Japanese Ramen

Japanese ramen is a popular dish consisting of noodles served in a meat or fish-based broth. Ramen dishes are traditionally divided into three main categories, known as tare: shio, shoyu and miso. Learn More >

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Japanese Ramen

Ramen is a Japanese dish consisting of noodles served in a meat or fish-based broth, often flavoured with soy sauce or miso, and uses toppings such as sliced pork, dried seaweed, menma, and boiled eggs. It is believed that ramen was first introduced to Japan by Chinese immigrants in the late 19th century. Since then, it has become one of the most popular dishes in Japan. In the West, most people think they’ve tried ramen from plastic packets on supermarket shelves but real ramen is one of the wonders of Japanese food.

The main styles of ramen

Ramen dishes are traditionally divided into three main categories, known as tare: shio, shoyu and miso. The tare is the component of the dish which is used to season the broth. Shio ramen is made with a clear chicken or vegetable broth and salty seasoning. Shoyu ramen uses soy sauce in the broth for a more savoury flavour. Miso ramen has a rich, fermented miso paste added to the broth for depth of flavour.

Other popular ramen dishes

There are many different styles of ramen and the type of broth and toppings used vary depending on the region of Japan;

  • Tonkutso ramen – Made with a pork bone broth that is simmered for hours until it becomes rich and creamy.
  • Black ramen – Made using black soybean paste as its base. This gives the soup a richer, more umami flavour. Black ramen is also typically made with pork and the noodles are usually thinner and less curly than those used in other types of ramen.
  •  Mazemen ramen - Ramen without broth is called mazemen. Mazemen is a dry ramen dish that is typically served with a sauce. Since there is no broth, the noodles tend to be higher quality and the main feature of the dish. The sauce can then be anything from a simple soy sauce to a more complex mixture of flavours. 

Different types of ramen noodles

There are four main types of noodles used in ramen: wheat noodles, egg noodles, buckwheat noodles, and cellophane noodles. Each type of noodle has a unique texture and flavour, so you can try different kinds to find your favourite. Although wheat noodles are the most common type of noodles used in ramen.

How do you eat ramen?

There are many ways to eat ramen, but the most important thing is to have both the noodles and the broth together. To do this, hold your chopsticks in your dominant hand and then place the ramen ladle in your other. Pick up some noodles with your chopsticks and a little of the broth with your ladle. Eat your noodles closely followed by a slurp of the broth. Slurping allows you to get all the flavour from the noodles and broth. It also cools down the noodles so you don't burn your tongue. Once you have eaten all of your noodles and toppings, finish by slurping up any remaining broth in your bowl.

Read our guide to ramen and top ramen recipes

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