Sunday, July 11, 2010

菊や (Ice Cream Ramen at Kikuya in Kita Senju)

菊や

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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Did you expect something else?

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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!

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

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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?"

Enjoy.


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!


7 comments:

Nate said...

oh man you went!! Awesome!! I've gotta hit that place up at some point this summer, it's been on my list forever. Today I was eating at the 400 yen super old school omuraisu, spaghetti, and curry joint near waseda and the cook from Ganko walked in. Good to know that old man cooks patronize each other's shops...

Anonymous said...

Nice set of wheels. What is it?

Brian said...

Yeah, Nate, old ramen dudes are pretty cool. The guy here talked to me for a long time.

Anon, I drive a Honda CB1000.

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Mo Kudeki said...

Hey, awesome post! I would have NEVER predicted ice cream as a ramen topping anywhere in Japan...

So I'm hosting the Japan Blog Matsuri for July, and this post fits right into this month's theme, "Chotto Chigau: Things that Japan has taken from Western, or any non-Japanese culture, and made their own."

I'd love to include your post, if you'd be willing. All you'd need to add is a little banner and a line in your post saying you're participating. Check out the announcement here:
http://mokudekiru.com/2010/07/japan-blog-matsuri-july-2010-theme/

Let me know what you think... and I thought Osaka's ice dogs were weird :)

Brian said...

Sure, happy to be part of your blog matsuri.

T. McAlpine said...

Thanks for steering me clear away from this place. I can't even put the flavor profiles together. Nice post.