Are ramen burgers the next food phenom poised to spawn copycats?
The ramen burger is being hailed as the new cronut. (Keizo Shimamoto)
Published Monday, August 12, 2013 1:14PM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, August 14, 2013 12:23PM EDT
It’s been widely cited as the new cronut. Another freaky food phenomenon produced from two distinct items and made in short supply to draw snaking lines and drive up demand: Behold the "ramen burger."
Since debuting at the beginning of the month at a food fair in Brooklyn, the ramen burger has shown potential signs of generating as much buzz and viral interest as the cronut, a hybrid croissant-donut that has taken the food world by storm.
If you haven’t heard of the ramen burger by now, here’s how it looks: Two round discs of crispy, fried ramen noodles sandwich a beef patty topped with scallions and a special 'shoyu' sauce.
It’s an idea that borrows from the playbook of KFC, which caused a stir when it replaced burger buns with two deep-fried chicken cutlets back in 2010.
Meanwhile, buzz from Keizo Shimamoto's ramen burger drew snaking lines of people at a Brooklyn food fair over the past two weekends who stood for hours in the rain for a chance at one of the limited-edition sandwiches -- another strategy taken directly from the cronut playbook.
Cronut inventor Dominique Ansel succeeded in creating soaring demand for his deep-fried pastry by limiting daily production to just 200 a day when he first started in May. In just a few months, the croissant-donut has spawned knock-offs and copycats all over the world.
But the ramen burger isn’t a new invention. In an interview with The Daily Beast, Shimamoto says he imported the idea from Japan, tweaking the recipe to replace the pork filling with beef patties.
The Japanese-American, meanwhile, is a self-described ramen ‘freak’ who spent time in Japan studying the fine art of ramen-making before becoming a noodle chef himself. He also created a short film called "Ramen Dream" last year that pays homage to his food obsession.
He also hinted at plans to open a brick and mortar restaurant selling ramen burgers.
Meanwhile, the popularity of the cronut has inspired a food purveyor at Canada’s largest fair, the CNE in Toronto, to sell the cronut burger, a facsimile of the hybrid pastry that also sandwiches a beef patty and which will debut this week.