35 Must Know Different Types of Ramen Flavor Style Explained


As you know, there are so many different variations of ramen.

Long ago, you just needed to know 4 types of ramen.

Shoyu, miso, tonkotsu, and shio…

However, nowadays, there are so many branches out of these 4 famous types.

Or you can’t even categorize some types of ramen noodle flavor within the original 4 types.

Do you know why?

Because they are so new and so different.

Is it confusing for you? 

Don’t worry. This article is for you.

In this post, I will explain the basic ramen types, different regional types of ramen, different lineage of  ramen shop families, and others.

Keep reading and you will find out…

 

1. What are the basic ramen types? 

The soup base is essentially the soul of the dish as it gives the noodles its distinct flavor.

These 4 names of ramen below come from the name of its soup.

Shoyu (soy sauce)

Miso (fermented soybean paste)

Tonkotsu (simmered pork bone)

Shio (salt)

Try not to get hungry while reading!

i. Let's take a look of the 4 ramen broth types... 

Shoyu Ramen 

Shoyu ramen consists of broth, sauce, flavored oil, noodles, and toppings. 

The sauce is made up of mainly soy sauce and some other ingredients. 

This is how this ramen got its name (shoyu means soy sauce in Japanese).

Shoyu ramen is a light soup broth, which is a nostalgic and familiar taste for Japanese people.

Because of this, shoyu ramen 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 flavour of the soup.

Tonkotsu Ramen 

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.

The soup is very rich, thick, and cloudy because pork bones are boiled for long hours in high heat and components of the bone are melted into the soup.

This soup contains a lot of umami. This is due to the inosinic acid from the bones.

Fat and gelatin from the bones give the broth its distinctive taste.

The only downside to this broth is the residual smell from the animal bone, so as common condiments to this ramen, ginger and garlic are used.

Miso Ramen 

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.

The richness of miso keeps the broth hot, and it warms the body up and you feel instant bliss while eating a piping hot bowl of miso ramen in the harsh cold winter…

But miso ramen is also good for different seasons!

There are also many other benefits of eating miso ramen...

  1. Miso is a fermented food, so it improves intestinal health and helps your immune system.

  1. The salt content in miso doesn't raise your blood pressure as much as other salty food would.

  1. Miso ramen is often topped with many different types of vegetables. You can take in a lot of vegetables compared to other kinds of ramen.

Shio Ramen 

Shio means salt in Japanese and shio ramen soup is made of salt and broth.

Shio ramen is generally lighter in taste and color 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 it's difficult to find, a good shio ramen is extremely tasty! 

 ii. Which one is the most popular ramen type? 

Ramen popularity in Japan goes like this…

Shoyu > Miso > Tonkotsu > Shio

Is that what you were expecting?

Big news:

Ramen has regional differences, so the local’s favorite ramen types depend on the region they’re from.

For example, people in Kyushu like tonkotsu ramen the most.

In Kyushu, the ramen popularity ranking goes like this...

Tonkotsu > Shoyu > Miso > Shio

And in Hokkaido, people like miso ramen the most.

The ranking goes like this in Hokkaido...

Miso > Shoyu > Tonkotsu > Shio

 iii. Ramen soup consists of 3 components:

Broth (dashi) + Sauce (tare) + Seasoning Oil (koumiyu)

Let's take a look at what each component is.

What is "Dashi"?

A lot of ramen restaurants start preparing the broth at least two days before it is used.

In Japan, some chefs will close down their store for the day if they aren't 100% satisfied with the flavor of their broth.

This is because the soup is a very important element of the dish and will alter the overall taste of the ramen. (They are so serious about their art, right?)

Broth is made up of water and a combination of pork bone, beef bone, chicken, bonito, konbu (kelp), mushroom, or scallops.

You boil the ingredients for many hours to get the flavors to transfer into the soup. The ingredients itself, however, are not used and are thrown away in the end.

The broth is the building block of ramen soup stock as it has the most important element of "umami."

What is "Tare"?

The purpose of tare is to give the soup its salty taste. There are many types of tare - soy sauce tare, salt tare, and miso tare.

Soy sauce tare is in a liquid form, miso tare is a paste, and salt tare is a powder.

Chefs choose tare based on the broth they are making.

For example, if the broth is a light one, you pick salt tare to match the plain and simple style of the broth.

If the broth is thick, you use miso tare in order to create a thick and creamy soup base.

What is "Koumiyu"?

Seasoning oil gives ramen its flavor.

In addition, using koumiyu keeps the ramen hot because it covers the surface of the soup, trapping the heat inside.

Some types of koumiyu include chicken oil, pork fatback, and bonito.

2. You need different ramen noodle types and toppings for each broth

Here are the 3 components of ramen...

Soup + Noodles + Toppings = Ramen

Did you know?

There are so many variations of noodles and toppings.

And there are some common noodles and toppings go well with each type of ramen broth.

 i. Noodles: Which noodles go well with each ramen type?

Usually each broth type goes well with...

Shoyu Ramen goes well with straight, medium-thick, and low water addition noodles.

A lot of shoyu ramen restaurants use straight noodles.

Low water addition noodles go well with shoyu soup. 

Do you know why?

Because shoyu soup has a distinctive flavor and taste, so it is better for noodles to have a wheat flavor.

So noodles for shoyu ramen are a little hard and dense rather than being soft and springy.

Tonkotsu Ramen goes well with straight and very thin, and low water addition noodles.

These noodles are very thin.

Do you know why?

The answer is... 

Tonkotsu ramen is usually served very fast.

Thin noodles only need a little time to boil.

These noodles go with soup very well.

Straight and thin noodles absorb a lot of soup.

The downside of these very thin noodles is that they get soggy really quickly.

There are some tonkotsu ramen restaurants that serve medium-thick noodles with low water addition.

In this case, their soup is really thick, rich, and heavy in taste.

If they use very thin noodles in this strong soup, these noodles would be muted and they don’t go well.

That is why chefs use medium-thick noodles with low water addition for rich and heavy-flavored soup.

Miso Ramen goes well with yellow, wavy, medium-thick and high water addition noodles.

Noodles for miso ramen are soft and springy.

They are smooth and have a nice chewy texture.

Shio Ramen goes well with straight, thin to medium-thick, and high water addition noodles.

Soup of shio ramen is light.

So if the taste of noodles is too strong, they won’t go well with the soup.

Noodles for shio ramen have to be mild.

That is why chefs use straight, thin to medium-thick, and high water addition noodles for shio ramen.

These noodles are smooth, soft, and have a nice chew.

ii. Straight noodles vs wavy noodles

Do you know which noodles hold more soup with each bite?

The answer is…

Straight noodles.

Wavy noodles have a lot of gaps between noodles so that your ramen soup escapes from the gap.

But straight noodles are close to each other so they can keep the soup.

Chefs pick these noodle shapes depending on the soup.

