Last week was the Furusato Matsuri at Tokyo Dome, an annual celebration bringing vendors from all over the country to one place to sell regional specialties. While many standard, traditional treats are on exhibit, modern smaller companies come as well, bringing treats new to Japan and the world, like sweet beers for Valentine's Day. However, nothing commands the awe and respect due to the Ramen Burger.

The bun is made of noodles. The contents are traditionally associated with ramen - a smattering of greens, some nori seaweed, a star of naruto kamaboko fish sausage, and thin-sliced pork.

Rice-bun burgers have been around at omnipresent chain Mos Burger for a while now, but it's not entirely clear where the ramen burger comes from. Its obscure origins suggest it was the invention of a small shop rather than a publicity stunt by a large chain, like this Windows 7 burger:

This blog entry is a somewhat incredulous account of a trip to the possible home of the ramen burger in 2006, with an interesting video of the burger being made. It also claims the proper name of the burger is the "seven-ring burger" - it's unclear whether this is some kind of joke, a reference to something traditional about ramen, or entirely serious. This English-language tourism site suggests the burger is unique to Kitakawa, a place completely unmentioned in the other article. No explanation is given for the burger's invention or its association with the particular place (other than the use of quality local ingredients).

If you're feeling really brave, the supposed Kitakawa home of the ramen burger also has details on something called a ramen pizza, but the less said about that the better. Ψ