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Taste the Ramen Burger at its Bay Area debut

Published: Thursday, Dec. 5, 2013 - 1:09 pm

At long last, the Ramen Burger will grace Northern California with its presence.

Yes, the Ramen Burger. We’re talking the most recent food hybrid to cause a national frenzy, a la the great Cronut craze of 2013. Since summer, hipsters and foodies have been waiting in long, long lines to taste Keizo Shimamoto’s creation at the regular Smorgasburg food festival in Williamsburg, New York.

Now, anyone willing to drive to San Jose has a shot at tasting one of 700 burgers. The Ramen Burger team — though not Shimamoto himself — will be at Mitsuwa Marketplace on Dec. 14 at 11 a.m. Each burger goes for $8, and there’s no per-person limit. So if you’re feeling kind, you can bring some home to family members who refused to wait in line with you.

What is a Ramen Burger? It’s pretty much what it sounds like: a burger surrounded by two buns made of ramen noodles.

And it tastes sort of how you’d expect, like if you made ramen — maybe tsukemen, the dipping style if we’re being specific — with hamburger meat tossed in. The textural sensation is the winner here, with the chewy noodles sealed and lightly toasted for handholding capabilities, yet still able to fall apart in your mouth. Shoyu, scallions and arugula round off the flavors.

In September, Shimamoto brought the Ramen Burger to Los Angeles — the first time it appeared outside New York. Now, he’s envisioning a bit of a national tour. That initial visit to the City of Angels drew 1,000 folks who wanted dibs on 500 Ramen Burgers. Shimamoto made Los Angeles that first stop so his mother could try his creation.

The family connection continues. San Jose became the next destination because Shimamoto’s brother Stan lives there - and he clearly needs to taste the Ramen Burger, too.

Read more about the Ramen Burger and Shimamoto on his blog, and check Facebook to see where it’ll pop up next.

Read more articles by Janelle Bitker

About Appetizers

Chris Macias has served as The Sacramento Bee's Food & Wine writer since 2008. His writing adventures have ranged from the kitchen at French Laundry to helping pick 10 tons of zinfandel grapes with migrant farm workers in Lodi. Chris also judges regularly at food, wine and cocktail competitions around Northern California. His profile of a former gangbanger-turned-pastry-chef was included in Da Capo's "Best Food Writing 2012."

Read his Wine Buzz columns here
(916) 321-1253
Twitter: @chris_macias

Allen Pierleoni writes about casual lunchtime restaurants in The Sacramento Bee's weekly "Counter Culture" column. He covers a broad range of topics, including food, travel, books and authors. In addition to writing the weekly column "Between the Lines," he oversees the Sacramento Bee Book Club, in which well-known authors give free presentations to the public.

Read his Counter Culture reviews here
(916) 321-1128
Twitter: @apierleonisacbe

Blair Anthony Robertson is The Sacramento Bee's food critic.

Read his restaurant reviews here
(916) 321-1099
Twitter: @Blarob

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Note: The Appetizers blog switched blog platforms in August 2013. All posts after the switch are found here. Older posts are available using the list below.

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