Chashu is a thinly-sliced piece of braised pork. The origin of the word “chashu" is actually Chinese and it literally means, fork-roasted (pork).
However, the Japanese meaning of the word refers to braised pork in general.
If ramen toppings are Power Rangers,
1. Chashu is the Red Ranger
It is the most popular topping in ramen,
The leader of ramen toppings.
Chashu is always at the center of the stage.
2. True story:
In the spring of the year I turned 18 years old,
I made my first chashu at my apartment.
It was purely for myself. Not for my family or friends.
I figured out how to make it by reading a recipe book.
And it turned out really good.
Have you ever felt like this?
"Oh, I can actually make this."
For things that look complicated and difficult but actually you could make it.
I felt so good even though my kitchen got so messy.
Chashu is good because…
3. Chashu is tender, juicy and has a lot of umami
Umami-rich, melt-in-your mouth, tender, marinated thin pork slices on top of a piping hot bowl of flavourful ramen.
In addition, the pork fat enhances the flavor of the ramen soup.
4. Chashu goes great with all the ramen
Having a slice of chashu in ramen is standard at every ramen shop.
Chashu goes well with tonkotsu ramen, shoyu ramen, shio ramen, and miso ramen.
Because there is chashu, the noodles taste good, and the soup tastes good.
And the other way around.
5. The most popular kinds of marinade for chashu is soy sauce
And this soy sauce marinade is made of…
Soy sauce, sake, mirin, green onions, minced garlic, and ginger.
Other than that,
You can also use miso sauce and salt sauce as marinade.
6. Chashu makes great food other than ramen
Out of chashu, you can create chashu-don, fried rice, rice balls, sandwiches, and pan-fried vegetables.
7. Chashu don has a salty sweet taste
Chashu don consists of tender savory chashu on a hot bowl of rice, covered in sauce that is specifically made for this dish.
The sauce is salty and sweet.
Scorched chashu brings you a really savory aroma.
Chashu don is made of chashu, rice, sauce, and green onions.
8. The location of the cut of pork plays a vital role in the taste of the chashu
In order to make ideal slices of chashu in your mind,
Choosing the right part of pork is very important.
If you want chashu that is melt-in-your mouth tender, you should choose pork belly.
Or if you want chashu that has a nice chewiness, then you should pick pork loin.
Keep reading and you will find out more…
9. Pork belly makes really tender chashu
This is because pork belly chashu contains a lot of gelatin.
Do you know about collagen? This is a type of protein.
Pork fat contains a lot of collagen.
By cooking this pork belly in high heat,
You can turn collagen into gelatin.
The point of making pork belly chashu is simmering it in high heat.
Doing so, meat gets tender and you can get rid of the extra fat.
By the way, pork belly is called “butabara” in Japanese.
So this kind of chashu is called “butabara chashu”.
10. Pork loin chashu has a nice chewiness
Pork loin chashu is the lean part of the pork. This is a great option for the health-conscious,
Or for people who don’t like the oily taste of fatty meats.
It is kind of difficult to make this kind of chashu right.
Because pork loin doesn’t have enough fat,
So it tends to be dry and tough.
In order to avoid dry pork loin chashu,
You will need to cook it at a relatively low temperature.
This is because actin in the pork solidifies at the temperature of 66 to 75C(151 to 167F)
It makes your chashu tough.
And you want to avoid that.
In order to make pork loin chashu, you will need to cook the pork for 65C(150F) for 7 hours.
Maybe a sous vide will come in handy.
This way, you can enjoy chashu that is safe, juicy, and has a nice pork texture.
This method works well for pork loin and pork tenderloin.
Pork loin is called “Rosu“ in Japanese, so it is “rosu chashu”.
11. Pork shoulder chashu has both
It has a good combination of both the fatty part of the chashu and red meat, which is the pork shoulder.
The taste of pork shoulder chashu is somewhere between pork loin and belly chashu.
This is because a nice amount of fat in the red meat creates a marble pattern.
Pork shoulder is called “katarosu” so this chashu is called “katarosu chashu”.
12. There are beef, chicken, and duck chashu
For people who can’t have pork due to health or religious reasons,
There are some great alternatives available in Japan: beef chashu, chicken chashu, and duck chashu.
Usually, for beef chashu, the bottom round is used,
while for chicken and duck chashu, the breast is most often used.
13. Chashu ramen is a bowl of ramen that has a lot of chashu on it
Chashu ramen is also called chashumen
They are the same thing.
It depends on the thickness of the chashu, but usually…
Chashu ramen has more than 5 slices of chashu
Think like this… A regular ramen is Diglett and...
Chashu ramen is Dugtrio
You feel like your meal is so much more luxurious just by adding extra slices of chashu to the regular ramen.
I said chashu ramen has 5 slices of chashu,
And one Dugtrio has 3 Digletts,
But you get the idea.
Extra slices of chashu makes you feel satisfied and makes you feel like a rich person.
Chashumen is used to refer to a ramen that contains a lot of chashu.
Ever wondered how to cut chashu from a block?
14. You can slice it, dice it, or cut it into small slices
It depends on the usage of chashu.
For ramen and chashu-don, you want a thin but large slice.
If you want to use it for fried rice, you should dice it.
So you can enjoy the texture.
I recommend putting these chashu dices into a rice ball too.
Because chashu rice balls taste really good.
For pan-fried vegetables, cutting chashu into small slices is ideal.
You can use these small slices for your sandwiches.
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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😢 ...small bowls that aren’t large enough for soups, noodles and toppings.
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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."
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