Straight ramen noodles go well with soup and are easy to eat.

Wavy ramen noodles have a nice dense texture, and  you can make your ramen unique and different.

Chefs that put effort on the aesthetic of ramen, tend to choose straight noodles…

Nowadays, it is a kind of trend to fold boiled straight noodles into a ramen bowl.

It looks beautiful and you would want to take a picture and post it onto social media.

This presentation works very well with transparent soup.

Such as shoyu ramen and shio ramen.

iii. Thick noodles vs thin noodles

Thick noodles are usually served in a rich, thick, salty, and heavy ramen soup.

So you can have a good balance between soup and noodles.

Thin noodles are usually served in a light and simple ramen soup.

iv. Water addition rate in ramen noodles: low vs. high

Characteristics of noodles with very little addition of water: (Approximately 20-30%)

  1. Since they don’t hold a lot of water, they can absorb more soup.

  2. Goes well with soup.

  3. Gets soggy easily.

  4. Easier to preserve since it contains less water.

  5. Texture is more dense.

  6. You can taste the flavour of the flour more than noodles with more water added. 

If it contains less than 20% of water, the texture of the noodle will become too stiff and rough. 

Since these noodles originally do not contain a lot of water content, they will absorb soup very well. 

But, that means they will get soggy easily.

The best way to enjoy this type of noodles is through Hakata ramen's kaedama (refill) system. 

New noodles are added into your soup each time you’ve finished eating.

Instead of sitting in your broth and becoming soggy, you get a fresh new refill each time. 

Characteristics of noodles with lots of water added to it: (Approximately 40-50%)

  1. It does not absorb soup.

  2. It is not easy for soup to cover this kind of noodle.

  3. They go with thick, creamy, and rich soup.

  4. The amount of toppings for this type of noodles tend to be more voluminous than its counterpart. A lot of chashu and vegetables with thick and creamy soup is ideal for high water-addition noodles like Jiro-kei ramen.

  5. The noodles do not get soggy easily.

  6. Noodles with lots of water added to it during the production stage are much softer since water content is much higher.

  7. They are chewy.

  8. These noodles are more difficult to preserve since it contains a lot of water.

If you want to know more about noodles, click here:

A Guide to the Art of Ramen Noodles

v. Toppings / Condiments: Which toppings go well with each ramen type?

Since they are developed differently, they have different toppings and condiments.

Shoyu Ramen Toppings and Condiments 

Common toppings for shoyu-based ramen are chashu (braised pork slices), menma (sliced bamboo shoots), green onion, and nori (dried seaweed).

Tonkotsu Ramen Toppings and Condiments 

 Common toppings used with this ramen are chashu, sesame seeds, and kikurage (cloud ear mushroom).

Miso Ramen Toppings and Condiments 

Chashu, menma, fried vegetables (ex. bean sprout, cabbage), corn bits, and butter.(If pork and vegetable are fried together, there is no chashu)

Shio Ramen Toppings and Condiments 

chashu ajitama green onions menma

Do you want to know more about topping?

Click here: An Introduction to 30+ Different Ramen Toppings

3. What is the history of the 4 ramen types?

The (approximate) years these other ramen favourites were created goes something like this (from oldest to newest)...

Shio Ramen: 1884

Shoyu Ramen: 1910

Tonkotsu Ramen: 1947

Miso Ramen: 1955

 i. History of Shio Ramen

In 1884, a ramen restaurant called “Youwaken” in Hakodate published an advertisement in the newspaper.

This is the oldest record that 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.

ii. History of Shoyu Ramen

In 1910, an inexpensive restaurant called Rairaiken opened in Asakusa,Tokyo.

It served the first shoyu ramen which was also known as Tokyo ramen.

Among Japanese ramen, shoyu ramen has one of the longest histories.

For that reason, there are many variations of shoyu ramen all over Japan.

 iii. History of Tonkotsu Ramen 

In 1937, ramen was brought to Kurume, Fukuoka.

Two years before that, a chef in Kurume had heard that noodles called ramen were very popular in the Tokyo and Yokohama area.

He moved to Tokyo and learned how to make ramen there. 

At the time in Tokyo, ramen broth was made from torigara (chicken bones) and only a little bit of tonkotsu (pork bone).

Soup of Tokyo ramen consisted of broth and soy sauce (shoyu). 

This Kurume chef opened a restaurant called Nankinsenryo and served Tokyo-style ramen back in his hometown.

After the opening of Nankinsenryo, similar Tokyo-style ramen restaurants started opening up in Kurume.

10 years after Tokyo-style ramen was introduced in Kurume...  

A ramen-stall owner took his eyes off his pot of broth and the accidental high heat from the strong fire boiled the broth more than it was supposed to.

The broth was very cloudy and the owner was about to throw out the broth. But he decided to try it... 

And it was delicious!

He started to use this cloudy broth for his ramen and this was the beginning of the tonkotsu ramen.

 iv. History of Miso Ramen

Creation of the miso ramen is actually quite recent.

In 1955, miso ramen was created by Morito Omori, who was an owner of a restaurant in Sapporo, Hokkaido called Ajino Sanpei. 

Omori-san read a magazine called Reader's Digest. 

In the article the president of a Swiss food company said:

"Miso is really useful. Japanese people should use miso more often in their cuisines”

  

Omori-san was impressed at how miso, a Japanese traditional seasoning, was perceived so favourably overseas.

And started thinking up recipes which he could incorporate miso.

He obtained different types of miso all around Japan, tested recipes, and asked his customers for their opinions.

4. Regional Shoyu Ramen Types

Asahikawa Ramen (Asahikawa Hokkaido)

The most distinctive characteristic of Asahikawa ramen is its "double soup" and its "oil slick” floating on top of the ramen broth.

"Double soup" in terms of ramen means using two different kinds of broth.

One broth is made from pork, chicken, and beef bone or meat, and the other is seafood broth made from ingredients like kombu or bonito.

The reason why 2 kinds of broth is used in Asahikawa ramen is because this region used to have a large pig farming industry. 

Using pork bone, which was usually discarded, was a good idea as a part that cannot be sold could be put to use.

Both Asahikawa and Hakata ramen soup use pork bone in their broth, but do you know what the difference between these two are?

The answer is...

The smell!

Asahikawa ramen doesn't have a strong pork bone smell like its Hakata counterpart.

People there didn't like the smell of pork bone, so in order to hide the smell, chefs used kombu and dried sardines.

In addition, Asahikawa ramen's pork bone soup has some influence from Ainu people (the indigenous Japanese people in Hokkaido). 

Both Ainu and Asahikawa ramen soup are cloudy from the pork bone.

The next characteristic of Asahikawa ramen is the oil slick on top of the ramen soup.

In the winter, Asahikawa city can reach temperature lows of -30C (-22F)!

In order to prevent the soup from getting cold, chefs put lard on the soup.

This traps the steam inside the soup and keeps the soup piping hot.

