Japan is known for its most famous and satisfying food, ramen. Ramen is composed of four major types, shio ramen (salt-based) miso ramen (soybean paste flavor), tonkotsu ramen,(pork bone broth ramen)and shoyu ramen (soy sauce-based ramen). These varieties are available not only in Japan, but all around the world.
Hence, different cities in Japan have their individual, unique ramen variety.
In this post, we will talk about the four major types of ramen as well as the regional varieties in Japan.
RAMEN AND ITS DEFINITION
Ramen is a Japanese noodle dish, typically consisting of Chinese-style wheat noodles, served in fish-based or meat broth, flavored with miso or soy sauce, and garnished with sliced pork, dried seaweed (nori), scallions, and menma.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF EATING RAMEN NOODLES
Ramen noodles are considered as healthy foods especially when combined with other ingredients. Though ramen itself does not have much nutrients per calorie, it has enough iron that helps blood circulation, and prevents the risk of fatigue and anemia.
Here are some of the potential health benefits when you eat plant-based ramen noodles.
- Ramen helps reduce inflammation.
- Can lower cholesterol and prevents the risk of heart disease
- Ramen broth made with garlic can also prevent cancer, lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
- Ramen noodles can also boost the immune system.
Knowing the advantages of eating ramen, you might want to know the regional types of ramen so you’ll know what to order when you visit Japan or any ramen shops worldwide. Here they are…
Types Of Ramen
Shio ramen is a type of ramen noodles seasoned with sea salt. It has a chicken broth base. Compared to other varieties, shio ramen’s broth is lighter and thinner. The preparation starts from boiling down the chicken bones, then seasoned with seafood products such as dashi stock, bonito flakes, and dried sardines.
Miso ramen originated in a region of Hokkaido, Sapporo. This Japanese noodle soup has a broth made from miso, mixed with ground pork, vegetables, and chicken stock. Thus, its name is derived from its main ingredient, the miso. The miso ramen soup is rich, thick, and hazy in appearance.
Miso ramen also uses a variety of toppings to achieve its umami flavor. These include leeks, scallions, bean sprouts, onion, sliced pork, pickled ginger, butter, and sweet corn.
Tonkotsu ramen originated in Fukuoka and Kyushu, Japan. It is a unique type of ramen made of fresh noodles, soft boiled eggs, tender pork belly, shiitake mushrooms, and very rich and fatty pork broth. It has a creamy and salty flavor. And tonkotsu broth has a pale appearance.
Shoyu ramen has a soy-sauce base. Its name is derived from the Japanese word shoyu, which means soy sauce— a popular ramen seasoning in one of the regions in central Japan. But Shoyu is a native of Yokohama.
This Japanese ramen has a broth made with vegetable stock or chicken. Since this ramen uses soy sauce for its seasoning, shoyu broth has a clear brown appearance.
Shoyu ramen’s taste is salty and tangy.
12 REGIONAL TYPES OF RAMEN
The styles of the ramen dishes vary depending on which country they come from. Each region has its own and unique ramen recipe. Let’s check out the different ramen styles you can explore in Japan.
Nagasaki is usually made of fried pork, vegetables with lard, and seafood. Its broth is made with chicken and pork bones. The preparation of the Champon ramen utilizes a single pan since the noodles are boiled in the broth or soup. The ingredients in making a nagasaki may differ, but its main ingredients are ramen noodles, fried pork (thinly sliced), seafood, and vegetables.
Kagoshima Ramen is a variety of ramen offered and prepared in Kagoshima Prefecture, southern Japan. It’s mainly based in tonkotsu. The ramen noodles being used are a bit thicker compared to other local varieties. This ramen is also known for its mild broth flavor.
Its main ingredients are ramen, chicken stock, vegetables, pork broth, dried mushrooms, and sardines. Kagoshima ramen is available in tonkotsu ramen shops in Tokyo.
Kurume Ramen is known as the original Tonkotsu ramen. It was initially served in Kyushu in 1937.
This Japanese ramen is distinguished by its cloudy white broth which is made with pork bones. Its main ingredients are ramen noodles, nori, pork, bamboo shoots, and scallions.
You can also add chili oil, green onions, and soft boiled egg to enhance its flavor.
