It’s really the broth that makes or breaks the flavor of a bowl of ramen. Sure, the thickness and firmness of the noodles play a part in the overall eating experience, but their flavor contribution is negligible compared to the broth they’re floating in.
Because of that, a new menu item at restaurant Iseya promises to taste like no ramen ever has before, because its broth is made with azuki, the sweet red beans that are usually used for traditional Japanese desserts.
Ordinarily, Iseya sets itself apart from its rivals by serving soy broth ramen that’s spicier than most other places’. However, after some customers complained that it was too spicy, the restaurant’s manager decided to counterbalance the spice by adding in some sweetness. After initially experimenting with chocolate and being dissatisfied with his results (though chocolate ramen actually can be tasty), Iseya’s Kobe Tamatsu branch manager, Mr Tamkamiya, decided to try adding azuki instead, creating a broth that’s similar to oshiruko, a hot red bean dessert soup, and finished it off by adding a layer of whipped cream to the top.
▼ Iseya’s oshiruko ramen
▼ Oshiruko (with mochi)
Takamiya says the sweet red beans mix with Iseya’s ramen broth to provide just the right balance of salty, sweet, and spicy tastes, with the whipped cream providing a smooth finish. It’s worth noting, though, that the oshiruko ramen isn’t a pure dessert, as part of the bowl is still ringed with glistening strips of chashu roast pork.
Despite Takamiya’s confidence in this bold new ramen innovation, Iseya Tamatsu is testing the market gingerly. The oshiruko ramen, priced at 1,200 yen, will only be offered between January 2 and 8, and limited to just five servings a day, but nonetheless promises to be a memorable way to start the new year for the 35 adventurous souls who try it.
Iseya (Tamatasu branch) / いせや（玉津店）
Address: Kobe-shi, Nishi-ku, Marutsuka 2-9-18
Open 11 a.m.-3:30 p.m., 5 p.m.-midnight (weekdays), 11 a.m.-midnight (weekends)
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