There’s no denying that ramen has taken the world by storm, but what is it exactly and why do we love this comforting Japanese dish? In a nutshell, ramen is a Japanese noodle soup that is served hot. The broth is based on a combination of fish, meat or vegetables and the toppings vary from shop to shop.
The noodle is usually made from flour and the dough is mixed with water, creating a thin pasta-like consistency. The flavour of ramen is enhanced by the broth, which can be created using a variety of ingredients including pork bones, chicken bones, dried fish, vegetables and seasonings. The broth is then topped with a selection of garnishes and served.
Authentic Japanese ramen is notoriously difficult to make at home, but the results are worth the effort as it offers a true taste of Japan. The recipe has been developed over time and involves a lot of preparation and cooking. In fact, preparing the ramen broth alone can take up to four hours!
The most common types of ramen are shio (salt), miso, Shoyu and Tanmen. These variations are largely due to the soup base and noodles, but each style has it’s own characteristics.
Ramen is also available in a instant form, essentially pre-packaged noodles and soup that can be purchased at convenience stores across Japan. These packets of ramen can be enjoyed on the go, but aren’t as satisfying as a bowl from an actual restaurant where you can choose your own noodles and toppings.
When choosing a ramen joint, you should always try to visit one that uses high-quality ingredients. The best ramen is not only rich and delicious but also healthy. This is because the ingredients used are of high-quality and free from any additives. The best ramen is also not only low in sodium but it’s also high in nutrients and minerals.
The first ramen restaurant, Rairaiken, opened in Tokyo in 1910 and was the origin of what we now know as ramen. Today, there are countless variations of ramen all over the world that differ in their saltiness, richness and flavour. Despite this huge amount of variation, there are three main elements that define ramen: soup, noodles and toppings.
To get the most out of ramen, you should begin with the prepared seasoning, which is often put in first and can be a number of different things from a mixture of salts to dried fish to sake or soy sauce. This creates a foundation of flavour that will influence the rest of your ramen.
Then comes the soup, which can be a range of different things including pork bones, chicken bones, vegetable stock or even a combination of these. It’s also possible to make a ramen with a vegetarian or vegan option.
The most popular toppings for ramen include a marinated egg, boiled and shredded menma (bean sprouts), scallions, kamaboko (thinly sliced fish cakes with a red swirl) and chashu (pork slices). These toppings all add to the flavour of the ramen and can be adjusted to suit your own personal preferences.