Chocolate Ramen

Ramen chain Kourakuen's (in)famous Valentine's offering

By Sherilyn Siy    - 2 min read

For my birthday four years ago, my husband brought home a ramen cake from Sweets Paradise. It was a baffling experience to eat because visual cues signal you to expect something savory and salty but the ramen and all its toppings are actually crafted from sweets such as preserved fruit, chestnut cream, cookies, jelly, and sponge cake with cream. Needless to say it was a memorable present I still talk about.

Ramen cake by Sweets Paradise.
Ramen cake by Sweets Paradise.

For several years now around Valentine's Day, ramen chain Kourakuen has been offering its (in)famous chocolate ramen. Every time I see ads for it, I remember the ramen cake my husband gave me. The first time I saw the ad, I suspected that this novelty dish would flop and would be a one-off publicity thing but Kourakuen has been bringing chocolate ramen back regularly and this year is offering a white chocolate version as well. Curiosity got the better of me.

Last Sunday, we headed to our nearest Kourakuen Unfortunately, the white chocolate version was out of stock so we had to content ourselves with the classic chocolate version. Unlike my Sweets Paradise experience, I was expecting this bowl of ramen to be sweet -- this was not the case.

It really is ramen underneath. The base is shoyu (soy sauce) broth.
It really is ramen underneath. The base is shoyu (soy sauce) broth.

The only sweet part of this dish is the piece of chocolate. The rest of it was savory, and the cacao oil floating on top added a richness and complexity to the shoyu (soy sauce) based ramen. Ginger enhanced the cacao flavors. Overall, the chocolate worked well and wasn't overwhelming. From the ad photos, I expected a thick chocolate sauce underneath but instead, it really is a shoyu ramen with only a thin layer of chocolate/cacao oil layer on top. While we didn't get a chance to try the white chocolate version, expect a shio (salt) based broth and a thin layer of cream.

We were given complimentary bottles of nihonshu (Japanese wine) and chocolates which were part of the campaign until supplies last.

A bowl costs ¥640 and is available until March 11, 2020.

Getting there

With over 476 branches, there is sure to be a Korakuen restaurant near you. The branch we visited is the Hanno, Saitama branch best accessed by car.

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Sherilyn Siy

Sherilyn Siy @sherilyn.siy

For Sherilyn Siy, Asia is home. Born in Hong Kong, Sherilyn spent time in the Philippines, China, and now lives in Japan. She speaks English, Filipino, Chinese (or putonghua), and Hokkien, her family's local dialect. Running is one of her favorite ways to explore Japan. She proudly finished the 2015 Tokyo Marathon -- her first ever full marathon -- in 4 hours and 37 minutes. She was absolutely psyched when she got selected again to run the new Tokyo Marathon route in 2018. She hopes to complete other races in Japan. 

Join the discussion

Vicky Amin 9 months ago
Really interesting (and intriguing)! Would love to try but I will not arrive in Japan until July ;(
Sherilyn Siy Author 8 months ago
I think they bring this back every year so next Valentines' perhaps.
Sander van Werkhoven 9 months ago
I was wondering if it would be considered heresy if you'd order a bowl of this instead of tonkotsu ramen in Fukuoka, the first stop on my upcoming trip.....but I guess so considering there isn't a single Korakuen west of Himeji.....

It does sound weird, but hey, why not? After all, french fries with chocolate sauce also turned out to be the best thing McD ever had on offer. Everything tastes better with chocolate!
Sleiman Azizi 9 months ago
Dark chocolate, please. I have standards!
Elena Lisina 9 months ago
Sounds strange...
Elena Lisina 9 months ago
Yes, of course I know that chocolate is not always sweet, it's just unusual and sometimes it prevents taking some dishes as normal. :)
Kim 9 months ago
I'd definitely give it a try!
Sleiman Azizi 9 months ago
Chocolate and ramen?