The Mexicans have mole poblano. The Japanese now have chocolate ramen.
You could be forgiven for mistaking the coated ramen noodles and dark, rich sauce for black beans. Or soy sauce.
After all, the rest of the bowl features ingredients commonly found in noodle soups: fatty slices of moist pork, freshly sliced leeks, and a generous dash of spicy black pepper.
But that's where tradition ends and novelty flavours begin.
In the two-week run-up to Valentine's Day, a small ramen chain called Mensho will be selling pork ramen bowls topped with chocolate chips for the adventurous and amorous taste buds.
In a note to customers, chef Shono Tomoharu explained the method to his culinary madness. Instead of using a traditional anchovy stock, Tomoharu opted for pork to serve as a complement to the sweetness of chocolate.
Given the compatibility of chocolate and pepper, the soup is spiced generously with the seasoning.
And to ‘harmonize' all the flavours, freshly sliced leeks are added to the bowl.
Taste testers at RocketNews24 describe being hit first with the powerful punch of garlic, followed by a "pleasant sweetness" that leaves a sharp, clean aftertaste.
It's the latest chocolate-related food novelty to come out of Japan in recent weeks.
Last month, McDonald's Japan launched chocolate-drizzled French fries, allowing customers to drizzle white and dark chocolate on their warm potato sticks.
RocketNews had also reported on the release of instant yakisoba noodles with a chocolate sauce which was universally condemned as awful by the office taste testers.
Meanwhile, the chocolate ramen will be sold until February 14 in limited quantities at Mensho Tokyo for 880 JPY or $10.25 CAD.
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