Ramen Shop in Asan
Ramen is a Japanese soup made from long, thin, brown noodles. It usually consists of Chinese-style long wheat noodles usually served in a salty fish or meat-based stock, frequently flavored with soy sauce or mirin, and employs numerous toppings including scallions, sliced beef, or vegetables. The word “ramen” (pronounced ray) is an abbreviation for the phrase “Chinese-style noodle.” Ramen comes in four major varieties: regular, udon, tonkotsu, and futomaki.
Ramen has become a popular dish in many American restaurants and was even featured on an episode of “Oprah” with Guy Fieri. Ramen has a variety of nicknames: shoji, gyoza, sweet bean, chicken-yaki, rock-hard noodles, gomukai, ginger-dog, among others. In Japan, however, where ramen originated, it is called “ramen,” which literally means “round rice,” and is often served as a filling or side dish with Japanese steamed white rice. In China, it is called “hong cha,” literally meaning “leftovers.”
Tofu soup is one of the most traditional forms of ramen, flavored either with ginger or garlic and typically served with vegetables. This dish is also a trademark of Asian cuisine, having been adapted to the Western taste by the fusion of Oriental ingredients with the original flavors of local stock. For example, tonkotsu soup is made with a mixture of leftover chicken or duck breasts, ginger and soybean oil, spices like ginger and star anise, and chicken broth. There is no definitive word on how to make tonkotsu soup, but as far as what is typically seen in the soup, it is a thick soup that may have cubes of dried noodles in its stock.
Another familiar form of Japanese noodle dish is done, or Japanese omelet, which is prepared with okazu (rice cake) and egg noodles. The word “uma” means “leftovers” in Japanese. In Korea, a very popular quick-serve dish is a blog, a large serving of beef stir-fried with vegetables and spicy Korean red pepper paste. In addition to blog, banyan, salty soup with fish and onions, is also common in Korean and Japanese cuisines.
Ramen in Japan is a preparation of wheat flour, eggs and meat stock. Chinese ramen, which may be more difficult to find in stores in the U.S., is typically made with noodles of wheat flour and water. In addition to being used as a main ingredient, ramen has become a popular way for Chinese and Japanese to make their noodles and vegetables. Noodle chefs in Japan and China have mastered the art of combining ramen with various ingredients in order to create foods that are not only delicious but healthy as well.
The popularity of ramen in Japan and China has made it available to many other restaurants in the U.S. However, many diners in the U.S. have tended to shun ramen as well as other Asian foods. In light of rising pollution and other environmental concerns, many diners have also begun to favor grilled chicken and hamburgers over Japanese food. Given the extensive cooking skills that go into preparing authentic ramen, it seems that ramen lovers in the U.S. no longer have to forsake their beloved noodle dishes, especially since many have come to accept grilled chicken as a fine alternative to traditional ramen.