California Tortilla Rolls Out the Ramen Burrito

Culinary marvel or, per David Chang, the "end of everything"?

Behold, California Tortilla's ramen burrito. Photograph courtesy of California Tortilla.

Just when the whole ramen-burger fad seemed to be waning, California Tortilla goes ahead and introduces the ramen burrito (ram-rito?). The Rockville-based chain rolls out the creation Tuesday at 40 locations across the East Coast.

So what does the love child of an Asian soup and a Cal-Mex burrito look like? Basically a tortilla stuffed with noodles, plus avocado, spinach, corn, cilantro, and Sriracha-pickled onions—because no trendy Frankenfood would be complete without Sriracha and/or a special pickle. Customers can pick chili-sauced chicken, steak, or pork for their protein, and add a special Bee Sting Thai Sweet Chili Hot Sauce for heat. (Cultural side note: There’s no tradition of ramen in Thailand—but then again, clearly no one is aiming for authenticity here.) The combination can also be ordered in bowl form, over greens.

To be honest, I’m a little disappointed in the lack of art in this particular ramen hybrid—there’s no “tortilla” fashioned from bound ramen noodles, no side of tonkotsu-style dipping broth, no chasu roast pork filling. Then again, as ramen master David Chang notes in his recent Lucky Peach article “The State of Ramen”: “I’ve heard tell of a ramen burrito—that’s the fucking end of everything.”

Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.