Photos by Takahiro Takiguchi
Photos by Takahiro Takiguchi

Chocolate Ramen??!!! Canoodle with some sweet, sweet noodles

by Takahiro Takiguchi
Stripes Japan

February is synonymous with heart-shaped chocolate boxes, roses and love, so why not take your sweetheart for a romantic dinner of… chocolate ramen?

Yes, that is what I said— chocolate ramen!

So, this Valentine’s Day, take a leap and check out Kourakuen’s warm bowl of chocolate ramen or white chocolate ramen.

Since the restaurant has been serving up this unique offering since Jan. 30, my wife and I decided we couldn’t wait for Valentine’s Day to have a romantic dinner and made our way to the food chain’s shop near Yokosuka Naval Base.

Just a 5-minute drive from base, Kourakuen’s Miharucho Shop is a large, casual-looking restaurant with plenty of parking, which, truth be told, doesn’t really scream romance. Inside, the brightly lit interior, with standard seating and décor also did not scream romance. The clientele during our visit were not other couples on romantic dates, they were mostly families or old men enjoying solo ramen at the counters up front. However, we didn’t let this stop us from having our early Valentine’s meal.

My wife and I decided we’d order one of each of the special ramen bowls, Chocolate Ramen and White Chocolate Ramen, both for 640 yen (about $5.80) and share a plate of six gyoza (Chinese-style dumplings) for 240 yen like a couple of young love birds.

When our server delivered the dishes, they looked interesting enough for some Instagram-worthy shots. #love

My Chocolate Ramen had a dark brown soy sauce-based broth and came topped with a chocolate bar. My wife’s White Chocolate Ramen was a salt-based broth and was topped with— you guessed it— a white chocolate bar.

Thick, yellow noodles, thick slices of pork rib and all the fixings like bamboo shoots, green onions and mushrooms, swimming in the peculiar broths was confusing because everything in the bowl looked like it was going to taste like chocolate.

Despite our apprehension, our first spoonful proved that it was, in fact, ramen and it was tasty!

The chocolate ramen was rich and had a slightly spicy taste thanks to the ground ginger and cacao oil topping. The white chocolate ramen was smooth and creamy with a nice flavor thanks to the cream and cacao oil.

The chocolate bar topping only made our ramen broth richer and the flavor changed as my bowl emptied. At first, there was a slight sweetness on the tongue, but was overwhelmed by the flavors of soy sauce and salt. Later, the sweetness returned with a strong chocolate aroma. It was definitely a new food experience for us.

Much as my wife was great company on this ramen date, so was the gyoza at complementing the meal. We enjoyed their white cabbage, ginger, and onion filling and finished them all.

Soon our bowls were empty and our stomachs full, but before we could throw in the towel, we enjoyed the complimentary chocolates that came on the side for us to enjoy a little dessert after our non-dessert chocolate ramen.

Kourakuen is known for its inexpensive ramen served quick. They don’t take reservations, but they have 475 locations across mainland Japan (33 in Tokyo and 45 in Kanagawa Prefecture), so you may be able to find one near your installation.

If you’re wise you won’t choose this for a Valentine’s Day date. But, don’t worry, you have until March 11 to try these crazy chocolate bowls of ramen before they disappear!

takiguchi.takahiro@stripes.com

Chocolate Ramen &  White Chocolate Ramen
Price: 640 yen
Hours: Wed – Mon, 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. 
Sales period: Until Mar. 11
* Available at all the Kourakuen restaurants in Japan 
(475 shops) See www.kourakuen.co.jp/ and find the nearest shop

Kourakuen (Miharucho, Yokosuka)


Location: 1-21-2 Miharucho, Yokosuka City, Kanagawa Pref.
Hours: 10:45 a.m. - midnight
URL: https://stores.kourakuen.co.jp/en/20670
Tel: 046-838-5909

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