Saturday, November 30, 2013

My Ramen Burger Experience at Smorgasburg


This summer, the ramen burger made headlines and created a whole new food craze in New York City. Created by chef Keizo Shimamoto, this burger with ramen patties was THE THING driving hundreds of people waiting in line at Brooklyn's Smorgasburg food market for hours and hours, just to have a taste of this popular item.

I was finally certain enough to pay a visit to the ramen burger in its 4th week debut. Knowing I would be expecting a large crowd and a possibility of limited burger supply, I arrived the food market at 9:00am (market opens at 11:00am). Thought I would be one of the first to be standing on the line, there were already about 30-40 people forming a line outside the unset ramen burger booth. I heard some people arrived at 8:00am (wow).

As I saw the ramen burger team gradually set up their booth and prepare ingredients, more and more people came behind us and the line became almost 1/2 mile long. At 11:00am, steamers and grills from other food booths were turned on and ready to sell foods. However, there was a little delay to our ramen burger due to technical error of the grill station. It wasn't until around 11:15am when the burger line started moving.

I was drooling when one of the Japanese press in front of us received their ramen burger early. The reporters were taking photos of this gem on a table. I just wished the line could move faster and faster. The line was moving a little slow because it took longer for the meat to be cooked; they could only make around 6 beef patties at a time on the grill.

I was the 53rd person to receive my ramen burger. I was really excited to finally get close to see how this famous burger was built. First arugula was placed on the ramen patty, then the beef patty, special shoyu sauce, scallions, and that's it!

The burger on the news all the time is finally in my hand, wrapped in their specially designed wrapper to help to prevent juice/sauce from leaking to everywhere (very clever). The first bite experience was: a little greasy. Other than that, everything goes well together. The sauce, the perfectly grilled meat, and of course, the noodle patties. I don't have the problem of noodles falling apart as you eat. The ramen noodles are still bounded together most of the time when I'm chewing down the burger.

With the price ($8) and long wait, I didn't think I would return just to try the burger again. But now 2 new flavors are available (Original with Cheese, and Pulled Beef Chashu), I'm thinking about returning to the scene to test my patience again. Luckily, this time the food market would be indoor, no need to suffer from blowing cold winds.

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