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What Is Tonkotsu? Tonkotsu Soup Will Become Your Next Favorite

Tonkotsu means pork bone.

“Ton” means pork, and “kotsu” means bone in Japanese.

Tonkotsu is the main ingredient of tonkotsu ramen soup.

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.

1. If tonkotsu ramen is Power Ranger, he will be Black Ranger

Black Ranger is as strong as Red Ranger, and he has leadership qualities too.

And he has a strong presence in the team.

When I was a kid, he was the coolest ranger among all the other power rangers.

2. True story: This thick and creamy tonkotsu ramen soup is addictive.

During summer vacation one year, I stayed in Tokyo by myself for the first time to go to cram school, 

I discovered Hakata style ramen literally next to the cram school. 

Have you ever had this kind of experience? 

The excitement that you discovered something important. 

Feeling good about yourself that you found something new and cool.

 I got instantly addicted to the ramen there…

The soup of tonkotsu ramen is known for these distinctive characteristics:

3. 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.

4. This soup contains a lot of umami

This is due to the inosinic acid from the bones.

5. Gelatin and fat from the bones give the broth its distinctive taste

Gelatin thickens the soup,

And fat emulsified with the soup. 

Emulsifying means combining two different liquids, which don’t ordinarily mix, together.

In our case, oil and water.

You want to emulsify ramen soup and oil.

Doing so, you will not feel the oiliness of the soup

But the flavor of the oil stands out.

The soup feels a lot milder.

Good ramen soup is emulsified by boiling the broth for a long time.

6. The only downside to this broth is the residual smell

It is from the animal bone,

So as common condiments to this ramen, ginger and garlic are used.

7. You need a long time to make tonkotsu soup

In order to get umami from the bone marrow.

You need to boil pork bones for a long time,

Or under high heat and pressure.

8. Knee joint bones are the best for tonkotsu soup

These tibia and thigh bones have  more umami than other parts of bones.

This part  is called genkotsu in Japanese. 

9. Now, do you want to know the recipe for tonkotsu soup?

Here is how.

If you can gather these ingredients, you simply just need to simmer them, 

So it is quite simple.


  • 4 pork knee joint bones   
  • A carrot         
  • An onion        
  • A green onion  
  • An apple
  • 1/4 of cabbage           
  • 5 clove of garlic     
  • 1 piece of ginger


1. Soak pork bone in the water overnight

Through this process, you can get rid of blood from the bones.

2. Bring water to boil in a large pot, and heat up the pork bones into the pot for 10 minutes then wash the bones in cold water

Doing so, you can clean the bones and avoid getting skims from them.

3. Crush the pork bones using a hammer

So you can get umami from the bone marrow.

4. Simmer all the ingredients with a lot of water for 6 hours in high heat

5. After the soup gets cloudy,  strain the soup.

6. Done!

10. Tonkotsu broth is actually used for other kinds of ramen beside tonkotsu ramen

Yes, you heard right.

Tonkotsu broth can be used for shoyu ramen, miso ramen, and shoyu ramen.


Unlike cloudy tonkotsu ramen soup, 

The tonkotsu soup for these ramen is transparent.

This is because you don’t use high heat to make broth for these types of ramen.

Doing so, you can make transparent soup.

11. You can use this soup for hot pot, dumpling soup, curry, fried rice, etc

This umami rich tonkotsu soup will be very useful in your kitchen.

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


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


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.

Green onion

4. Have you ever faced these issues...

A lack of large, high-quality soup bowl sets at home?

Are you still struggling with...

😢 ...small bowls that aren’t large enough for soups, noodles and toppings.

😢 ...spillage every time you eat out of your bowl.

😢 ...low-quality tableware and utensils that don’t compliment your food.

Look no further, 

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.

Want to hear why some people absolutely love our ramen bowls?

"These are perfect for homemade ramen soup nights! The bowls we have at home are not large enough and my wife has been trying to look for larger bowls. I'm so glad I stumbled upon these. They made a great Christmas gift for the whole family. Everybody was so excited and we can't wait to put them to use on our next ramen night."

"Amazing quality! They are very durable. I dropped it from standing height to test if they would break, but no dents or anything."

"The shape, the color, and the overall appearance of the bowl was exactly what I was looking for - the shape, the color"

Check our sets on Amazon..


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.

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