Wavy medium-thick noodles are used in Asahikawa ramen.

Water content ratio of these noodles is low. This makes the noodles tougher and chewier than regular noodles.

The noodles absorb soup quickly, which means that the noodles can get soggy easily.

Green onion, menma, and chashu are commonly used for toppings of Asahikawa ramen.

In the beginning, Asahikawa ramen was considered a copy of Sapporo ramen (capital city of Hokkaido).

However, it gradually became popular.

In 1947, legendary ramen shops called Hachiya and Aoba opened up and their Asahikawa-style ramen spread around the city, making this ramen extremely popular.

Soup: Double soup

Noodles: Wavy medium-thick noodles (cutter number: 22 to 24), water addition rate: 26 to 30%

Toppings: Green onion, menma, and chashu

Kushiro Ramen (Kushiro Hokkaido)

Kushiro city has rich ramen culture.

This city has over 100 ramen restaurants and 7 noodle factories.

Characteristics of Kushiro ramen are…

Thin wavy noodles, simple soy sauce soup with bonito broth.

Toppings are chashu, menma, and green onions. 

The reason why Kushiro ramen noodles are thin is…

For busy fishermen.

You can boil thin noodles and serve them quickly.

It is kind of rare that they use high water addition thin noodles here.

These noodles are soft and go well with bonito broth.

Soup: Bonito

Noodles: Thin, wavy, and high water addition

Toppings: Chashu, menma, and green onions

Tsugaru Ramen(Aomori)

The soup of Tsugaru ramen is made of soy sauce and soup stock from dried sardines.

They use either 2 types of dried sardine.

Niboshi or yakiboshi.

Niboshi is dried under the sun, and yakiboshi is dried next to the charcoal fire.

Yakiboshi has a stronger “ocean” flavor.

Thin to medium-thick wavy noodles go well with this simple but flavorus soup.

Toppings are chashu, menma, and green onions.

In the Tsugaru region, people have eaten a lot of dried sardines since it is a famous fishing ground.

There is another noodle dish called Tsugaru soba that uses dried sardines as soup stock.

And this soup stock became Tsugaru ramen’s soup after the introduction of ramen noodles.

Nowadays, there are 2 types of Tsugaru ramen.

Oudou-kei and noukouniboshi-kei.

Oudou-kei gets its soup stock from dried sardines only, so it is simple.

And noukouniboshi-kei get its soup stock from dried sardines, chicken bone, and pork bone.

This has a richer, thicker and more dynamic soup.

Soup: Dried sardine

Noodles: Thin to medium-thick wavy noodles

Toppings: Chashu, menma, and green onions

Kitakata Ramen (Kitakata Fukushima)

In 1927, the owner of Genraiken, Ban Kinsei-san started a ramen food stall stand in Kitakata, Fukushima.

There was no ramen in the city, but the taste of ramen spread all over the city and it became a part of people's life.

Ban Kinsei migrated to Japan from China after his parents' death.

He worked as a construction worker in Yokohama and Tokyo, and then he moved to Kitakata to get a new job since his uncle worked at a mine there.

However he couldn't get a job at the mine, so he decided to sell noodles.

He didn't have any professional background as a chef, but he created a distinct noodle which is now known as Kitakata ramen. 

The characteristics of this ramen is very thick, flat, and wavy, which replicated the noodles from his hometown.

He walked around the city with his ramen stall and attracted attention by making high pitch sounds with a sorna (an ancient wood-wind instrument).

The most distinct characteristic of Kitakata ramen is its noodles. 

It is very thick, flat and wavy. Water content ratio of these noodles is high, so they are both chewy, and smooth.

Broth is made of transparent pork bone, and it is very simple. 

Some restaurants make transparent pork bone broth and dried sardine broth separately and pour it into the bowl together right before a bowl of ramen is served.

Common toppings for this ramen are chashu or kakuni, menma, naruto, and green onion.

Soup: Pork bone and dried sardine

Noodles: Very thick (cutter number: 12 to 14) wavy noodles, and high water addition rate: 38 to 43%

Toppings: Chashu or kakuni, menma, naruto, and green onion

Shirakawa Ramen (Shirakawa, Fukushima)

Shirakawa ramen came from Kibushi Genmatsu.

He learned how to make ramen noodles in Yokohama Chinatown.

And he started serving it at Kigen in 1921

Modern Shirakawa ramen was created by Takei Toraji.

He is the owner of Tora Shokudo.

Ramen of Tora Shokudo has been really popular.

And  he  had a lot of apprentices.

Many of his apprentices opened their own ramen shops. 

This is how Shirakawa ramen spread in the region.

Characteristics of Shirakawa ramen is its beautiful transparent shoyu-based soup and thick wavy flat noodles.

The soup is made of chicken or pork bone and soy sauce.

Compared to Kitakata ramen, 

Shirakawa ramen puts more emphasis on soy sauce taste rather than soup stock.

There is chicken oil on top of the soup.

And this makes Shirakawa ramen flavorful.

Noodles are very wavy and flat-looking.

These noodles are smooth and chewy because they are high water addition noodles.

Toppings are green onions, chashu, menma, narutomaki, and spinach.

Chashu tends to be BBQ pork rather than braised ones.

Wonton noodles are really popular there too!

Soup: Chicken or pork bone

Noodles: Very wavy, flat, very thick (cutter number: 16 to 18), and high water addition rate: 42 to 46%

Toppings: Chashu, menma, narutomaki, nori, green onions and spinach

Tokyo Ramen 

In 1859, Japan opened up some ports and foreigners started to live in foreign settlements in Japan. They introduced different kinds of cuisine to Japan including Chinese noodles.

In 1899, the Japanese government ended foreign settlements.

This meant foreign people were allowed to travel and live anywhere inside of Japan.

Because of that, Chinese noodles started spreading around Japan.

In 1910, a bowl of ramen which was a fusion creation between Chinese cuisine and Japanese cuisine was created at Rairaiken.

This is the first shoyu ramen, which was also known as Tokyo ramen.

Tokyo ramen is considered the orthodox ramen.

Broth is mainly made of chicken bone, pork bone, dried sardines, and some vegetables.

When broth is cooked, the broth never comes to a boil in order to maintain its clear color.

The sauce is made up of a combination of soy sauce and Japanese-style soup stock.

Thickness of noodles is medium-thick and they are wavy.

Common toppings are chashu, menma, green onion, a boiled egg, and nori (dried Japanese seaweed).

Soup: Chicken bone, pork bone, dried sardines, and some vegetables.

Noodles: Medium-thick (cutter number: 20 to 24), wavy, high water addition rate: 33 to 36% 

Toppings: chashu, menma, green onion, a boiled egg, and nori (dried Japanese seaweed)

Takayama Ramen (Gifu)

Soup of Takayama ramen is made of chicken bone and bonito broth, and soy sauce base.

