The secret to eating ramen is that you must eat quickly before the noodles absorb the soup and lose their texture. Typically it takes about 10 minutes to order, eat and be on your way.
Everyone has their favourite style of ramen. Popular restaurants in Japan have long lines of people outside and can sell out in 1-2 hours.
There are three main types of ramen broth:
• Soy base (shoyu)
• Salt base (shio)
• Miso base
Soy based ramen is based on a chicken and vegetable stock with plenty of soy sauce added giving it a salty, savoury, light taste.
Salt based ramen is made with plenty of salt and a combination of chicken, vegetables, fish and seaweed. The soup is light and clear.
Miso based ramen was developed in Hokkaido in the north of Japan and uses a lot of miso giving it a thick, slightly sweet hearty soup.
|Shoyu (soy based ramen)|
The soup for the ramen is made by slowly boiling various combinations of meat, fish and vegetables for between 6 to 24 hours. The secret for really good ramen soup is a closely guarded secret by the top ramen chefs in Japan. Chefs experiment in the search of new flavours and soup bases / stock.
Typical toppings for ramen include:
• Spring onions
• Boiled eggs
• Sliced pork (チャーシュー)
• Dried seaweed
Ramen is popular all over Japan and each region has its own unique speciality.
Sapporo in Hokkaido is famous for its rich miso ramen
Tokyo style ramen consists of thin curly noodles served in a soy flavoured chicken broth
Yokohama ramen consists of thick noodles served in a soy flavoured pork broth
Hakata ramen from Fukuoka in Kyushu has a rich, milky pork bone broth called tonkotsu
There is even a ramen museum and ramen town noodle theme park in Yokohama, where you can see the history of ramen in Japan, and sample ramen from around the country.