‘Gazpacho-ramen’, the new and curious invention of this Barcelona restaurant
Written by Toni Matas
The ramen is taken hot and fast, hence it is necessary to sip quite loudly to avoid burning. At least that is what the canons say, although it is true that summer heats force you to wonder if a boiling soup is really what you want right now, no matter how ramen you are.
At the Kanada-Ya restaurant in Barcelona, they have encouraged themselves to find a remedy by pulling Japanese-Japanese fusion and have invented what is possibly the first gazpacho-ramen in the world. Yes, it is exactly what it seems. And yes, we have tried it.
Hopefully in Japan they are not with the ramen as in Valencia with the paella, we joke. In the kitchen they are finishing off the gazpacho that will serve as a base to which, without a doubt, is the most summery and original ramen of the moment. Ken Urata, head of Kanada-Ya, smiles. He has lived a few years in Valencia and knows what we are talking about.
But luckily the ramen purists are the least, he explains. As a child – remember – there were only 3 or 4 types, but now there are much more creative versions. Although not as much as your bet for this summer. It has only been a few weeks in the letter, he points out, and they are still perfecting the recipe, but he says he likes it a lot.
It has only been a few weeks in the letter and they are still perfecting the recipe
Fat noodles and egg
While we chat, at the next table, someone devours a traditional ramen . Very hot and also with a spicy point. He sweats but he seems delighted and that – he confirms – that he is one of those who does not forgive the ramen even in the heat wave.
The recipe is very simple: a traditional gazpacho and of considerable density, ramen sauce – with a list of secret ingredients, Urata nuances – egg, some tomatoes and fat noodles. All served cold, of course.
The truth is yes. The tomato is pure umami, which together with the ramen sauce – which incorporates soybeans – and the garlic point creates a very potent base. The noodles are served undercooked or, as an Italian would say, al dente, and the cherry tomatoes add a crisp and crisp point to find them.
It is true that it is the bowl, spoon and chopsticks that provide the perfect context to turn a gazpacho with noodles into a ramen. But wow, if you like gazpacho and ramen, this somewhat eclectic mix may also convince you.
The bowl, spoon and chopsticks provide the perfect context to turn a gazpacho with noodles into a ramen
“A customer asked us for bread,” recalls Urata funny to confirm the gazpachera nature of the dish. Putting croutons in the same way ends the exotic touch, but a bit of chasu – pork meat – sure suited him well. Even chopped and served as a garnish, that can become a salmorejo-ramen.
Opened only a few months ago, this place in Barcelona joins the long list of restaurants specializing in ramen. In this case, combining traditional dishes – tonkotsu ramen with pork bone broth is the specialty of the house – with somewhat more heterodox ideas, such as its chasu croquettes or Catalan cream with Japanese tea.
For now, his gazpacho ramen is something unique, although those responsible for this chain with several restaurants in London have already tried and liked it, they tell us. Will this be the beginning of the international expansion of gazpacho-ramen and we will end up seeing it in Tokyo? Given the passion that all Spanish awakens there, it would not be too rare either.
But the truth is that the cold ramen for summer is not something that is styled there. You can vary ingredients and bet on some more refreshing and less fatty, but it will never be a cold soup. On the contrary, cold but dry noodles or with some sauce – not in broth – are much more common.
Will this be the beginning of the international expansion of gazpacho-ramen and we will end up seeing it in Tokyo?
This is confirmed by Japan from Luis Rodriguez, one of the authors of Japonism, a reference for culture and travel in that country.
A very popular option is the tsukemen – he explains – that they are cold noodles along with some typical ramen ingredients and that have a separate bowl of broth in which to wet the noodles before eating.
Another option is the hiyashi ramen, also called hiyashi chuka or reimen, he adds. In this case they are cold noodles with various ingredients, as in ramen, but without broth.
But go, that even in Tokyo in the middle of summer – a real hell because of the temperatures and humidity – the most common thing is to see people take their ramen very warm. Maybe it’s because they still haven’t discovered the gazpacho one.