Where to Get Great Ramen in Tokyo

Ramen is a traditional Japanese noodle soup also known as dumpling. It usually consists of Chinese-style thin wheat noodles cooked in a flavorful, thick broth, frequently flavored either with soy sauce or miso, plus added toppings like scallions, thinly sliced beef, or vegetables. Sometimes ramen is served raw. In both cases, the stock is the main ingredient and is typically seasoned with ginger, shoyu (a Chinese cooking seasoning) and as well as sesame oil and mirin, a type of sweet alcohol. The dish is usually served in front of a bamboo mat in a dining area.


Thin, fluffy, and healthy-though not quite as slimy Ramen has been a favorite diet food of Asian cuisine for many years. Although it contains large amounts of fat and calories, it’s a well-balanced and low-calorie dish that satisfies most healthy dieters. There are two varieties: one is the chicken-based shio ramen, which is made by simmering chicken (with the skin intact) in stock and then adding various seasonings and ingredients to thin out the broth; the other is the vegetarian version, made with noodles (though it can be made with other types of noodles, such as buckwheat).

Ramen has a long history in China. In fact, the earliest reference we have is in the Song dynasty, when a combination of ingredients was used to make a light soup that was called “ramen.” Ramen dishes were extremely popular during the Japanese occupation of China, when all foods except for rice were forbidden, so people had to learn to prepare and serve ramen.

As you would expect, ramen restaurants quickly gained popularity across the country, even overseas. The first known international ramen restaurant was opened in Tokyo in 1926. Fast forward sixty years later, and ramen shops are booming all over the world. Today, ramen restaurants are particularly popular in many Asian countries, particularly China, Japan, India, South Korea and Philippines. In these places, the dishes are often spiced and deep-fried to make them more delicious, especially when compared to the American version of ramen.

If you’re planning on trying to find a good ramen restaurant in your area or visiting a ramen restaurant while on vacation, there are several things to keep in mind. First of all, do not trust companies that claim to have “mithai” or “ramen” when they don’t. This is another ploy to sell their products, and the term “mithai” means raw fish or meat. Real “mithai” is simply fish that has been cooked properly. Many reputable restaurants will actually have the word “mithai” written on their menu somewhere.

Another thing to keep in mind when looking for good ramen restaurants or ramen shops is that the ones that are really good do not serve instant noodles. If you’re eating real, traditional ramen, which is typically prepared by using authentic ingredients such as tonkatsu, egg noodles or miso soup, then it should be piping hot. Ramen chefs will move the bowl of noodles around on the conveyor belt to ensure that each bite is absolutely fresh. It is not always possible to keep this kind of cooking up to this point, so a lot of restaurants will replace the instant noodles with “store bought” noodles. The result is that the restaurant’s product, which is usually just noodles and soup, ends up tasting like store bought. Ramen shops are a great place to try authentic ramen.