Ramen is boiled noodles served in different flavoured soups with an array of toppings.
Ramen is a very popular noodle dish in Japan and has become an international symbol of Japanese cuisine.
The history of ramen is not so long.
Ramen originally came from China and has developed into a traditional Japanese style. After Japan opened its borders, the Chinatowns of Japan naturally developed in various parts of the country, including Yokohama, Hakodate and Kobe, and along with them came Chinese noodles.
In the middle of the Maiji era (1868-1912), many ramen stands started to appear in Yokohama’s Chinatown and ramen became popular as casual food.
In 1910, Rairaiken first opened a ramen specialty store in Asakusa in Tokyo where it became famous for ramen and soon spread to all over the country.
In 1958, Momofuku Ando established Nissin Food and invented the very first instant noodle, it was called ‘Chicken Ramen’.
Ramen can be defined by their broths, soup flavour, toppings and noodle texture. Broths can be made with chicken bone, pork bone, niboshi (dried sardines), and/or kombu (dried kelp).
Here is a list of the most popular ramen that can be categorised by their soup flavours.
Shio (salt) ramen:
This is traditionally the way Ramen soup is flavoured. It’s clear, light coloured which is made with salt and any combination of chicken, vegetables, fish, and seaweed. Noodle texture and thickness varies among shio ramen.
Shoyu (soy sauce) ramen:
It is clear brown coloured, and made by adding a soy-based sauce to a clear stock usually made from chicken and various vegetables. It is popular in Honshu (the biggest island of Japan). Shoyu ramen usually has curly noodles rather than straight ones.
Tonkotsu (pork bone) ramen:
It is usually cloudy white, creamy soup. It is made from boiling ground up pork bones for 12-15 hours till all the collagen has dissolved into the stock as gelatine. The noodles are thin and straight. It is a specialty of Kyushu (southern island of Japan), particularly Hakata in Fukuoka.
Miso (Miso paste) ramen:
Originally from Hokkaido. It is flavoured with miso paste with chicken or fish broth. The miso creates robust and rich flavour of the soup which is perfect for places where they have a long winter. Corn and butter are commonly used for toppings.
According to ‘World ramen book 2013’, ramen overtook sushi and become the most favourite food. The most popular flavour with foreigners is tonkotsu, whereas Japanese people like shoyu ramen the most.
Which flavour do you like the most? There are some ramen shops in Melbourne. Do you have a favourite shop?
Visit and enjoy ramen more in Japan!
Surprisingly or not, there are currently 35,350 ramen shops in Japan! Some are very famous shops and some are known as micro shops but have delicious ramen. You can try regional speciality ramen in each major city.
Nisshin ramen museums are interesting places where you can learn ramen history and create your very own instant ramen.
Cup noodle museum (Yokohama)
The instant ramen museum (Oosaka)
一蘭(Ichiran) is one of the most famous tonkotsu ramen shops.
The unique style of system, such as ticketing to order from a vending machine and eating alone in your individual booth, gives you a different, if not interesting, experience!