When it comes to ramen, there are many tastes and regional variations whether it be shio (salt), shoyu (soy sauce), tonkotsu (pork bone broth) in Kyushu or miso ramen which is served up in Hokkaido. On top of that come the crazy novelty ones which include things like cheese, coffee, ice-cream, tequila, kiwi, ham, pizza, sake, pineapple and so on. The kind of things that the true ramen masters would most definitely turn their nose up at!
2019’s chocolate ramen showed that even cacao can be used in the noodle dish with relative success. I was wondering if the Kourakuen chain of ramen restaurants had brought it back this year so I went to investigate and was surprised to see that an additional dish was also on offer.
ホワイトチョコレート (howaito chokorēto a.k.a. white chocolate!) was on one of it’s posters so I had to find time to return and sample the dish which has been available since the start of February. When a student cancelled their lesson the other day there was time for me to go and see how the white one compared to it’s darker counterpart.
Despite what I said in last years post I never did go back to the fairly spacious Kourakuen in Shibuya to try their Onomichi ramen which made a lasting impression on me during my trips to this wonderful part of Hiroshima prefecture. That seems to have disappeared from the menu though now so I will just have to wait till I return to that area! It’s not as if I’d have ordered it on top of having what I’d mainly came for anyway!
On first appearance you could easily be mistaken for thinking the piece of white chocolate is a nob of butter akin to what you may get in miso butter ramen in Sapporo.
That is of course the chocolate though and it melts into the creamy coloured pork bone broth of the tonkotsu-style ramen. I’d say it’s taste had more impact than the brown chocolate from last year.
This dish is made with a salt broth base and the chocolate permeates deep into the soup to help thicken it up a bit but not in an overly sweet way. The cacao flavour is present and subtle enough to be noticed but not so distinct that it took the flavour away from the regular ramen. At a bargain ¥640 (£4.50) it’s definitely recommended with the result being a mix of sweet and savoury flavours that surprise your taste buds. It’s not common (or healthy at all!) to consume all of the soup but I often make exceptions when eating limited edition dishes like this.
If I had to choose between the white chocolate ramen and the chocolate one then I’d probably go for the former but that’s probably more down to the tonkotsu taste rather than the actual chocolate.
Click here to read ‘Dining Out: Chocolate Ramen – The Ideal Japanese Valentines Meal!’
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