What's With This Hybrid Food Craze That Has Taken Over New York City?

Aug 8, 2013 10:00 am

Cronut. Ramen burger. Pizzagiana. Will it stop?

Is the ramen burger here to stay? Why is it so appealing? Questions, galore!
Is the ramen burger here to stay? Why is it so appealing? Questions, galore!
 

Why bite into just one food item when you can enjoy two together? This question appears to be the impetus behind what is going on in some of New York’s hottest restaurants and bakeries, jamming up reservation systems and leading to endless waits. Two entirely separate guilty pleasures — sometimes with wildly different flavors — are merged to form a single calorific super-food, if you will. Let’s take a look at some examples of this ridiculous ongoing trend.

Visitors to Brooklyn food fair Smorgasburg this past weekend got the chance to try out the “ramen burger.” The brainchild of chef Keizo Shimamoto, who hopes to open a standalone ramen burger restaurant, the item consists of a beef patty wrapped in fried ramen noodles instead of a bun. Line wait times hovered around two hours for the opportunity to taste one of the 150 burgers, which sold out. It should be noted that this weekend marked only the product’s debut — it is already being heralded as “the next cronut.”

A pizza-shaped version of chicken parmigiana is the main subject of an article about the city’s Quality Italian restaurant in this week’s New York Post. Critic Steve Cuozzo is so gaga over the two-fer that he anoints it “the summer’s runaway whimsical hit” and claims that it “blows away” the highly acclaimed veal parmesan at hotspot Carbone.

Then, there’s the matter of the aforementioned c*****. Need we say more here? We’ve already made a pledge to limit our coverage on this one.

Just how far back does this combination craze go and where do we draw the line on what exactly falls into the category? For example, can we look at the globalization of Korean tacos as being an early indication of things to come? What can we make of fast food chains like Taco Bell releasing items such as "waffle tacos" – does this too fall in line with the ever-expanding market for an explosion of flavor? Is this trend here to stay or is just a fleeting blip in the city’s storied food history? Yes, there are more questions than answers at this point. Not to mention that if chefs can combine croissants and donuts, and ramen with beef, what could possibly be the next hybrid. Feel free to venture your guesses in the comments.

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