I’ve been obsessing over Keizo Shimamoto’s Ramen Burger for the longest time ever. I mean, what’s not to love about it? Generous chunks of meat and chives tucked between two ramen noodle “buns”; it’s like Shimamoto himself answered the prayers of fast food lovers the world over by combining the two best hangover chows into one.
Just the thought of biting into that culinary hybrid is almost enough to make me want to fly to Brooklyn and get my hands on one. Luckily for me, though, The Travelling C.O.W. (Chef on Wheels), also known as Singapore’s first mobile food truck, has been whipping up various versions of the Ramen Burger at The U Factory, a temporal experimental platform down at Gillman Barracks!
So, without further ado, it’s time to say Amen to the Ramen – burger, that is! 😀
For their stint at The U Factory, The Travelling C.O.W. cooked up four different filings to wrap their deliciously bouncy ramen noodles around – Bulgogi Burger, Teriyaki Chicken, Spicy BBQ Chicken and Mixed Mushroom. Priced between $6.50 to $8.90, pretty reasonable considering how you’re getting two meals in one – well, kinda. 😛
Be warned, though. While Shinamoto’s prototype is a compact combination of the above mentioned ingredients, and SORTED Food’s attempt an almost artisanal construction layered with bok choy and sunny side up egg, The Travelling C.O.W.’s rendition is a mess that can barely contain itself – visually speaking.
Though we can easily attribute it to the overly-generous amounts of Bulgogi Beef, butterhead lettuce and tomatoes that the cooks attempted to pack between ‘em buns. That, and the unbelievably golden tint of the ramen noodle buns.
But hey, who’s complaining? Certainly not me. 😛
Tearing through that paper-thin wrapper (which was so obviously meant to contain the pool of soup and dressing that was threatening to spill out), I couldn’t help but feel a slight sense of suspense. And boy, was it the quirkiest burger I ever tasted.
Let’s skip the patty – which was deee-liciously juicy and packed with flavour, props to the cook – and cut to the bun itself. For someone who’s lived on Ramen noodles her whole university life, this Asian-noodle-meets-Western-burger-patty creation was totally out of this world.
Fried till a crisp golden brown, the Ramen noodle bun crunched with every bite, reminding me of my favourite childhood snack, Mamee noodle. Texture wise, that’s the one thing that probably comes closest to it.
But on the inside, it’s a totally different story. The Ramen noodles are boiled as per normal, before being drained, shaped and chilled, which means that is loses much of its soupy moisture once taken out of the pot. What you get beneath that layer of golden crunchiness is a somewhat steamy sponge that doesn’t fall apart as easily as you would expect, putting your palate into a real noodle (pun unintended).
When taking on the Ramen Burger, it’s best that you clear the excess meat with your utensils before you start. And unless you’re a hippo or a human with an impossibly big bite, don’t try to bite off more than you can chew: that bun is more hardy than the usual bready ones you’re used to.
Be sure to get that wrapper secured around your burger, too; you don’t want to find oodles of noodles and meat spilled unglamorously all over your lap when you’re done. 😉
“Weird, messy, and overrated.” The haters are gonna hate, but I say that the Ramen Burger is a food quirk that’s here to stay. Not only does it ride on a lot of quirk, but it also, like many other food hybrids out there, proves just how many crazy ideas one can come up with in the kitchen!
The U Factory runs till tomorrow (26 Jan), so hurry on down and get a taste while you can. And while you’re there, do check out the other quirky offerings and showcases in the vicinity; it’ll be worth it, I guarantee. 😉
Address: Boiler Room, Blk 39 01-10 @ Gillman Barracks (now till 26 Jan 2014)
Contact: 9816 6636
Opening hours: Various times