Like the plot of a classic gangster flick, just when you think you are out of Japan's creatively crazy flavor combinations game, they pull you back in again for one last job! I swore off the sakura Red Bulls and Sake flavored Kit-Kats for a while, but when I saw that baked goods giant Yamazaki Bread had put out a new flavor of their nostalgic sandwich series Lunch Pack, I couldn't resist. Not just because the new sandwich flavor is ramen, but based off of the king of Japan's hearty ramen craze--Yoshimuraya.

Your typical Lunch Pack looks like this.

Lunch Pack is a popular sandwich series in Japan, known for their thin and crustless white bread that originally featured pretty standard flavors like egg and peanut-butter, but have since expanded to dessert jams and of course more daring flavors like croquette, milk, pasta, hamburg, and kinako mochi. As a new seasonal release, Lunch Pack is stepping up their game with a new Yokohama Ie-kei Ramen sandwich.

Noodle breads aren't exactly a new trend in Japan, with yakisoba bread being a long-time selling carb-monster. Ramen isn't just about noodles, however, with one crucial flavor factor being the soup. This is especially true of the beloved ramen shop that supervised and worked with Yamazaki on the ramen sandwich release--Yoshimuraya. Yoshimuraya is said to be original shop in Yokohama that lit the fuse for Japan's love of Ie-kei, or "house-style" ramen (家系ラーメン).

If you've seen this style of ramen, you can probably thank Yoshimuraya


Source: YouTube

Ie-kei ramen is known for its soup, a mix of pork and soy-sauce as a soup base, with thick, flat noodles. At Yoshimuraya the pork slabs are almost like steaks, and the soup is a meal in itself with a hearty and filling flavor hybrid of pork and garlic--which is why you'll always find a line going out the door. If you want a good look at it, I recommend my favorite site for all things ramen, Ramen Adventures.

That's quite a noodle legacy to live up to, so let's see how it holds up!

Your packaging: Lunch Pack mascots ramening it up and an appetizing Yoshimuraya bowl.


Thick noodles and a sauce modeled after Yoshimuraya's signature porky soy-sauce broth.


Not exactly a great shot, but pork chunks to try and replicate those famous chashu slabs.


As for taste? I'll be honest with you, Lunch Packs aren't exactly gourmet sandwiches. So if you're expecting all the magical wonder of a rich bowl of ramen, you may want to temper your expectations if you're expecting soul-warming ramen broth to pour out after your first bite.

That said, even though the appeal of slurping up your meal wasn't there, I was surprised by just how close the sauce came to honoring the spirit of a steamy bowl ie-kei ramen, and pretty much made me forget about the pork and noodles in the sandwich. If you've ever had yakisoba bread, the texture is quite similar, although the noodles are in chunks. For a readymade sandwich, you can do a lot worse--although I recommend toasting these to get an enhanced experience. It's not as good as a ramen burger, but worth a try--especially at 150 yen ($1.50 USD).

Just don't forget to stop by and get the real deal at Yoshimuraya!

By - grape Japan editorial staff.