One of the perks to living in Japan is getting to experience the many different types of ramen soup bases. The soup base is essentially the soul of the dish as it gives the noodles its distinct flavor.
Today, I will be briefly introducing the four most popular types: shoyu (soy sauce), miso, shio (salt), and tonkotsu (simmered pork bone). Try not to get hungry while reading!
Shoyu (Soy Sauce)
Shoyu ramen is a light soup broth, which is a nostalgic and familiar taste for Japanese people. Because of this, shoyu is the prototype for the different types of ramen in Japan. It is usually made from chicken or pork broth. Japanese soup stock made up of various vegetables, konbu (kelp), or niboshi (dried sardines) is added to the broth to give depth to the soup. Common toppings for shoyu-based ramen are menma (sliced bamboo shoots), chashu (braised pork slices), green onion, and nori (dried seaweed).
Miso (Fermented Soy Bean Paste)
Miso ramen originated in Sapporo, Hokkaido (the northern-most part of Japan). People use chicken or pork as the base of this broth. Miso, created from fermented soy beans, is the most important aspect of this soup. While many different types of vegetables are added onto this type of ramen, the most common toppings are bean sprouts, corn, and cabbage.
This soup base consists of salt, soy sauce, and either fish or konbu broth. Not many restaurants offer this type of ramen due to the difficulty of keeping the taste consistent and maintaining the transparent soup base colour. Common toppings used for this ramen are typically menma, negi (green onions), and naruto*.
Tonkotsu (simmered pork bones)
Tonkotsu ramen originated in Hakata, Kyushu (the southern part of Japan). This soup is created from simmering pork bones. In order to make a thick and tasty broth, the contents should be boiled in a pot for many hours. Common toppings used with this ramen are sesame seeds, kikurage (cloud ear mushroom), and chashu (sliced braised pork).
Hungry for Some Ramen?
Need a nice large bowl to hold your ramen? Here are some of our favorites! Unbreakable melamine or heavy-duty ceramic, and complete with utensils. Pick the perfect set for your ramen!
*Naruto [🍥] is made from cured fish. You most likely would have seen it in your ramen. It is white and flower-like with a pink spiral pattern in the middle. The shape is meant to replicate the Naruto whirlpools in Tokushima City in Shikoku.