The most unique thing about this soup is…

You boil the chicken bone broth and soy sauce together in a big stockpot.

Noodles of Takayama ramen are thin, very wavy and low water addition.

The portion is smaller than regular ramen noodles.

Because some people in Takayama eat it as a snack.

Toppings are chashu, menma, and green onions.

They use hidanegi.

It is a green onion from this region.

Hidanegi is sweeter than regular green onions and it goes well with the soy sauce flavor.

After eating most of the noodles.

People in Takayama put vinegar into their soup.

It is a widely spread way to eat Takayama ramen there.

It makes the soup milder and more refreshing. 

Do you know who started Takayama ramen?

Sakaguchi Tokimune started it at a ramen stall on the street in 1938.

He worked at a high class traditional restaurant in the morning in Takayama,

And at night, he ran a ramen stall business.

His main customers were the geisha there.

He also opened up a ramen shop called Masagosoba.

And the shop is still there.

Soup: Chicken bone and bonito broth

Noodles: Thin(cutter number: 20), very wavy and low water addition rate: 30%

Toppings: Chashu, menma, and green onions

Kyoto Ramen (Kyoto) 

Soup of Kyoto ramen is made of chicken bone broth.

Some restaurants use pork bone broth, or both chicken and pork bone broth too.

And they are usually a transparent soup.

Chefs use light soy sauce and give little bits of soy sauce.

Back fat is added on the soup.

Noodles of Kyoto ramen are medium thin straight.

Toppings are bean sprout, green onions, and thin chashu.

There are a lot of soup and toppings, so you cannot see the noodles

Soup: Chicken bone broth

Noodles: Middle thin(cutter number: 20 to 24), straight, water addition rate: 30 to 32%

Toppings: Bean sprout, green onions, and thin chashu

Wakayama Ramen (Wakayama) 

Wakayama ramen is known as tonkotsu-shoyu style.

There are two types.

Shakomae-kei and Ide-kei.

Majority of Wakayama ramen is Shakomae-kei.

Chefs boil pork bone in soy sauce there once.

And after the bones absorb soy sauce taste,

They boil the bones in hot water to get the soup stock.

This is because long ago, refrigerators were not widely used.

A ramen shop Marutaka created this recipe and they taught their colleagues in Wakayama.

This is the reason why ramen shops in Wakayama has “Maru” in their shop names.

Noodles are yellow thin straight noodles. 

They smell of kansui flavor.

Toppings are chashu, green onions, menma and chiyomaki.

Chiyomaki is a kind of kamaboko.

The reason why this style is called Shakomae-kei is the place name.

Shako is a garage in Japanese.

There were a lot of ramen stalls around the garage of streetcars.

And this was the place where Wakayama ramen got popular.

The portion of noodles is small.

Do you know why?

Because people there eat sushi or oden as appetizers to wait for their bowl of noodles at the ramen shop.

Ide-kei chefs don’t boil pork bones with soy sauce.

Chefs boil pork bones for a long time until the broth gets really thick and muddy.

When the ramen is served, chefs mix the broth with soy sauce.

Ide-kei soup is thicker and creamier.

Noodles are soft and 

Ide Shoten created this style of ramen.

Portion of Ide-kei ramen is small too.

Wakayama ramen has unique culture

As I mentioned, people there have their own food culture.

For example…

Hayazushi

It is a mackerel sushi.

People eat this sushi before their ramen is served. 

Boiled egg

At a ramen restaurant there, you will see boiled eggs on the table or counter.

You peel the shell and eat with your ramen.

A boiled egg really goes well with the salty ramen soup.

Oden

There are many ramen shops that serve oden too.

Restaurants that serve oden and ramen, open until midnight.

Soup: Pork bone

Noodles: Yellow thin straight (cutter number: 22), water addition rate: 28 to 33%

Toppings: Chashu, green onions, menma and chiyomaki

Hiroshima Ramen (Hiroshima) 

Broth of Hiroshima ramen is made of pork bone broth, chicken bone broth, and vegetable broth. 

Chefs add soy sauce with the broth when they serve.

This soup is clouded and brown.

It has a mild taste and it is a comfort food.

Noodles are thin to medium-thin, straight and a little soft.

Toppings are chashu, green onions, boiled bean sprout, and menma.

Bean sprouts are mandatory for Hiroshima ramen.

Soup: pork bone broth, chicken bone broth, and vegetable broth

Noodles: thin to medium-thin, straight and little soft

Toppings: chashu, green onions, boiled bean sprout, and menma

Tokushima Ramen (Tokushima)

 

Soup of Tokushima ramen is made of pork bone broth or chicken bone broth and soy sauce.

This soup tastes strong.

There are 3 types of Tokushima ramen…

Shiro-kei, Kiiro-kei, and Chairo-kei.

Shiro-kei:

Shiro is white in Japanese language.

Shiro-kei is the root of Tokushima ramen.

Soup is made of pork bone broth and light soy sauce or white soy sauce.

It is close to regular tonkotsu ramen.

Kiiro-kei:

Kiiro is yellow in Japanese language.

Soup is made of chicken bone, vegetables, and light soy sauce.

This soup has golden color.

Chairo-kei:

Chairo is brown in Japanese language.

Because chefs use dark soy sauce or tamari soy sauce with pork bone broth,

This soup has brown color.

Majority of Tokushima ramen shops serve this brown soup.

It has the most strong taste out of three.

Toppings are a raw egg and salty sweet chashu.

These soups are generally strong and salty sweet.

Do you know why?

Because people there eat ramen with white rice.

Yes,

You heard right.

Carb and carb.

Some ramen shops offer free white rice.

The other characteristic of Tokushima ramen is the raw egg on noodles.

It might be difficult to imagine the taste.

This taste is similar to sukiyaki.

Noodles of Tokushima ramen are straight and medium-thin with a medium water addition rate.

They are soft and the potion is more than usual.

These noodles are shorter than regular ramen noodles.

Toppings are chashu, a raw egg, green onions and bean sprout.

Soup: Pork bone broth or chicken bone broth

Noodles: Straight and medium-thin(cutter number: 20 to 24) with medium water addition rate (27-32%)

Toppings: Chashu, a raw egg, green onions and bean sprout

5. Regional Tonkotsu Ramen Types

Hakata / Nagahama Ramen 

Hakata ramen originated in 1941. 

A street stall called “Sanbaro" is the original creators of the Hakata ramen. 

At the time, Hakata ramen soup was transparent which was influenced by Nankinsenryo in Kurume.

Nagahama ramen was first served in 1953 at Ganso Nagahamaya.

You will see that noodles at Hakata and Nagahama ramen restaurants are very thin and you can choose the hardness of the noodles from 6 varying levels.

From soft to hard:

Bariyawa, yawa, kata, barikata, harigane, konaotoshi

The reason why these noodles are thin is because it doesn't take much time to boil. 

Ramen was a favourite for the busy workers at the fish market in Nagahama. 

