On Aug. 3 2013, the ramen burger made its debut at the Smorgasburg food fair in Brooklyn, N.Y., and quickly became a viral food sensation. Hundreds of people lined up to taste chef and food writer Keizo Shimamoto’s Asian-inspired burger invention. The 150 ramen burgers that he served that day sold out in 20 minutes, and the craze endures to this day.
The ramen burger fuses together two comfort foods that are integral to the culinary cultures of both Japan and America: shoyu (soy-based) ramen and the classic American burger. Shimamoto began contemplating the ramen burger while learning how to master the art of ramen-making in Japan. On his blog, Ramen!, he chronicled his eating adventures sampling ramen shops and exploring noodle culture in general. After his food writing gained him some notoriety, he was asked to star in a documentary film, Ramen Dreams, which featured his culinary career. This ramen-centric career path eventually paid off with the great success of his hybrid food invention in America.
The original ramen burger recipe uses fresh ramen noodles, a soy-based sauce, arugula, and scallions. And although Shimamoto hasn’t personally disclosed the secret to creating the ramen noodle "bun," chefs around the country have speculated that eggs bind the noodles together.
Chefs have shared two methods of making these legendary buns. One method is to place the noodles inside a metallic ring while cooking. This way, the noodles will keep their shape while frying, and do not require the use of eggs as a binding agent. You can experiment with different molds using this method, as well. The other method, which we have shared below, requires ramekins to mold the noodles into shape prior to frying. The ramen is refrigerated to help bind the eggs to the noodles, helping to preserve a bun-like shape.