Sunday, July 11, 2010

菊や (Ice Cream Ramen at Kikuya in Kita Senju)



I was feeling antsy, with nothing to do on a Sunday afternoon. It was on the cool side, a perfect day for a little motorcycle ride and some ramen. But getting to Kikuya is hardly the adventure.


So far, looks fairly normal. But if you search for "ice cream ramen", this is the spot you will be sent to. THAT'S the adventure.


Before we get to the main attraction, you should know that they have a plethora of strange ramen on the menu at Kikuya. Purple, blue, and green are achieved with different vegetables added to the broth. I was tempted to try the purple. But the friendly owner pushed the ice cream on me.


A bowl of cold shoyu ramen toped with an ice cream cone.


Did you expect something else?


Eating it was a bit challenging.

Oh, the taste? Yeah, it wasn't so good. It wasn't bad, just not so good. Actually, the flavor was nice, but the whole thing being cold didn't sit right. Maybe if the ramen was piping hot, and the ice cream cold, I would have been able to finish it. But I couldn't. Mottainai!


Looking at the menu on the wall, I saw a new word. アルカリ (arukari). Inquiring minds want to know.


Of course... batteries.

The story behind the weird, experimental bowls is a fun one. This shop is over 48 years old. About 10 years ago, a local elementary schooler on his way home stopped in. It was hot, so he asked the owner if he could have some ice cream. Then, imagination at work, he asked if he could put that cone into his ramen. Why not? But instead of a one off joke, the chef put it up on the wall as a new menu item.

Kids are always looking to get the last laugh, so they started ordering more unusual bowls. Hot chocolate ramen. No problem. Soy milk and coffee ramen. Done. Green tea. Check. And finally, from a particularly cheeky young lad, "Can you throw some batteries in my bowl?"


I was kindly asked to be part of the July blog matsuri. Ice cream ramen is certainly an east meets west idea, but I gotta say that Ivan's taco-style-ramen was the best example of this concept. Bring it back Ivan!