Ramen is a noodle soup that’s popularity has grown so much that it is taken off all around the world. Made with Chinese-style wheat noodles that sit in a broth and are served with various toppings. Depending on the region it hails from; there resides the different topping and the type of broth used in it’s making. Common ingredients include chopped pork, dried seaweed known as Nori, soy sauce or Miso to flavor the broth, green onions and kamaboko which is a type of cured surimi. There are many types of restaurants in Japan, from 8 course Kaiseki restaurants to the famous Teishoku restaurants where you can get a very economical meal. Although it has been the ramen spots that have become a big part of mainstream media from anime series to popular tourist destinations.
History behind the Ramen
Use to be called Shina soba which translates to Chinese soba up to the 1950’s, Ramen’s true origin is debated between it being originally Chinese or Japanese. Many Chinese spots started serving ramen by the early 1900’s and also stalls were used to sell the product as well as dumplings known as gyoza. Hiroshi Osaki, a famous ramen expert states that the first shop to specialize themselves on ramen only was opened in 1910 in Yokohama. In 1958 the instant noodle was created and this invention came to revolutionize the market. Named the greatest Japanese invention of the 20th century, the instant noddle allowed everybody to make ramen by simply adding boiling water to the noodles.
Although there are many types of ramen and variations, there are 4 clear categories under which ramen is divided.
Shio: Which stands for salt, is the oldest of them. With a broth that is clear and yellow, flavored with plenty of salt and combinations of chicken, vegetables, fish, and seaweed.
Tonkotsu: Made out of the slow cooking of pork bones over a long period of time with a resulting broth being cloudy and white.
Shōyu: Its clear brown broth results from the soy sauce added to and the stock used which provides it’s tangy yet light flavor.
Miso: This type of ramen originated on Hokkaido and its characteristic is the fact that miso is added to the broth which results in a more creamier and rich soup.