Because the noodles are thin, there is a system for people who want to eat noodles called "kaedama"

Nowadays, the same thin noodles are used in Hakata ramen because of the influence from Nagahama ramen. 

However, flat noodles had been used for Hakata ramen originally.

A great point for this type of ramen is the fresh soup of Hakata and Nagahama ramen since chefs make a new batch of broth every single day.

Toppings of this ramen are quite simple - usually, green onion, chashu sesame, ginger, garlic, and karashi takana are used as a pairing to this type of ramen.

Since its broth and toppings are simple, Hakata and Nagahama ramen has a delicate but well-balanced taste.

Soup: Thick Pork bone flavor

Noodles: Very thin(cutter number: 24 to 28), straight, low water addition rate: 26 to 27%

Toppings: Chashu and green onions

Kurume Ramen 

It is first served in 1937 at Nankinsenryo. Kurume ramen is the root of all tonkotsu ramen in Kyushu including Hakata ramen.

Kurume ramen has a richer and more unique taste than Hakata ramen since new broth is added into the original boiling pot of soup. 

Some restaurants have been boiling the same pot for half a century.

Amount of oil in the soup is a lot less than Hakata ramen.

Kaedama is not as common with Kurume ramen than it is with Hakata ramen. 

People there order yakimeshi (fried rice) instead of kaedama when they feel they won't be full.

Common tooppings of Kurume ramen are chashu, green onion, kikurage, seaweed, garlic chips, grated garlic, black pepper, and ginger.

Soup: Thick taste and rich pork bone flavour

Noodles: Thin (cutter number: 22), straight, low water addition rate: 28 to 30%

Toppings: Chashu, green onion, kikurage, seaweed, garlic chips, grated garlic, black pepper, and ginger

Tamana Ramen 

In 1952, a Kurume ramen shop called Sankyu opened a Kurume-style ramen restaurant in Tamana, and it got popular quickly.

The reason why it became so popular was that there were a lot of seaweed farms in that area at that time.

Ramen was popular to the seaweed farmers as they wanted to heat their cold body up after harvesting seaweed.

The noodles are medium-thin and also straight. 

Its broth has a strong tonkotsu flavor and a lot greasier than other types of tonkotsu ramen.

Soup: Pork bone

Noodles: Medium-thin straight

Toppings: Chashu, kikurage, green onions, garlic

Kumamoto Ramen

Yamanaka-san, Shigamitsu-san, and Kimura-san were impressed by the taste of the tonkotsu ramen from the Sankyu restaurant in Tamana,

And opened their own restaurant in Kumamoto city.  

Yamanaka-san opened Komurasaki,

Shigamitsu-san opened Ajisen ramen,

Kimura-san opened Shoyoken. 

These three are legendary restaurants. Have you heard of any of them? 

Kumamoto ramen was developed in the 50's.

Of course, broth is made from tonkotsu, but torigara (chicken bone) is also used, so it is milder and creamier than Hakata ramen.

There is no pork smell from the tonkotsu in the broth, unlike Kurume ramen, since they make broth from scratch everyday. 

These medium thick noodles pair well with fried garlic and mayu (special oil made from garlic). The creamy soup helps boost your appetite.

Soup: Pork bone and chicken bone

Noodles: medium thick (cutter number: 22 to 26), low water addition rate: 27 to 30%

Toppings: Mayu, chashu, and kikurage

Kagoshima Ramen 

 

The broth is made of tonkotsu, but torigara, vegetables, dried seaweed, and dried sardines are also used. Unlike other tonkotsu ramen, this broth is not cloudy and has a clearer and lighter taste.

Noodles are thick because of the influence from Okinawa noodles. Pickles are always served before this type of tonkotsu ramen.

Kagoshima is faraway from Fukuoka (which is the center of topknots ramen), so it developed its own original ramen culture.

Soup: Translucent pork bone soup

Noodles: Soft, straight, thick (cutter number: 18 to 22), water addition rate: 32%

Toppings: Chashu, green onions, bean sprout, and cabbage

6. Regional Miso Ramen Types

Sapporo Ramen 

 

Sapporo ramen is characterized by wavy and thick noodles paired with a thick broth and a little bit of ginger and garlic flavor.

The soup is made of pork bone. Topping are green onion, bean sprout, menma, and chashu or ground pork.

Don’t know what some of these toppings are?

Check out our list of 30+ common Japanese ramen topping ingredients!

A specialty of Sapporo ramen is that a lot of restaurants allow customers to customize their ramen toppings, for example, corn, butter, crab, and scallops.

Soup: Pork bone

Noodles: Wavy and thick noodles(cutter number: 22), high water addition rate: 34 to 40%

Toppings: green onion, bean sprout, menma, and chashu or ground pork

Jigoku Ramen (Kitahiroshima) 

 

Jigoku ramen is a spicy ramen. Karamiso (hot pepper miso) is used in making the ramen. 

There is a hot pepper miso container on the table, so customers can adjust the spiciness to their liking. 

At some restaurants, hot pepper is also used in the production of the noodles.

Soup: Spicy miso and pork bone

Noodles: Middle thick, wavy, low water addition rate

Toppings: Chashu, green onions, naruto, bean sprout

Sendai Ramen (Sendai Miyagi)

 

Miso is a specialty of Sendai since the period of Masamune Date, the famous clan leader and founder of modern-day Sendai. 

Pork bone and chicken bone broth is used to make this ramen. 

You taste the creamy miso broth on its own first and then you can melt Karamiso (served on a spoon) and adjust the spiciness.

Soup: Miso, pork bone, and chicken bone

Noodles: Thick and wavy

Toppings: Chashu, green onions, and menma

Akayu Ramen (Nanyo, Yamagata)

The Akayu ramen is created at a restaurant called Ryushanghai.

When it first opened, the restaurant was not popular, so the owner brought the leftover soup back home and made miso soup out of it. 

One day, the store owner’s son put the noodles into his miso soup and said, "Dad, it is yummy!" and the owner started creating this recipe. 

Karamiso is also used when eating this ramen. Since it is spicy, you shouldn't mix all the karamiso at once.

Soup: Dried sardine, pork bone, chicken bone, onions, and garlic

Noodles: Thick, wavy and high water addition

Toppings: Chashu, naruto, menma, karamiso(spicy miso)

Nigata Nouko Miso Ramen (Nigata)

This region’s miso ramen specialty features very thick noodles in a thick, rich soup. 

Pork bone broth and red miso makes this soup so creamy and rich. 

Customers can adjust the thickness of their soup by thinning it out with a bowl of broth (which is served up separately). 

There are a lot of vegetables and ground pork as toppings to these noodles. 

The noodles are also very thick (almost like udon), so customers can be really full after eating it.

Soup: Thick and rich pork bone broth and red miso

Noodles: Very thick

Toppings:  Vegetables and ground pork

7. Regional Shio Ramen Types

Hakodate Ramen (Hakodate Hokkaido)

 

Soup of the Hakodate ramen is transparent.

