Out of the 4 most popular ramen types, tonkotsu, miso, shio and shoyu ramen, which one do you think was “invented” first?
A. Shio (Salt) Ramen
B. Tonkotsu Ramen
C. Miso Ramen
D. Shoyu (Soy sauce) Ramen
You're correct if you guessed...
“A” - Shio Ramen
Have you ever had good shio ramen?
It is said that shio ramen is generally lighter in taste and colour than its shoyu and miso ramen counterparts. The sauces of shoyu and miso ramen already have a unique colour and flavor.
Usually, a transparent soup base goes well with shio ramen.
It is actually very difficult to find good shio ramen.
Do you know why?
Because it is very difficult to make since it is very simple.
You have to use the best and freshest ingredients for shio ramen because you can't cover up the taste using strong flavours like miso or soy sauce. Broth is the most important aspect of the shio ramen.
And since the taste of shio ramen is simple, it is difficult to differentiate shio ramen made by different ramen chefs. Because of this reason, chefs put their efforts towards the creation of other kinds of ramen.
Even though its difficult to find, a good shio ramen is extremely tasty!
Shio Ramen History (Hakodate Ramen)
In 1884, a ramen restaurant called “Youwaken” in Hakodate published an advertisement in the newspaper. This is the first time ramen was ever served at a restaurant.
Since Hakodate was a port city, there were many foreigners including Chinese merchants who came to Japan to look for konbu (kelp) and other seafood. Youwaken’s main customer base were these Chinese merchants.
For that reason the root of Hakodate ramen is salt-based soup noodles which were created to cater to these Chinese merchants’ taste preference.
By now, it is no secret that I am addicted to a good ramen adventure.
Anytime I travel within Japan, I look for (or go back to) a good local ramen restaurant.
Last year when I was in Kyoto, I went back to the same ramen restaurant that I ate at when I was still a college student over 10 years ago.
I’m excited when the restaurant can retain the original taste of the ramen they made many years ago. But sometimes, I get a little bit sad that the taste has been changed. But I also understand how difficult it is to keep the same good taste over such a long period of time.
We just talked about Hakodate ramen, the first type of modern-day Japanese ramen. However, there are actually many other types of shio ramen, other than Hakodate ramen.
Let’s take a look at Tanmen and Churashio Ramen...
Tanmen was born in Yokohama.
Characteristics of tanmen are...
Soup: Light chicken-broth and salt tare
Noodles: Medium thick.
Toppings: Bean sprouts, leeks, carrots, cabbages, onions, mushrooms and pork
Tan-men is mainly eaten in the Kanto region (the capital of Japan, Tokyo, is a part of this region).
Tan-men consists of a combination of pan-fried vegetables, like bean sprouts, leeks, carrots, cabbages, onions, mushrooms and pork.
The chef then pours these toppings onto a bed of ramen and adds in a soupy mixture of chicken-bone broth and salt tare.
With a light chicken-bone broth, salt tare, and a wide range of colourful and fresh vegetables, the lesser-known tanmen is highly nutritional as opposed to its popular miso, shoyu, shio-based ramen counterparts.
Actually, tanmen is not considered “ramen” by some, despite the fact that it tastes like shio ramen because of its different cooking process.
Let’s take a look at the cooking process...
1. Pour broth and sauce into a bowl.
2. Put boiled noodles into the same bowl.
3. Put toppings on top.
1. Pan fry meat and vegetables.
2. Pour water into the same pan and boil fried meat and vegetables to make soup.
3. Put noodles into a bowl.
4. Pour soup into the same bowl
5. Put vegetables on top.
In Okinawa, soki soba is the local soul food there, but ramen has been getting popular.
Characteristics of churashio ramen are...
Soup: Salt-based soup made by combining seafood and pork bone broth and Okinawan salt.
Noodles: Medium thick.
Toppings: Konbu, soki (stewed pork spare ribs), and eggs marinated with turmeric
Curious as to how you can create your own shio ramen from scratch? Take a look here!
Component #1: Salt Tare (Salt Sauce)
Soy sauce 1tsp
Green Onion 1
1. Pour water, sake, salt, and soy sauce.
2. Put bonito in it when 1 boils.
3. Turn off the heat and wait until bonito goes on the bottom of the pot.
4. Get rid of bonito.
Component #2: Learn how to make broth from scratch!
Component #3: Learn how to make chashu from scratch!
Component #4: Learn how to make ajitama (ramen egg) from scratch!
Component #5: Learn how to make noodles from scratch!
Now that you have all the components of the ramen, let’s start making shio ramen!
Directions for Shio Ramen
1. Chop up green onion.
2. Boil noodles in a pot.
3. Prepare a ramen bowl and pour in the salt sauce and broth.
4. Mix the salt sauce and broth together.
5. Put drained noodles in the bowl.
6. Put in your ramen toppings: ajitama ramen egg, chashu, and green onion.
Fancy some other toppings other than the ones listed above? Take a peek at some of our other topping suggestions!
Now that you've worked hard to create the perfect shio ramen, you'll need some beautiful Japanese bowls to show off your creation in!
(Hats off to you if you've made every single component from scratch!)