Coffee Ramen (Japan)

Ten ingredients you wouldn’t like to see in the same bowl of ramen:

  1. Coffee beans
  2. Coffee noodles
  3. Eggs (and their yolks)
  4. Vanilla ice cream
  5. Bananas
  6. Gouda (inexorably processed, that is)
  7. Kamaboko (processed fish cake with mind-numbing preservatives)
  8. Kiwi
  9. Salami
  10. Ham

with a generous sprinkling of Japanese parmesan cheese, because that’s what you were missing.  Listverse, here I come.

Is this the antithesis of Tampopo, the Japanese movie about a woman trying to create the perfect bowl of ramen?  Probably.  But in a country where using Colonel Sanders as a buoy is so yesterday‘s news, I cautiously introduce you to coffee ramen.

Ohanajaya - Aroma Coffee Ramen1

Your guide to caffeinated calamity

I was tipped off to this unusual feast on the travel site FlyerTalk.  The restaurant’s name is 亜呂摩, or Aroma, and it’s located in Ohanajaya, Katsushika district, in the endless sea of black- and graham cracker-tinted hair specifically known as Tokyo, but generally known as Japan.  Rookie word of advice: don’t go on Wednesdays- that’s the off day.  I carelessly made the nearly hour long trek from Narita Airport first on a Wednesday, and got shot down.  The typhoon happening at the time made it that much more of a thrill, as umbrellas suddenly lose their will to live.

I despise kitsch

I despise kitsch

The chef is an elderly man, affable and used to foreigners.  Not that the restaurant gets too many non-Japanese in the first place, but he’ll probably ask you to sign a guestbook,  Pre-consumption of said ramen.  Don’t worry about being honest- that’s not the Japanese way… ah yes, if you don’t speak any of the lingo, he offers picture menus of the soup.  He told me he changes the ingredients, or toppings might be a better word, every once and again, but don’t fret, for parmesan cheese is a staple garnish.  You can try it hot or cold, but because I wanted to make it back to my hotel without being slumped over the whole time, I tried it cold.

Oh, and I don’t even like coffee.

Ohanajaya - Aroma Coffee Ramen3This is a great dish to make for your significant other when you’re about to break up with her/him.  Unless she/he digs this kind of stuff, then you’re sending all the wrong signals.

After all of the muted hype, it wasn’t half-bad, better yet, as of March 2013 it cost only ¥700 (which can be anywhere from US$6.40-8.50, depending on how skilled you are in the forex game).  The noodles were skillfully cooked, and the chef appeared humbled by his bizarre creation.  Sure, that pink and white ninja weapon is none other than kamaboko, patiently seated atop banana and kiwi slices, and the coffee bean riding the egg yolk evokes Salvador Dalí, but the majority of the dish, true to its name, had the flavor of (sweetened) coffee, which apparently keeps bringing ’em in.

Don’t cower out and eat the toppings by themselves.  That ham looks way too relaxed on the sidelines.  Take a piece, then scoop out some kiwi and egg, dip it into the murky broth and slurp to your heart’s content.  Fact is, I rarely eat any type of ramen, since most of the time I feel as if I’m in a salt mine while doing so.  Also, if you’re not too adept at using chopsticks, it would seem wise to eat ramen if you’re not wearing a shirt.

Is it time you experienced coffee ramen?  If you’ve already tried it, do you want to know where to find life’s rewind button?

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10 Responses to Coffee Ramen (Japan)

  1. Marisa says:

    My condolences. And the coffee beans on the egg yolks must have just kicked you while you were down.

    • Would you try it, Marisa? If coffee was still the broth and in the noodles, what eight ingredients would you add to make it palatable? Please don’t say Taylor ham!

  2. expatlingo says:

    Did the chef give you any hints about how he arrived at this unusual combination of coffee, noodles, cheese, ham and ice cream?

    • Good question. No…but I reckon if you’re born in Japan, mischievous imaginations are part and parcel of the upbringing.

      Searching in Japanese, I’m not finding much, but coffee ramen has been around for at least fifteen years, based on the pictures he had in the restaurant.

      Would you go for it?

      • consingas says:

        This is making me laugh just looking at it, but I would definitely try a sip, if for nothing else than the caffeine content. Reminds me of bad holiday sweaters. What is the least appropriate way you display a yarn version of a Christmas tree or a pipe cleaner menorah? I wonder if the chef was asking himself the same thing about his creation out for public consumption.

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  4. Pingback: 笑丸 らーめん Shomaru Ramen

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  6. Reblogged this on buildingmybento and commented:

    I’m shifting the focus of Collateral Lettuce to BuildingMyBento, and no other post better represents this than “Coffee Ramen.” Don’t fret, for this self-reblogging is a one-time deal.

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