It is made of pork bone or chicken bone broth, konbu, sculps, and some vegetables.

This soup has a light taste but there is depth to these ingredients. 

In order to maintain this transparent soup, you have to watch the broth pot carefully.

Ramen in Hokkaido tend to be thick and oily.

However, Hakodate ramen is an exception.

Probably it is warmer compared to other areas of Hokkaido.

Noodles are medium thin.

And there are chashu, menma, green onions, spinach and naruto as toppings.

Soup: Transparent salt-based soup, pork bone or chicken bone broth, konbu, sculps, and some vegetables

Noodles: Medium thin straight (cutter number: 22 to 24), high water addition rate: 40%

Toppings: Chashu, menma, and green onions

Churashio Ramen (Okinawa)

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 straight

Toppings: Konbu, soki (stewed pork spare ribs), and eggs marinated with turmeric  

8. Other Different Types of Ramen

Chashumen

Basically, chashumen is a bowl of shoyu ramen that has a lot of chashu on it.

It depends on the thickness of the chashu, but usually chashumen has more than five slices of chashu.

However, if the ramen shops don’t serve shoyu ramen, then chashumen is a dish that has a lot of chashu on their primary ramen.

Example:

For tonkotsu ramen shops, chashumen is a bowl of tonkotsu ramen that has a lot of chashu.

Soup: Chicken bone broth

Noodles: Medium thick and wavy

Toppings: Chashu

Tantanmen 

Original dandan (in Japanese, we call it "tantan") is soupless spicy noodles. 

In the Sichuan-region of China, people sold noodles flavored with spicy oil and Sichuan peppers in the streets. 

They were sold in small bowls and were considered a snack. "Dandan" in their local language meant "carrying pole". 

Since liquid is heavy and difficult to carry, there is no soup with the noodles.

The Japanese version of dandan noodles were introduced by Chen Kenmin, a chef from Sichuan. 

He adjusted dandan noodles to the taste preferences of the Japanese market.

He started to use a bigger bowl for the noodles, and served it with soup to dilute the spiciness. 

Japanese people did not have a lot of spicy food in their cuisine and were not used to the spiciness of the original Chinese dandan noodles. 

Dandan noodles are called tantanmen in Japanese.

Soup: Chicken broth

Noodles: Straight middle thick

Toppings: Minced meat, spinach, and green onions

Tanmen 

Tanmen was born in Yokohama.

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…

Ramen:

  1. Pour broth and sauce into a bowl.

  2. Put boiled noodles into the same bowl.

  3. Put toppings on top.

Done!

Tanmen:

  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.

Done!

Soup: Light chicken-broth and salt tare

Noodles: Medium thick

Toppings: Bean sprouts, leeks, carrots, cabbages, onions, mushrooms and pork

9. Dry Ramen Styles

Tsukemen 

Tsukemen is a type of ramen that you dip your noodles in.

Noodles and soup are served in a separated dish and a bowl.

The recipe of tsukemen is not that different from the ramen recipe.

But the important difference is the chef needs to wash the ramen noodles in cold water after cooking.

So chefs have to do the same thing as udon.

Fascination of tsukemen is in its noodles. You can feel fresh flavour and taste of flour directly from the noodles.

And you can feel a good chew and bounce.

For that reason, noodles for tsukemen are middle thick to very thick.

Usually, it is more expensive than regular ramen. Here are reasons why…

1 Portion of noodles is larger than regular ramen.

2 It takes time to boil since noodles are thicker than regular ones.

3 You need to wash noodles, so chefs need extra work.

Pro tip:

You shouldn’t soak tsukemen noodles in the soup too long. 

The noodles will make your soup really cold. 

If you want to keep your soup hot, pick up a few noodles (portion of one bite) from the dish and dip them into the soup and eat them quickly.

Soup: Very thick and strong taste (Sometimes fish meal is served with soup)

Noodles:  Middle thick to very thick.

Toppings: Chashu, nori, ajitama

Aburasoba 

Aburasoba is a noodle dish that is similar to ramen.

It is ramen without soup. There is sesame oil or sauce in the bottom of the bowl.

And you eat the noodles with chilli oil and vinegar.

Soup: No soup

Noodles:  Medium thick to very thick.

Toppings: Chashu, narutomaki, bean sprout, nori, onsen tamago

10. Japanese ramen types have been getting complicated...

Long ago, it was enough to categorize ramen by soup.

Like shoyu ramen, miso ramen, tonkotsu ramen, and shio ramen.

However, nowadays, ramen has been diversified a lot.

The tonkotsu ramen and shoyu ramen increased a lot.

So, ramen shops don’t use the 4 kinds to define their ramen as much as before.

Instead, they use…

Gyokai-kei, wafu-kei, torisoba-kei, tanrei-kei, etc..

In order to define their ramen.

They are all names of broth.

Do you want to know about them?

Take a look...

Gyokai-kei Ramen

Gyokai-kei ramen soup is made of seafood.

Such as shrimp, squid, scallops, shijimi, sea bream, tuna, bonito, dried mackerel and dried sardines.

Some restaurants add chicken bone broth into this seafood soup.

Nouko Gyokai-kei Ramen

Nouko means very thick and rich in Japanese language.

It is a popular soup for tsukemen.

And these tsukemen shops also serve gyofun (dried fish powder) with this ramen.

In order to add seafood umami flavor.

Tanrei-kei ramen

This is a kind of ramen that has transparent soup.

This ramen has a light taste, so it is easy to eat.

Ingredients for broth are various.

Chicken bone, pork bone, fish, clams, other shellfish, dried sardine, etc..

However, tanrei-kei ramen always has clear transparent soup.

Wafu-kei

This soup tastes like soba and udon soup.

Japanese people think this taste is the most delicate and sophisticated broth.

Wafu-kei soup is made of either fish broth, konbu (kelp) broth, or both.

Fish broth is usually made of bonito, dried mackerel and dried sardines.

Combining two types of different umami elements makes the soup tastier.

Example:

Inosinic acid(from bonito) + Glutamic acid(from konbu)

Torisoba-kei

It is made specifically of chicken since tori in Japanese language is chicken.

This soup is always transparent and there is chicken oil floating on the soup.

This soup has a lot of collagen.

Usually chefs use chicken bones to make this soup.

If you use whole chicken to get broth, the soup will be sweeter and richer. 

Toripaitan Ramen

Soup of this ramen is also made of chicken.

However, 

Unlike torisoba-kei soup, this soup is cloudy.

Do you know the reason why one is transparent and the other is cloudy?

Because of the heat.

If you boil chicken bone in a low temperature, soup gets transparent.

But if you boil chicken bone at a high temperature, the soup gets cloudy.

The cloudy version has more extract, gelatin, and fat from the bones. 

