Ramen, short for “ramen,” is a tasty Japanese noodle soup. It usually consists of Chinese-styled wheat noodles cooked in a soy or meat-based stock, usually flavored with ginger, scallion, shoyu, or other light and flavorful toppings, and sometimes even with egg white. The word “ramen” comes from the Japanese word for wheat. Ramen can be found all over the world, and is used in many countries as a fast food.
When I was growing up in Tokyo, I remember going to my grandmother’s house almost every day for ramen and other assorted Japanese comfort foods. My grandmother would make the best ramen I’ve ever tasted, but because it was so expensive she couldn’t go out to eat quite often. This was quite common during the Edo period, which was roughly from 16tion to the Meiji Period, also known as the Golden Age of Japanese Food, when the demand for foreign foods like ramen became very high. Ramen was particularly popular in China, especially in Cantonese-style restaurants.
Back then, tokyo was a big city, and the people there had a great deal of money, so they could afford to serve very good ramen wherever they went. This is not necessarily the case in most of today’s cities in the developed world. Ramen isn’t served at cheap, affordable lunches anymore, unless it is on a tiny plate with some odd assortment of odd ingredients. Most ramen served in the United States is quite elaborate – sometimes it is a full meal with vegetables.
Most kaiten noodles are made from a combination of ingredients. There are two varieties of ramen: one is the thin, flat noodles, the other is the thicker, leaf-like noodles. Both varieties are typically served with a sweet and salty topping. There is a wide variety of toppings in Japan. Some of the more popular ones include: sugar (often imitation sugar), various fillings (often kamaboko, a filling of mochi balls), vegetables, seafood, meat, mushroom, meat, chicken, beef, seafood, ginger and many others.
When I was young, every ramen restaurant had a counter manager. They would ask if the customer wanted one of several different kinds of ramen and place it in a large wooden bowl. The waitress would then bring it over and set it down on the counter. That was it! Nowadays, ramen restaurants have counters, tables, buffets, sushi bars, refrigerators, sushi restaurants and indoor restaurants. Even if the original purpose of the kitchen was to cook rice, it has evolved into many other forms and is now used for many types of food.
When I was in Tokyo, I noticed that there were many ramen restaurants where you could get a bowl of ramen noodles and have an instant delicious soup. Many of these ramen restaurants have indoor gyms where you can do your best exercise while enjoying your bowl of soup. If you love ramen, don’t miss out on this opportunity to experience the authentic Japanese way of cooking this wonderful soup.