Now that the deep-fried Mars bar is no longer turning heads, there needs to be a new kid on the block, and 2016 has seen the arrival of the tasty and rather weird-looking ice cream ramen. However, unlike recent crazes such as sweet potato toast and the avocado bun burger, this sweet treat is not as confusing as you might think when you take a closer look (and taste).
Yes, that’s right, while it’s called ice cream ramen, it doesn’t actually contain any savory noodles, broth, meat or even ice cream. While eccentric eaters such as Heston Blumenthal will be disappointed, it actually makes this next big food trend something that could eventually become mainstream.
What exactly is it made up of? The creators of this signature dessert have packed in quite a few things actually. There is a tasty-sounding mix of condensed milk and crushed ice, which is very similar to ice cream, and a healthy portion of jelly noodles. The vast array of colors on the show makes the ice cream ramen look particularly space age, and it is being snaffled up by the bucket load by all the cool kids in town.
When digging a little deeper, we find a whole host of other ingredients that make the new ramen unique and rather healthy – seriously, you may be able to get some of your five-a-day from this sugary sweet. The jelly noodles are made of algae, which does sound a bit off-putting, but it contrasts well with the bevy of fruit underneath. These are balled lemon, white peach syrup, and cubed mango. There’s also mochi, a Japanese confection made from pounded sticky rice with an ice cream filling. It all sounds rather tempting!
For those in the UK, there is a bit of a sticking point at the moment. It is currently only being served up in New York at The Dessert Kitchen, but if it does catch on, there is every likelihood that trendy joints in London will be offering their unique twist on this year’s most colorful dessert. The Dessert Kitchen also sells red tea ice cream and dumplings in ginger sugar soup, so they have quite a specialty in weird trendy food types, but we think ice cream ramen has the biggest crossover potential and could eventually make its way this side of the pond.
It’s also being backed up by foodies, as TODAY Food writer Emi Boscamp recently penned a review for the hot, or rather cold, new ramen. She said: "It wasn’t overly sweet – the flavors were actually pretty mellow." Boscamp also compared the experience of eating the new dessert to standard Asian cuisine such Pho and other noodle dishes. She added that "aside from being ice-cold and sweet, it gave me the feeling of eating ramen. I could slurp the noodles – which were slick and cool on my tongue – and drink the ’broth’ (the ice cream)."
It’s no surprise that ice cream ramen initially blew up on Instagram, where its unique blend of bright-blue noodles and orange mangos was lapped up by thousands of social media users. This is another key point about today’s emerging food trends and the pervasive world of social. It must look good as well as taste good to really catch on and enter the public consciousness.
While it’s unlikely to usurp the traditional Japanese soup dish consisting of veg, meat, broth and noodles, the ice cream variant could very well be the next big food trend to shake up the dessert landscape in the coming months.