A Guide To Finding Your Ideal Ramen!
Japanese Food & Cuisine
Do you have an opportunity to eat ramen in daily life?
Ramen is a dish made with “noodles(flour)/ soup(broth)/ toppings(roast pork, green onions, seasoned bamboo shoots, etc)”
These days, the combination of the noodles(thick/thin), soup(flavor), and toppings have become more diverse, and there are countless ramen noodles to choose from. For both ramen lovers and for those who are not used to eating ramen, we’d like to deliver information that would excite your interests!
The Essence of Taste! ①Focus on the Soups
When it comes to the taste of ramen, the “soup” is the essence.
Soups that make up a ramen’s good taste, are categorized into the following 4 classes:
Perhaps the most classic ramen soup of all. Commonly made up of soy sauce and “dashi (Japanese stock)”, Shoyu soups vary depending on what the dashi is made from. Main ingredients of dashi are: dried small sardines/shellfish/chicken/pork-bone/old-fashioned ramen (a mix of ingredients such as fish flakes, dried small sardines, pork-bone, chicken broth, vegetables).
A soup for those who prefer light-seasoning. This soup is also a mix of salt flavored sauce and dashi. Shio soup lack taste of animal products. Instead, in most cases the soup contains ingredients for stock that go well in light flavor, such as dried small sardines/chicken/shellfish.
A soup for those who prefer relatively rich flavor. As opposed to Shio, Miso is rich in flavor and makes for a great match with animal products, often blended with pork-bones(in the image of a dehydrating miso soup, some Miso ramen adds shellfish)
A soup for those who love rich flavor with a kick! As the name goes, to make Tonkotsu soup, Tonkotsu(pork-bones) are boiled to fully extract its broth. A hint of soy sauce may also be added to enhance its saltiness. Tonkotsu ramen range from the genuine “Tonkotsu” like Hakata Ramen, to “Tonkotsu Shoyu,” also known as Iekei Ramen.
The key to a great ramen! ②Focus on the Noodles
As for the “noodles” combined with the soup, they tend to vary in thickness depending on the soup flavor. Noodles are roughly categorized by thickness into “thin/medium-thick/thick”, as well as by shape, “straight/wavy.” Which soup goes well with each ramen…?
Generally, thin noodles are matched with light flavored soups (Shio/Soy Sauce), and thick noodles are matched with rich ones (Miso/Tonkotsu).
(The thinner the noodle, the more soaked it gets, so serving thin noodles in a rich soup will make it taste too strong. That’s why light flavored soup makes a better match.)
The variations of these noodles are endless, from noodles that are al dente, crisp, or go down the throat smoothly. When you go to a ramen store, it may be interesting to focus on the “noodles” as you eat.
Writer’s Recommend! 2 Ramen Stores That’s Hot Now
Now that the ramen’s soups and noodles have been explained, I’d like to talk about my recommendation on famous ramen stores.
①Ramen is all about noodles! If you agree, read this.
“Jun Teuchi Daruma” in Nakano-fujimicho
Very close to the Marunouchi Line Nakano-fujimichō Station, where residential areas expand, is a ramen store famous for its home-made “wavy and flat noodles.”
You can select the serving size for free, and when I entered the store, I was surprised to see many customers, even female customers ordering “large” servings. As for the taste, the decently wavy noodles were coated well with a light flavored Shoyu soup, and the noodles were al dente with a smooth texture going down. It was a masterpiece that I couldn’t help eating up all at once.
Also to note, the walls where they make the noodles are fronted with glass, so depending on the time of day, you might be able to watch the noodle making process.
② From the Writer’s Hometown, but Not to Show Favor! A Miso Ramen Masterpiece
“Mendokoro Kei” in Ageo City, Saitama
I have eaten countless dishes of ramen in Tokyo, but I still consider this ramen as my No.1 favorite.
You can eat this powerfully rich and intense Miso ramen in Ageo City, Saitama(the nearest station is Takasaki Line Ageo Station or Kita-Ageo Station, the store is between the two.)
A thick soup with the flavor of pork-bones and vegetables go excellently with the rich miso, and it coats the straight medium-thick noodle well. Clearly a masterpiece.
In my opinion, the pork slices made of large pork ribs were also made to perfection, and was the ultimate combination with the Miso soup! I’d definitely recommend stopping by this store in Saitama!
【Notes from the Writer】
Did you find this article interesting?
I may have become too enthusiastic about the ramen around the end, sorry about my awkward writing, but that just shows how wonderful the world of ramen is! I hope you will feel the same.
Let us all eat, eat , and find the ideal ramen!