In case you’ve never had a ramen burger, it’s a hamburger where fried ramen, formed into a bun shape, replaces the bread bun.
The American version of the ramen burger (photo #1) was created in 2013 by Keizo Shimamoto, a ramen blogger turned ramen chef (his ramen shop closed last week).
He had inspiration from ramen burgers he saw while in Japan. Restaurants there used ramen noodles to form a top and bottom, although the top and bottom “buns” were not as solidified as Keizo’s ramen buns.
Instead of a beef patty, the Japanese filled the ramen buns with chashu pork.
Chashu pork is pork belly braised in soy sauce, sake, and mirin (rice wine*). The inspiration is that bowls of ramen soup are often topped with slices of the braised pork belly.
Creating a Japanese-American fusion, Keizo sandwiched a beef burger slathered in a “secret” shoyu sauce (soy sauce seasoned with brown sugar, garlic, ginger and shallot) instead of ketchup.
Arugula and a scallion garnish taking over for lettuce and onion.
Here’s the whole story.
The ramen burger started a craze among food bloggers everywhere, who created their own versions.
After checking out different recipes online, we chose this one from Pigamitha Dimar (photo #2).
Different bloggers add different touches; for example, cheese and/or a fried egg (photo #2 (bottom burger) and photo #3).
Add tomato or pickled vegetables.
Consider Kewpie brand mayonnaise†, Japan’s favorite mayo.
Any burger works: beef, grain, lamb, turkey, veggie, etc.You can even make it a double, as in photo #2.
Whatever burger you choose, you can add Japanese condiments and spices to the chopped meat for extra flavor.
Ready to create your own ramen burger? It’s a fine way to celebrate National Ramen Day.
RAMEN IN JAPAN PRE- AND POST- WORLD WAR II
*Mirin and saké are both called “rice wine.” Both are fermented from rice; mirin has a lower alcohol content and higher sugar content (as an analogy, think of sweet and dry vermouths. If you have saké but no mirin, make a substitute by adding a half teaspoon of sugar to the saké, and warm it slowly to dissolve the sugar.
†It is made with more egg yolks, rice vinegar instead of distilled white vinegar, and MSG.