"Ramen" is a popular Japanese food that is now attracting attention from all over the world.
It is said that ramen began to spread throughout Japan in the early 1920s, and in the process, various styles were established and a variety of flavors were developed throughout the country, making ramen an extremely diverse food culture.
In this issue, we introduce "Shoyu ramen," "Miso ramen," and "Shio ramen," which can be considered the basic flavors of the diverse ramen culture.
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Japan's Ramen Culture is Diverse
Ramen originated as a Chinese noodle dish, and it is said that foreigners (mainly Chinese) came to Japan with the opening of Japanese ports that brought ramen culture to Japan.
The most orthodox style of ramen is soy sauce-based ramen, or "chuka-soba," but miso and salt variations were eventually created, and these "soy sauce, miso, and Shio (salt)" became the basic flavors of the dish.
Eventually, "tonkotsu ramen", which is made by simmering plenty of pork bones in a broth, and ike-kei ramen, a fusion of tonkotsu ramen and shoyu ramen with a twist, appeared. The ramen culture in Japan has evolved in its own unique way, with each region developing its own unique ramen and establishing ramen as a local cuisine.
Incidentally, the "three major ramen" in Japan are Hakata ramen with its milky white pork bone broth, Sapporo ramen with its miso-based soup topped with local specialties such as corn and seafood, and Kitakata ramen with its refreshing soy sauce and pork bone broth.
Soy Sauce Ramen Features
This ramen combines a chicken broth mainly made of chicken stock with soy sauce.
It is the most basic ramen and is sometimes referred to as "Chinese soba.
Menma, chopped green onions, and chashu pork are standard toppings.
Most local ramen is soy sauce ramen, with Asahikawa ramen, Kushiro ramen, Kitakata ramen, Tokyo ramen, and Hachioji ramen are typical examples.
Miso Ramen Features
Miso soup is used as the base of ramen, especially in Hokkaido's miso ramen, as typified by Sapporo ramen.
Hokkaido miso ramen is typically topped with Hokkaido specialties such as corn, crab, and scallops.
Also popular in recent years is spicy miso ramen, in which chili paste is added to miso ramen.
Shio Ramen Features
This ramen features a beautifully clear broth made of chicken broth and salt.
Fried sesame seeds, corn, seaweed, and chashu pork are the standard toppings, and some restaurants add ham made from chicken for a lighter feel.
Hakodate ramen is a typical local shio ramen.
The Profound World of Ramen
The world of ramen is very deep and there are many different styles.
In recent years, it is not uncommon to find ramen with complex flavors, combining chicken and pork bones, seafood broth such as dried bonito flakes and dried bonito, and vegetable broth, and then adding back a blend of salt, soy sauce, and other ingredients.
Toppings have also diversified, and new styles continue to emerge, such as the addition of pork backfat and charred garlic.
More and more people in Japan and around the world are becoming fascinated with the world of ramen, where there are no strict rules or standards and people can freely explore their own unique tastes.
Furthermore, ramen is characterized not only by soup and toppings, but also by a variety of noodle shapes, including thin, medium-fine, thick, straight, and curly noodles. Ramen is the trinity of noodles, soup, and toppings. The combinations are almost endless.
Why don't you take your own special soup and make your original ramen?