Noodles are usually straight and are low water addition noodles.

And toppings are chicken chashu and vegetables.

Soup: Chicken bone

Noodles: Straight and low water addition noodles

Toppings: Chicken chashu and vegetables

11. Different Ramen Styles by Family Tree

You can also categorize types of ramen by family tree of restaurants too.

Ie-kei Ramen 

Soup of iekei ramen is called “tonkotsu shoyu” soup.

Because this is made of tonkotsu ramen broth and soy sauce.

In Yokohama, in 1974, Yoshimura Minoru opened a ramen shop called Yoshimuraya.

He used to be a long distance truck driver.

He thought…

“If I mix tonkotsu ramen of Kyushu and shoyu ramen of Tokyo, it might be tasty...”

And he opened his ramen shop.

This soup has thick, little salty, and rich taste.

Chefs add chicken oil into the soup, so that soup is savory.

Noodles of iekei ramen are straight and thick.

Toppings are chashu, spinach, green onions, and nori(seaweed).

Iekei fans love especialy nori seaweed.

Nice flavored nori goes well with this thick soup.

At iekei ramen shops, you can usually choose the saltiness of soup, amount of fat, and conditions of noodles.

Like…

Soup(salty / normal / less salty)

Amount of fat (much / normal / little)

Noodles( Hard / normal / soft)

Do you know?

There are over 200 iekei ramen restaurants in Japan.

Some of them are apprentice of Yoshimuraya, some of them were inspired by Yoshimuraya style.

Do you know how to know which ramen shops are iekei?

The answer is…

“家(ie)”

If there is a character “ie” in the end of their shop name, it is iekei.

You cannot read chinese characters?

Don’t worry.

If the restaurant’s name ends with “ya”, it is iekei.

This character is called “ie” and “ya”.

Soup: Tonkotsu shoyu 

Noodles: straight, thick, high water addition rate (30 to 35%)

Toppings: Chashu, spinach, green onions, and nori(seaweed)

Jiro-kei Ramen 

Some people call jiro-kei ramen pig food.

Because of this impactful outlook.

However jiro-kei ramen has a lot of enthusiastic fans called jirorian.

This ramen is very addictive.

The soup of jiro-kei ramen is made of pork meat, pork bone, garlic, cabbage, soy sauce, and pork back fat.

Noodles are flat and very thick. It looks like udon noodles more than ramen noodles.

Toppings are chashu, boiled cabbage, bean sprout, diced garlic.

The origin of jiro-kei ramei was created by Yamada Takumi.

In 1968, he opened a ramen restaurant called Mita Honten in Tokyo.

He was a traditional Japanese chef.

And he thought…

“I can make a good ramen restaurant easily.”

However it didn’t work well.

A chef in his neighborhood worried about him and suggested practicing in his restaurant.

He practiced in his neighbor's restaurant  for 3 month.

In addition,

He received valuable advice from a customer who was from Hokkaido.

Since then, jiro-kei ramen has gotten popular.

And there are so many jiro-kei restaurants out there.

Soup: Pork meat, pork bone, vegetables, and soy sauce

Noodles: Very thick, flat, and water addition rate: 33%

Toppings: Chashu, boiled cabbage, bean sprout, diced garlic

Aoba-kei Ramen

Soup of aoba-kei ramen is made of 2 kinds of broth.

One is pork bone and chicken bone broth.

And the other is seafood broth.

Aoba-kei ramen was created by Haga Yoshinori in 1996.

He is a owner of Chuka Soba Aoba.

He came up with the idea that…

What if he combined Tokyo ramen style broth and Kyushu tonkotsu style broth together?

Tokyo style ramen broth is made of bonito, dried sardine, and dried marcel.

And Kyusyu tonkotsu ramen broth is made of pork bone.

But there was a problem.

The temperature that you get from these two different ingredients was different.

So he made 2 different broths separately.

Right before he served ramen, he mixed the broth together.

This soup is now known as “double soup” 

This tonkotsu and seafood broth has made one of the standards of ramen broth in Tokyo nowadays.

Noodles are middle thick straight.

And toppings are chashu, menma, nori, and naruto.

There is some black pepper on the chashu. 

This black pepper adds some spicy accent to aoba-kei ramen.  

Soup: Double soup

Noodles: Middle thick, straight,

Toppings: Chashu, menma, nori, and naruto

Taishoken-kei Ramen 

There are 3 family groups of taishoken-kei ramen.

Nakano, Higashi Ikebukuro, and Eifukucho.

But usually taishoken-kei reffers to Higashi Ikebukuro taishoken-kei.

This Higashi Ikebukuro Taishoken was opened by Yamagishi Kazuo.

He is known as the inventor of tsukemen and god of ramen.

He got the idea from a meal prepared for employees when he was learning to make ramen at a kitchen.

The meal was made of redundant noodles, soy sauce, and soup.

Chefs dipped the noodles into a soup in a cup and ate it.

After he opened his own restaurant,

He thought…

“If I put this dish into the menu, it might be popular.”

And it got really popular.

Soup of taishoken-kei ramen is made of pork bone, pork foot, chicken, ground pork, dried sardine, and fish powder.

This soup has sourness, spiciness, and sweetness.

Noodles are thick and high water addition noodles.

They use eggs in order to make these noodles.

These noodles are smooth, slippery, and have a nice chew. 

Soup: Pork bone, pork foot, chicken, ground pork, dried sardine, and fish powder

Noodles: Thick, straight, high water addition 

Toppings: Chashu, naruto, green onions, menma, and nori

Menya Musashi-kei Ramen 

Soup of Menya Musashi-kei ramen is made of pork bones, dried sanma(pacific saury), shrimp flavored oil, and soy sauce.

This soup is a little sweet like soba noodles.

Noodles are middle thick straight and high water addition.

Toppings are chashu, menma, green onions, ajitama, and nori.

In 1996, Yamada Takeshi opened Menya Musashi in Tokyo.

He used to be an entureplaner of the fashion industry.

The company was really big, and he made 23 million dollars revenue a year. 

However, when the bubble economy burst, he got a lot of debt.

After that, he decided to open a ramen restaurant.

Did you know?

He is the first person to introduce the ticket machine in a ramen shop.

He is also known as an innovator of the ramen industry.

Designing the interior of the restaurant fashionable,

Playing jazzy musics at the restaurant,

And doing a lot of collaboration projects with other companies.

He also invented dried sanma and shrimp flavored oil for his ramen soup.

He has never had a teacher making ramen.

The store name came from a samurai warrior Miyamoto Musashi.

Because Yamada likes his quote.

“There is no teacher for me in everything.”

This is the reason why his ramen and restaurants are so unique.

Soup: Pork bones, dried sanma(pacific saury), shrimp flavored oil, and soy sauce

Noodles: Middle thick straight and high water addition

Toppings: Chashu, menma, green onions, ajitama, and nori

Nakamuraya-kei Ramen 

Soup of Nakamuraya-kei ramen has light, delicate taste, but full of umami.