Hakodate Ramen is one of the famous local foods in Hokkaido prefecture, and is among the major ramen in the city. Hakodate has a shio broth (salt-based soup) that is clear in appearance, and uses thin straight noodles. It is flavored with kelp, chicken, vegetables, and bonito.
The main ingredients in making hakodate ramen aside from the noodles, are thick slices of roasted pork, bamboo strips, and scallions. A bowl of hakodate ramen may also have fish cake, nori (dried seaweed), spinach, and boiled eggs. You can find hakodate in any of the ramen shop in Japan.
Okinawa Soba is a type of hot noodle soup consisting of chewy noodles that are made with water, egg, and wheat flour. It is produced in Okinawa Prefecture, Japan and known to the regional collective trademark of The Okinawa Noodle Manufacturing Co-op. in Okinawa.
It has a light broth made with katsuo-dashi stock. Soba is typically topped with fish cake, pork belly, red ginger, and green onions.
Nagoya “Taiwan” Ramen
Nagoya “Taiwan” Ramen is a spicy noodle dish made with seasoned pork, chewy noodles, and spring onion. It was developed in Nagoya, Japan. Though the name suggests this ramen as a Taiwanese dish, it’s really not quite one. Nagoya “Taiwan” Ramen is actually a combination of Taiwanese and Nagoya dishes.
Aside from the wavy noodles, the main ingredients used in making Nagoya ramen are chives, spicy chicken broth, chili oil, and stir fried minced pork. The usual tare added is soy sauce, but some also used shio and miso.
Onomichi Ramen is a noodle soup dish created at the Shaukeen ramen shop in Hiroshima prefecture, Japan. This type of ramen has a fresh soy sauce based soup and uses flat curly noodles. Its soup stock is made with high quality small fish and fatty pork belly or back.
Onomichi ramen used simple toppings like roast pork, Chinese bamboo shoots or fermented bamboo shoots, and spring onions. But the ingredients of this ramen may vary depending on the ramen shops it is being prepared.
Wakayama Ramen is a Tokyo-style ramen served in Tokushima broth. It is also often referred to as Chuka-Soba (Chinese noodles). Wakayama is made with well-cooked thin straight noodles, flavored with a clear soy sauce, also called “Shako-Mae” style. There are also ramen shops that prepare wakayama with tonkotsu base mixed with soy sauce known as the “Ide” style.
The main ingredients in preparing wakayama ramen are the ramen noodles, soy sauce, pork, scallions, narutomaki, and stock. A bowl of ramen may also include boiled egg/soft boiled eggs, and green onions.
Kitakata Ramen is a type of ramen native to Kitakata, Fukushima. It is among Japan’s most popular ramen. It has a soy sauce base with noodles that are thicker compared to the noodles used in other ramen styles.
Kitakata ramen is usually flavored with tonkotsu pork bone broth and sardines (niboshi). Other ingredients included in making kitakata ramen are spring onions, groudfish (naruto), fermented bamboo shoots, and thinly sliced roasted pork (chashu).
Hakata Tonkotsu Ramen
Hakata Tonkotsu Ramen is a hot noodle soup with rich, white, and creamy broth. The hakata ramen broth is made from pork bones, head, and other ingredients. The name of this ramen is derived from its main ingredients, tonkotsu – which means pork bones and hakata, which refers to ramen.
This variety of ramen was invented in north-west Kyushu and among the country’s popular ramen variations.
Sapporo Miso Ramen
Sapporo ramen is a ramen noodle in miso broth. The medium thick crinkled noodles in a miso broth is seasoned with bean sprouts and onions. This type of ramen basically features its rich broth that is flavored with red miso paste.
The chili peppers, tomatoes, and other spices added to the chicken stock give the soup a savory and spicy taste. You can also add soft boiled eggs in your bowl of ramen.
Abura soba, also known as the oil noodles, is a type of ramen without broth (soupless ramen). Instead, the noodles are coated in oil, then seasoned. This Japanese dish uses traditional ingredients such as shoyu tare base, menma, shredded nori, green onions, and aroma oil.
Other ingredients and toppings included in the above-mentioned ramen dishes are menma, pickled ginger, chashu (thinly sliced morsels of pork belly), butter, wakame, kakumi, sesame seeds, and umeboshi.
Indeed, these dishes are absolutely a must-try foodie that you should not pass up when exploring Japan.