Ajitama eggs and onsen eggs are both boiled eggs.
However, ajitama eggs have firm and seasoned egg whites coupled with a soft and succulent egg yolk.
Onsen eggs have soft jelly like egg whites and firm but little soft egg yolks.
1. They are like Mario and Luigi
They have a lot of similarities, so you can say they are twin brothers.
An ajitama egg and onsen egg are both made by boiling them.
They are both used as toppings for food.
Ajitama eggs are for ramen.
And onsen eggs are for gyudon and other rice bowls.
They are both Japanese dishes.
2. And they taste really good
When I was a kid, I could only get onsen eggs at a hot spring ryokan, and I could only get ajitama eggs at a ramen shop.
They were my favorite egg dish, but my family and I didn't know how to make it.
There is no teacher or recipe books to teach me how.
Of course there was no Internet at that time. They were special dishes unique to each place...
3. An ajitama egg looks like this picture
Ajitama egg has a firm egg white and soft egg yolk.
And it is marinated with soy sauce and other ingredients, so it has some taste already.
Debatably, ajitama is one of the top 2 most popular ramen toppings of all time. (The other is chashu)
There are many variations of ajitama available to suit different preferences.
Depending on the restaurant, ajitama yolks can be hard-boiled, half-boiled, made with a runny consistency, marinated in soy sauce or vinegar.
Some restaurants even use quail eggs instead of chicken eggs.
4. An Onsen egg looks like this picture
Onsen eggs have a silky egg white, and a solid but soft-boiled custard-like-yolk.
It is the opposite of ajitama eggs.
It doesn’t have seasoning on it when it is served because it is just boiled in a special way,
So you use sauce before you eat the onsen egg.
It is called onsen tamago in Japan.
Onsen means hot springs and tamago means egg in Japanese.
5. In English onsen tamago literally translates to “hot spring egg”
People usually eat onsen tamago at hot spring ryokans, a Japanese-style inn.
Eating onsen tamago is one of the things you do on a hot spring trip.
Popular onsen tamago in Japan are...
- Radium hot spring egg (Iizaka Onsen, Fukushima)
- Kurotamago (Owakudani, Kanagawa)
- Arayutamago (Yumura Onsen, Hyogo)
- Jigoku yudetamago (Beppu, Oita)
- Onsen tamago (Nozawa Onsen, Nagano)
6. Ajitama eggs are cooked in boiling water(100C/212F)
When you cook eggs for ajitama, you boil them in boiling water for 8 minutes,
And then cool them down in ice cold water immediately.
So the egg yolks won’t be completely cooked.
And they have a soft and nice texture.
7. Onsen eggs are cooked at a lower temperature(68C/154F)
Onsen eggs have a hard yolk while the egg white is soft.
Do you know the reason why an onsen tamago is like this?
The answer is...
The egg yolk and egg white solidifies at different temperatures.
The yolk solidifies at 154F (68C)
While the egg white solidifies at 176F (80C).
When you make an onsen tamago, you take advantage of this temperature gap.
Usually you use water in 154F (68C) to cook onsen tamago for 30 minutes.
8. Onsen egg recipe
Do you want to make an onsen tamago? Here is the recipe...
Eggs 4 (medium or large)
Hot Water 5 cups
Cold Water 1 cup
1. Boil water in a pot.
2. After the water boils, remove the pot from the heat.
3. Pour cold water into the pot.
4. Put eggs into the pot.
5. Close the lid on and wait for 12 minutes.
6. Break the egg shell.
Use a thick-walled pot. If you use a thin-walled pot, wait for 15 minutes instead of 12 minutes.
If you have sous vide, it is a lot easier.
Set sous vide at 154F (68C) and heat up the eggs for 30 minutes.
9. Ajitama egg recipe
Learn how to make your own in the comfort of your home with these easy-to-find ingredients!
Let’s get started!
5 chicken eggs
3.5 oz (100ml) soy sauce
1.7 oz (50ml) mirin
3.5 oz (100ml) dashi soup stock
1 clove garlic
1 TBSP sugar
1. Mince garlic
2. Boil water in a large pot and put in the cold eggs (straight from the fridge) using a ladle to prevent the cracking of the eggs. Boil for exactly 7 minutes while constantly stirring to move the yolk into the center.
3. Put eggs in ice cold water for 3 minutes.
4. Peel the shell in the water.
5. Mix together soy sauce, mirin, soup stock, sugar and garlic and put the peeled eggs into this marinade.
6.Place a small lid (aluminum foil will work well) directly onto the eggs to allow the eggs to fully absorb the mixture.
7. Leave in the fridge overnight (if you leave it in too long, the ajitama will turn out very salty)
Due to Covid, a lot of good ramen restaurants have closed
It makes me feel very angry.
I used to eat ramen out frequently,
But in this situation,
Ramen shops have started to shorten the hours, limit the number of customers, or even closed their shops.
It has affected the industry so much.
I am afraid good ramen will be gone
But meanwhile, you still can enjoy ramen in the comfort of your own home.
Here are some of my recommendations for ramen lovers.
1. Sapporo Ichiban Shio Flavor
MY THOUGHTS OVERALL ★★★★☆
In truth, Sapporo Ichiban delivers a good quality shio ramen experience.
Actually, it is very difficult to find good shio ramen.
Do you know why?
Because it is very difficult to make it since it is very simple.
There are many good shoyu and miso flavored instant noodles out there.
But I feel specifically, the shio flavor market is monopolized by Sapporo Ichiban.
Think about this for a moment having good shio ramen for your dinner with your favorite ramen toppings.
Now, you want some, don’t you?
2. Nissin Raoh Shoyu Flavor
MY THOUGHTS OVERALL ★★★★★
It is nearly impossible to make restaurant quality noodles at home without the right tools and equipment.
How can you beat that?
Using Raoh’s shoyu flavour will help you achieve this easily. This is top-notch ramen hands down!
One pinnacle of instant noodles is the soy sauce flavor. It is expensive compared to regular ones but let me tell you, it deserves every single penny.
In a nutshell, I loved every bit of it.
...And I am sure you will too.
3. The problem here is that no toppings come with these packets.
Here are some topping options and recipes for you.
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Our best-selling bowls are here to fix all the issues you face with small, inefficient tableware.
After struggling with spillage and leakage during dinner time,
We decided to introduce APEX S.K’s large soup bowls to the market.
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About the Author
Kei is a self-proclaimed ramen lover, blog writer and founder of "Apex S.K. Japanese tableware".
"I am from Ibaraki, Japan.
Ramen is great! It can bring you a sense of happiness and satisfaction that no other food can. I have been eating ramen for 30 years.
If there is no ramen, my life would be miserable.
Ten years ago, I worked as an office worker. The job was really stressful - excessive working hours, low wages, unpaid overtime work, and constantly being yelled at by my boss.
I was new and alone, no girlfriend, no friends, and felt very lonely.
My only oasis was the ramen shop near the office. For me, the ramen chef there was literally an angel. I saw a halo on his head. (No joke)
Tonkotsu shoyu ramen was my all-time favorite. He made ramen with broth chock-full of umami flavor, nice chewy handmade noodles, and tender chashu.
My greatest dream is connect people with ramen through my blog. I want to share a lot of interesting and funny stories and ramen trivia with you.
Knowing more about ramen can help you appreciate your ramen and make it taste extra delicious."
Did you know that we offer more than just a ramen blog?
We also have an exclusive collection of ramen-inspired t-shirts and hoodies that any true noodle lover will adore.
Head over to ApexRamen and check it out for yourself.