investigate at the Ringer Hut branch located in Shinjuku Toho building, which happens to be near the SoraNews24 office.

▼ If you see this takeout counter, you’ll know you’re at the right one.

It’s part of a takeout-only menu named Mogu Veggie Koppe, and it has four varieties of Ringer Hut-original koppepan: Chanpon Koppe (300 yen [US$2.09]), Yakisoba Koppe (350 yen), Chapolitan Koppe (350 yen), and Mapo Eggplant Koppe (350 yen). To get the full experience, Mr. Sato ordered one of each.

▼ From left to right: Chanpon Koppe, Yakisoba Koppe, Chapolitan Koppe, and Mapo Eggplant Koppe.

The first one Mr. Sato tried was the Chanpon Koppe.

It was absolutely stuffed with veggies. Despite it having “chanpon” in the name, there were no noodles. “Chanpon” simply referred to the mix of the veggies, soup base, and mayonnaise typically used to make chanpon noodles.

▼ Mr. Sato thought there should be noodles, but alas.

He changed his mind when he took a bite, however. The veggies and the sauce went just as well with the soft and light bread as it did with the typical thick noodles. A+, Ringer Hut!

Next, he tried the Yakisoba Koppe

…which, thankfully, did have noodles, and it also used the same veggies as the Chanpon Koppe. It turned out that the chanpon mix worked perfectly with the sweet and spicy yakisoba sauce. “Forgive me for doubting you, Ringer Hut!” Mr. Sato thought.

He moved on to the Chapolitan Koppe.

Chapolitan is a mix of chanpon veggies and Napolitan-style noodles–a sauce typically used in Japan for pasta that has a base of ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, and butter. It’s sweet and a bit sour, and that tartness brought out the sweetness of the chanpon veggies, Mr. Sato found. Another victory for Ringer Hut.

Finally, it was time for the Mapo Eggplant Koppe.

This is the only Mogu Veggie Koppe menu item that doesn’t have the chanpon veggie mix inside. Instead, it had eggplant with minced meat vegetables, mixed in a Sichuan-style mapo sauce. It was very aromatic. Mr. Sato thought it would taste better with rice than bread, but he was still satisfied.

Those are the four Mogu Veggie Koppe menu items that are only available at just one Ringer Hut branch in all of Japan. Mr. Sato thinks they’re a hit and should be sold at just more than one store. Which one would you try? They’re open until late most nights, so consider paying a visit if you’re in Shinjuku!

Restaurant information
Ringer Hut Shinjuku Toho Building Branch | リンガーハット新宿東宝ビル店
Address: Tokyo-to, Shinjuku-ku, Kabukicho 1-19-1
Open 10:30 a.m. – 10:30 p.m. (last order 10 p.m.), Fridays and Saturdays 10:30 a.m. – 4 a.m. next day (last order 3:30 a.m.)

Images ©SoraNews24
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