Menya Musashi’s crazy new take on ramen actually makes it taste like a different famous dish.

Menya Musashi is a long-established ramen chain founded in 1996 with 14 stores in Tokyo, and every year since 2009, they’ve been releasing unusual chocolate-enhanced ramen dishes at select locations in collaboration with confectionery brand Lotte for Valentine’s Day.

▼ Back in 2012, for example, they released a miso ramen with Ghana chocolate in the middle.

This year, our reporter Mr Sato missed the limited-edition Valentine’s Day ramen at Menya Musashi, but this turned out to be a blessing in disguise, as he was able to save those calories for a new surprise offering that appeared at the Menya Musashi Niten branch in Ikebukuro from 19 February.

Unlike the Valentine’s Day ramen, which focuses on chocolate, this new offering adds ice cream to the mix instead, specifically Lotte’s Yukimi Daifuku, a hugely popular ice cream that comes encased in a thin layer of mochi sticky rice.

▼ Yukimi Daifuku

Image: PR Times

The collaboration ramen, known as Agemi Daifuku Ramen (“Fried Daifuku Ramen”), is proudly displayed on a poster outside the restaurant, where it’s noted that only 15 servings of this dish are available per day.

Mr Sato made sure to arrive early to secure one of the 15 meals, and when he ordered it, he requested a bowl of rice as well, which is provided only to customers who request it, as part of the company’s “chokitto rice service” (“little bit of rice service”).

▼ The Agemi Daifuku Ramen is priced at 1,200 yen (US$8.01), with the rice provided for free to those who want it.

The rice on the side is designed to be eaten with any leftover broth after eating the noodles, but Mr Sato hardly glanced at it because all his attention was firmly set upon the glistening bowl of ramen in front of him.

▼ The chicken-based broth was sprinkled with black pepper and in the centre of it all was a fried Yukimi Daifuku.

Looking closely at the fried centrepiece, he could see that the ice cream was already beginning to melt into the broth.

Curious to find out how the melted ice cream would alter the taste of ramen, Mr Sato tried a spoonful of the liquid, and was surprised to find the soup actually contained cheese, which gave an added depth of richness to the light flavour of the chicken broth.

The broth also contains four egg yolks to make things even more creamy, and oddly, this combination of ingredients, with the generous splash of freshly ground pepper, reminded Mr Sato of a creamy pasta dish.

The taste was deliciously mellow and creamy, and delving beneath the fried Yukimi Daifuku revealed a thick slice of char siu.

The char siu had a delicious smoky flavour that was slightly reminiscent of bacon, amping up the pasta-like feel of the dish.

When he tried the char siu, broth and noodles together, Mr Sato’s eyes opened wide as he realised…

▼…it tasted just like carbonara!

As he slurped, the black pepper came to the fore, playing a major role in the carbonara flavour, but the real star, of course, was the fried mochi ice cream.

The creamy centre paired extremely well with the soup, while the crispy texture of the batter stood out, providing a delicious contrast to the smooth and slippery ramen. Even though the ice cream had been fried, it managed to stay intact, suggesting there was some hidden ingenuity behind the way it had been made.

This was Mr Sato’s first time trying a fried Yukimi Daifuku, and it was utterly delicious, especially when eaten with the creamy ramen. Who knew such a weird combination existed? Mr Sato certainly didn’t, but now that his eyes have been opened to this exquisite new pairing, he’ll definitely be coming back for another serving while it’s on the menu until 3 March.

Restaurant information
Menya Musashi Niten / 麺屋武蔵 二天
Address: Tokyo-to, Toshima-ku, Higashi Ikebukuro 1-2-4
Open 11:30 a.m.-10:30 p.m.
Agemi Daifuku Ramen is limited to 15 meals per day and only available until 3 March

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