“What is ramen?”
“Wait… there’s “real” ramen?”
“Wait… they’re not just the stuff in styrofoam cups?”
These are a few of the questions I’ve had to answer ever since we took on this ramen mission. Yes, there is more to ramen than the Cup Noodles and Top Ramen. The real deal is just so… much… more!
Although I eat more ramen than most people I know, I’m still learning. I have yet to experience authentic ramen in Japan! Someday I will… All my ramen critiquing is really just based on what I think tastes good and the overall atmosphere. But I hope this post will be helpful to those who want to know what ramen is all about!
Here are the basics of ramen:
- Broth – stock made from a variety of ingredients, some places go beyond what’s listed!
- Tonkotsu – pork-bone broth cooked overnight or even days!
- Shoyu – soy sauce flavored
- Miso – fermented soybean paste
- Shio – clear, salt broth made with chicken and vegetables
- Spicy – any broth base with spicy chili bean paste
- Noodles – made with wheat flour, can be ordered soft or firm.
- Thick – goes well with miso broths
- Thin – goes well with shio
- Curly – shoyu
- Straight – tonkotsu and shio
- Toppings – They can be anything, but I listed the most common.
- Chashu – tender pork slices braised for long periods
- Menma – bamboo shoots
- Pickled Ginger
- Flavored Egg (hard-boiled or soft-boiled)
Here are some examples of what ramen may look like, with different combinations of toppings. I hope you’ll like our pretty collection of colorful photos and make you hungry for ramen!
For history and other specifics, check out Ramen on Wikipedia. Because I’m too lazy to explain it.