The spotlight has burned bright in recent months on a few superstars of Japanese cuisine. American dining consumers are embracing everything from bold seasonings like furkikake and togarashi to congee (savory porridge). Above all though, it seems that ramen has made the biggest menu moves here, showing up in everything from authentic Japanese noodle shops to eclectic American restaurants.
In fact, Datassential reports that menu mentions of ramen have gone up almost 50 percent in the last four years and predicts it will go up another 20 percent over the next four years.
All of that movement in ramen signals opportunity for signaturization of experience—it’s familiar, well-liked, and customizable. At its core, this Japanese comfort food stars a delicious, soul-soothing broth; savory, satisfying inclusions; and delicate, chewy noodles. As it gains familiarity in the U.S., chefs are opening it up to creative translation, serving up the promise of a hearty, comforting experience, but bending it toward their restaurants’ sensibility.
Butterball Foodservice demonstrates how easily ramen can be adapted onto any number of menus here, pulling in different global influences while delivering on the promise of a ramen experience.
Its Gluten-Free Turkey Ramen stars a flavorful turkey broth, leeks and spinach, soy sauce, raw carrots, soft-boiled egg and Gluten-Free Italian Turkey Meatballs.
“We subbed out the traditional pork belly for a leaner turkey meatball,” says Heather Ness, Foodservice Marketing Manager at Butterball. “With Romano cheese and Italian seasonings, it not only offers up great flavor, but it gives diners a familiar and well-loved protein—the meatball.”
We’ve seen other great examples of turkey meatballs finding a happy home in ramen, including at Goro Ramen in Oklahoma City, Okla. Its Turkey Taipan, featuring turkey broth, turkey meatballs, ajitama (soft-boiled egg), corn, mustard greens, fried shallots and Chinese broccoli. “Similar to a bowl build, ramen invites creative flavor combinations—from the protein and vegetables to the type of broth and garnishes used,” she says.
Ramen’s broader menu potential is significant, thanks to its street-food sensibility and comfort-food promise. Relying on a familiar, beloved protein like turkey is a smart way into this global flavor trend.
Global Takes on Meatballs
Meatballs are homey and comforting, but they also welcome a bit of wordly adventure. Here are three trending global flavors that build on the wholesome, satisfying profile of turkey meatballs.
1. Singapore Turkey Meatballs
Add mirin, sugar, soy sauce, garlic and Thai sweet chili sauce
2. Pho Turkey Meatballs
Add cinnamon, cloves, coriander, star anise and cardamom
3. Bulgogi Meatballs
Add soy sauce, brown sugar, apple purée, garlic, ginger, sesame oil
Explore More Trending Asian Flavors
Visit these recipes for more inspiration:
For more great ideas, visit ButterballFoodservice.com