Ai Nihon 愛日本: Gourmet Ramen The Fast Food Style

- June 30, 2012 - 0

Everyone loves ramen- it’s cheap, simple and satisfying making it a perfect meal for anyone on the go. If you are thriving on instant ramen, all you need is one sip of freshly made real ramen to wipe off all memories of bland soup and soggy noodles. The fragrant, rich and liberal use of ingredients will make you come back asking for more. Anyone could enjoy gourmet ramen. It cost about 600 to 1000 yen ($6 to $10) for a ramen meal. Most ramen bars in Japan serve ramen within 15 minutes and some even use vending machines to take orders.

Photo by shinichiro*

Although ramen originated from China, it is completely different from Chinese wheat noodles soup as it comes in different variety of broth, toppings and noodles. Typical ramen soup includes broth made from tonkotsu (pork bone), shoyu (chicken or beef), seafood and miso. Each ramen bar broth is distinct from another.

A perfect bowl of ramen mainly depends on its noodles and broth. Unlike spaghetti, there isn’t always a perfect al dente for ramen. The noodles are soak in hot water before transferred briefly into cold water forming a springy but not too firm texture.

Ramen broth requires a lot of time and effort. The broth simply isn’t a typical dashi. Tonkotsu is made by boiling pork and lard up to 16 hours to suffuse pork flavor into the broth that is meticulously made from a variety of herbs and ingredients. Shoyu is made from a combination of chicken or beef stock with soy sauce to form a deep dark broth that is not too salty or tangy.

Tonkotsu Ramen. Photo by toshi123

Ramen comes with a variety of different toppings including slices of meat, fermented bamboo, crabsticks, seaweed, fishcake, nori and vegetables. Individual chefs usually decide on what ingredients to be mixed together according to the taste and flavor of the broth.

Shoyu Ramen. Photo by Jon Siegel

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