Ramen is a soup-based noodle dish with Chinese roots. It has a variety of toppings and variations. Most ramens are made from pork bone broth, which is a rich source of umami. Some varieties are made with fish stock or chicken.
The noodle used in ramen varies, but they generally have the same shape. They can be thin or thick. Noodles are usually served boiled, but can also be cooked in the microwave. Many ramen restaurants use dried seaweed to submerge the noodles.
A popular topping is tamago, which is a hard-boiled egg. There are also naruto, which are white fish cakes. Menma, which are seasoned bamboo shoots, are another popular ingredient. Other ingredients include sweetcorn and tofu. Almost all ramens have rayu, which is hot chili oil. Various other garnishes can be added to ramen, such as sliced green onions, sliced mushrooms, scallion, chilli flakes, etc.
Toppings can vary by region and shop. Some shops only serve a handful of different toppings. Others might offer a selection of side dishes, such as yakitori, tempura, kara-age, or edamame. However, most ramens are set to come with their set list of garnishes. Depending on the shop, you may be able to add more, but the price will be an extra charge.
For the most part, ramen has three main elements: the soup, the noodles, and the seasoning. Most ramens are based on pork bone or tonkotsu broths. Broths are often seasoned with soy or miso. Besides the broth, many shops also add vegetables, such as carrots, cabbage, and spinach. When ordering ramen, you can pick your preferred flavor of broth.
The type of broth can change the taste of the ramen. Shio Tare, for example, is a salty broth that is often paired with seafood or chicken. Another type of broth is Shoyu. This is a sweeter, but not as salty broth. If you prefer a more vegetarian-based ramen, try a tofu-based broth.
Ramen is a common dish throughout Japan, but variations are found in nearly every region. In the Meiji era (1868-1912), Chinese noodle dishes were introduced into Japan. These recipes were later adapted by Japanese chefs. Eventually, ramen became the national dish of Japan.
Often, ramen shops will sell their noodles and ramen soups in a counter-style ramen-ya. Customers buy tickets to go inside the restaurant and pay for their ramen before it is prepared. Sometimes, a ramen-ya uses a ticket machine, which is a system that eliminates the need for customers to handle cash.
Most ramen-ya will serve gyoza, which are pan-fried dumplings. Served with a sauce, gyoza are a delicious addition to any ramen dish. Gyoza can be eaten with a mixture of soy sauce and rayu, which is hot chili oil.
Other popular ramen toppings are a slice of pork, sliced green onions, and sliced bamboo shoots. These are often served with a sauce, such as a soy-based sauce or a vinegar-based sauce. But the most important part of a ramen is the soup.