This style is also called “Kanagawa tanrei-kei”.

It is made of chicken bone, bonito, and dried sardine.

Usually, Nakamuraya-kei ramen restaurant serve shio ramen and shoyu ramen.

 

Noodles are thin, straight, and raw water addition rate.

So these noodles go well with the soup.

Toppings are spinach, chashu, half boiled egg, nori and menma.

Two different slices of chashu is in the ramen bowl.

Chicken chashu, and pork chashu.

In 1999, Nakamura Shigetoshi opened a ramen restaurant called Nakamuraya.

His ramen creation journey started in San Diego.

He did homestay and studied in the United States.

One day, he decided to make soup stock in order to treat his host family.

And he thought,

“I want to make ramen by myself when I go back to Japan.”

After he went back to Japan, he started to study how to make ramen at a shed of his parents house.

So he didn’t have a teacher for that.

According to him, he learned from instant noodles.

In the beginning, he tried to recreate the taste of instant noodles using natural ingredients.

Nakamuraya is also famous for a performance of draining hot water.

It is called “Tenku otoshi”.

This is a very dramatic way of getting rid of water using a strainer.

Soup: Chicken bone, bonito, and dried sardine

Noodles: Thin, straight, and raw water addition rate

Toppings: Spinach, chashu, half boiled egg, nori and menma

Ganko-kei Ramen

Soup of ganko-kei ramen is made of beef bone broth and salt or sauce. It is saltier than regular ramen.

Noodles are wavy and middle thick and really hard.

Toppings are tender and melting chashu, nori, menma, green onions, and fried green onions.

Did you know?

There is no sign or advertisement of ganko-kei ramen restaurants.

You might think…

How do you know where the restaurant is?

Answer is…

Beef bone!

When the ganko-kei ramen shop opens, you will see a bone in front of the building.

The beginning of ganko-kei ramen was…

When Ichijo Yasuyuki opened Souke Ganso Ichijoryu Ganko Ramen in Tokyo in 1975.

Chefs are really serious about making ramen.

So that they won’t open the shop if they couldn't be satisfied with the soup that they made on the day.

The interesting thing about ganko-kei ramen shops is their names.

Their shop will be named like…

Ganko 2nd, ganko 3rd, ganko 4th...

This number means how close to the originator.

Ganko 2nd is a shop that has a chef who was an apprentice of the originator.

And Ganko 3rd is a shop that has a chef who was an apprentice at Ganko 2nd.

Soup: Beef bone and salt or soy sauce

Noodles: Wavy and middle thick and really hard

Toppings: Chashu, nori, menma, green onions, and fried green onions

Seabura Chaccha-kei Ramen

In order to make the ramen soup rich, chefs sprinkle pork back fat into a ramen bowl.

The backfat gives ramen some sweetness.

Seabura means back fat in Japanese language,

And chaccha is a sound of a strainer that sprinkles back fat. 

This is the reason why it is called seabura chaccha-kei ramen.

Soup of seabura chaccha-kei ramen is usually tonkotsu soup.

Noodles are a little soft, middle thick, wavy and flat.

Toppings are chashu, green onions, menma, and ajitama.

The person who started seabura chaccha-kei ramen was Ushikubo Hideaki.

He opened a ramen stall stand called Hopuken in Tokyo in 1960.

At the time, ramen was supposed to be light and simple.

He wanted to create his own style that he really liked to eat.

12. What's the difference between chuka soba and ramen?

Basically, they are the same thing.

Then why are there different words for the same dish?

It is because of historical background.

The word of ramen has been changing.

Shinasoba -> Chukasoba -> Ramen

From Meiji period (1868 to 1912) to the end of the Second World War,

This dish was called shinasoba.

Chukasoba is the name since the end of the Second World War.

Because the Chinese people didn’t like using the word Shina for China, it was replaced with “chuka”.

The word ramen has spread widely after the release of Chicken Ramen by Nissin in 1958.

For a while, people used the noodles from restaurant or food stall chukasoba.

And they called instant noodles ramen.

But eventually, the word ramen has got widely used for these kinds of noodles.

I explained that ramen and chukasoba are the same thing.

However:

Actually, there are some differences between ramen and chukasoba.

Chukasoba is a style of ramen that has light shoyu soup or shio soup.

Broth of chukasoba is made of chicken bone and seafood.

It is the style of Tokyo shoyu ramen.

The older types of ramen.

And when you use the word chukasoba, usually you are talking about this style of ramen specifically.

Ramen is wider than chukasoba.

Calling newer types of ramen chukasoba is wired to me.

13.What is the difference between ramen and instant ramen?

Have you ever wondered, what is the difference between ramen from restaurants and instant ramen?

Let me ask you a question.

Which of these following statements are TRUE?

A. Kansui (lye water or alkaline solution) is used in both ramen and instant ramen.
B. All instant ramen are fried in order to keep them preservable.
C. Instant noodles have the most calories in comparison to half a bag of potato chips and meat sauce spaghetti.

The correct answer is...

A

A lot of people think ramen and instant ramen are very different, but in reality, they’re not really that different!

The noodles in both consist of wheat flour and kansui. 

Kansui adds some flavour into the noodles and this flavour goes well with the ramen soup.

Here is the process of making ramen or instant noodles:

  1. Mix kansui and flour together.

  2. Make the dough flat.

  3. Cut into thin noodles.

  4. Divide into one-meal portions. 

-------Additional process for instant ramen-------

  1. Steam the noodles.

  2. Dry the noodles.

  3. Cool down the noodles.

  4. Pack the noodles into cups or bags.

So why is Statement B incorrect?

Instant ramen are not ALL fried in order to keep them preservable, others are actually blow-dried with hot air.

Deep fried instant noodles:

Blow-dried instant noodles:

 As we all know, instant ramen have a very long shelf life. When we open up a bag or a cup of instant ramen, we see a block of super dehydrated and compacted noodles inside. How do they get dehydrated for the packing process?

There are actually two kinds of drying-process for instant noodles:

  1. One is frying the noodles. After steaming the noodles, workers fry noodles in 300F oil for 2-3 minutes. This method can drastically decrease the water content from 30% to a few percent.

  1. The other way is placing in a drying machine which blows hot wind (approx. 180F) for over 30 minutes.

So why is Statement C also incorrect?

Instant noodles have the least calories in comparison to half a bag of potato chips and meat sauce spaghetti.

Potato chips (half bag or 4oz bag) : 608 calories

Meat sauce spaghetti : 329 calories

Instant noodles : 280 calories

This actually makes instant ramen the lowest calorie snack out of the three!

Ramen at a restaurant gives us an amazing dining experience and takes us on a journey of rich variety with the many broths and toppings we can select from.

Instant noodles are a quick and convenient lazy lunch when we’re hungry and don’t have time to cook.

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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