When it comes to food, the Japanese are a curious people…… mostly traditional but sometimes wildly innovative. Where but in Japan can you find Noodleburgers ? Or Pizza cones? Or Sweet burgers?
A red van in Yukuhashi( Fukuoka Prefecture) is the home of the Kan-nana Noodle Burger. It consists of a roast pork filling in a mass of ramen noodles fried so that they will become firm and stick together; the burgers are doused in a sauce very like ramen broth.Customers like the chewy texture and the fact that they can be held and eaten with one hand; they pay 350 Y(~ $3) for one of these ‘burgers’.
Hasamaru, a food stall in Osaka, has a different take on the noodleburger. There, for 250 Yen (~ $ 2.10), you can get a Sobasen…. fried noodles, egg , mayonnaise and a special sauce sandwiched between two large prawn crackers.
At the Printemps Ginza Department store in Tokyo, you can get a Kono Pizza….a pizza base shaped like a cone and filled with cheese, tomato sauce and toppings. It’s very popular with young women and there are often lines of customers waiting to get one.
But what really takes the cake is the Mamido’s Burger chain which has several locations in Tokyo.The offerings at Mamido look like burgers, fries and chicken nuggets but they are actually sweets. The Mamido burger ( 390Yen ~ $3.25) is their most popular dish. The “bun” is actually sponge cake, the ” patty” is chocolate cream and the “pickles” are slices of kiwi ! The deep fried fishburger ( 440 Yen~ $3.70) is actually a banana shaped like a fish filet in sponge cake and the “tartar sauce” topping is actually fresh cream.The French fries are actually custard cream covered in starch powder and deep fried. Mamido is a godsend for middle-aged business who are embarassed to eat elaborate cakes in public. They can safely walk around munching away at what looks like a burger but is actually a cake.
Mamido’s sounds like fun but the other fast food concoctions don’t appeal to me. The Sobasen sounds perfectly horrible and, as for the noodleburger, I would prefer the real thing, a bowl of steaming hot ramen noodles in broth.The Kono pizza sounds OK though not an improvement on the traditional pizza pie. I understand that these can all be eaten on the run but they shortchange the customer on one of the pleasures of eating, sitting down to a leisurely meal with family or friends. After all, convenience is not the only thing.