In a world where we're all trying to satisfy our sweet tooth and get a nice shot for our Instagram, we can all be thankful that "ice cream ramen" is officially here. Notably, people are not using ramen noodles to make ice cream (yet); this sweet dessert gets its name from the fact that its presentation is similar to the Japanese wheat noodles we all know and love. You can stop by The Dessert Kitchen in New York City and try it in a variety of flavors including green tea, peach, honey, brown sugar, and kyoho — and while you're there, you might be able to get to the bottom of why people are so obsessed it.
As Danielle Tullo explains over at Cosmo, the ramen "noodles" are actually kanten, a traditional Japanese noodle that is made from algae. In place of the savory beef or vegetable broth you generally get with a bowl of ramen, The Dessert Kitchen serves ice cream ramen with a bed of crushed ice and condensed milk. On the side, you're welcome to add toppings, just as you can with a bowl of traditional ramen — but with a sweet twist: Think things like mango, cantaloupe, white peach syrup, and mochi instead of meat and vegetables. Oh, and if you're vegan or otherwise someone who avoids dairy, you can opt for dairy-free coconut milk instead of the standard condensed milk.
Unsurprisingly, these unusual dessert noodles have been a huge hit on social media. Not only are they interesting to look at (I mean, have you ever seen anything else like them?), they're also undoubtedly a fascinating gustatory experience from a textural point of view — what's officially known as "mouthfeel," which is exactly what it sounds like: What food feels like in your mouth.
Research from Rutgers University and the Monell Chemical Senses Center, USA, suggests that balance of "fatty" and "astringent" mouthfeels — that is, something that feels creamy as you eat it versus something that feels dry — are the ultimate in textural food enjoyment. This is pure conjecture on my part, I'd be willing to bet that with something like ice cream ramen, you're getting a really unique balance of creamy decadence from the condensed milk and crispness from the kanten noodles.
According to The Dessert Kitchen's website, ice cream ramen (which is listed under "Kanten") sells for about $8, which is not too bad for an unusual and delightful dessert you'll have a tough time finding elsewhere. The Dessert Kitchen also offers a variety of other picture-worthy desserts and drinks, including shaved ice cream, pudding, parfaits, and teas — so basically you can spend an afternoon treating your sweet tooth like you've never done before.