Ramen has become a worldwide culinary phenomenon. It’s inexpensive, easy to eat and highly customizable. A bowl of ramen is a perfect meal on its own, but it can also serve as an appetizer or snack and is great for pairing with beer or wine. It’s a popular dish to order at restaurants and it is also a staple at Japanese homes.
Depending on the region, ramen can be made with a variety of broths and meats. Popular broths include chicken, pork, beef, seafood and vegetables. The meat used can vary from chashu (pork belly), lean beef, pork shoulder, marrow and more. The noodles can be thin or thick and can come in either egg, soy sauce based, or wheat based varieties. Many ramen shops have their own unique cooking methods and recipes, but all follow the same basic principles.
Most ramen is served in small bowls and comes with toppings. Toppings can be anything from a soft boiled egg, shredded or cubed char siu, green onions, mushrooms, chili crisp, or sriracha.
One of the simplest ways to customize your ramen is by adding different sauces. Many ramen shops have a selection of sauces that you can add to your bowl to create your own flavor profile. This is a great way to experiment and discover which ingredients go best with your ramen.
Another option is to add a splash of sesame oil to your ramen. It gives the soup a delicious aroma and nutty flavor. The best type of sesame oil to use is toasted, dark in color. If you don’t have toasted sesame oil, you can still make a great ramen by using regular unsalted sesame oil.
For a heartier bowl of ramen, you can add in some sliced chashu, grilled chicken, or cooked shrimp. Tofu is also a popular choice and can be made either firm or fried to add texture. If you are a vegetarian, you can choose to add a hard boiled egg to your ramen or use a vegetable substitute such as gochujang or doubanjiang.
You can also add a variety of extras to your ramen, including pickled ginger, roasted red peppers, onions, and furikake. It’s important to note that adding these extras can alter the overall balance of flavors and textures of the dish, so be careful not to overdo it.
Ramen is a cultural phenomenon with deep roots in Japan. While it started as a working-class sustenance, it became a beloved symbol of the country during its economic recovery after World War II. Solt explains that a number of geopolitical and social factors contributed to its rise, such as the reindustrialization of Japan’s workforce and the redefining of national identity during the twenty years of economic stagnation.