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Ramen Burger New comet over NY skyline

The ramen burger, which combines the popular American hamburger with the ramen noodles loved by Japanese, was first introduced in Brooklyn's "Smorgasburg" on August 3rd this year. Limited to 100 burgers, the ramen burger sold out the first day. When the shop was set up a second time a week later on August 10th, and all 360 burgers sold out in three hours, the ramen burger started to attract media attention. Creator/chef Keizo Shimamoto appeared on nationally broadcast television, and suddenly became known all over the country. Due to demand just a month after its debut, Shimamoto decided to sell his ramen burgers in Los Angeles, too.

Ramen burger creator/chef,Keizo Shimamoto

Just how did the ramen burger become known throughout the US after being sold on only two occasions?
(Kimiko Tonogai)


New sensation in the NY food scene

The slightly sweet and savory special sauce contains soy sauce

The slightly sweet and savory special sauce contains soy sauce.

"Smorgasburg" is a food-related flea market held in Brooklyn only on weekends. Open from April until November, Smorgasbord is held in Williamsburg on Saturdays, and in DUMBO on Sundays. Both locations are very popular recently. Participating food stands sell foods such as lobster roll sandwiches, homemade beef jerky, and 100% natural slush, and all participants are motivated and energetic. One food stand became known throughout the US after appearing only twice: the Ramen Burger stand. The media proclaimed it "the new sensation in the New York food scene," and Shimamoto was suddenly overwhelmed with the ensuing whirlwind of attention.

Patties and noodles are grilled together

Patties and noodles are grilled together


A beef patty on a ramen bun

The ramen burger is arugula, a beef patty, special sauce, and green onions sandwiched in a bun made from ramen noodles. For Americans, the texture of the ramen bun was a new experience. Until now, variations on the standard hamburger did not stray from the standard of meat sandwiched in a bread bun. A ground-breaking new style of hamburger, the ramen burger's springy and chewy texture is definitely a far cry from the hamburgers Americans know. The slightly sweet sauce is a superb match for the beef patty and ramen bun that is nostalgic for Japanese people, but a new eating experience for Americans.
Obsessed with ramen, Shimamoto went to Japan to train. Although there are ramen burgers in Japan, Shimamoto's idea of using a beef patty was ground-breaking. As Shimamoto handed out burgers one by one to eager customers, we asked what the secret behind his popularity is. "I don't know," he replied.


Currently open once per week Plans to expand

The food stand is currently open once per week, but with such popularity, are there plans to increase the number of days, or even open a storefront? Shimamoto says "I'd like to," but seems busy with his current schedule. When this reporter went during Ramen Burger's fourth week of business, August 24th, a long line of people patiently waited under a blue sky while chatting with companions. The sense of happiness at getting something after waiting for two hours must be quite a feeling: all 420 burgers sold that day. One burger sells for 8 USD.

- Business information

Ramen Burger/Location: Smorgasburg East River State Park (Kent Ave, at North 7th Street, Brooklyn, New York)/Opening day: August 3rd, 2013/Business hours: from about 10:00 am until burgers are sold out (until November 23rd)

Will they get their hands on a Ramen Burger two or three hours from now?People are chatting while waiting

Will they get their hands on a Ramen Burger two or three hours from now?
People are chatting while waiting.

Monday, November 4th 2013 edition of Restaurant News