Ramen is a traditional Japanese dish, which was imported from China. They are “simply” spaghetti in broth, however they can have different characteristics.
Where to eat it
There are tens of thousands of excellent ramen restaurants throughout Japan, enter one at random without worrying too much.
If you want to have a real “ramen experience” I recommend Nagahama Miyoshi Ramen in Kyoto, or one of the many yatai in Fukuoka.
Consider spending around 1000yen.
How to eat it
Usually the Japanese “suck” ramen by making noise, without thinking too much about how hot they are. Often you can also order additional portions of spaghetti at only 100yen, an additional egg or meat or take a portion of gyoza that are very good to eat with ramen.
Accompanying GiappoTour I discovered that most of the Italians who come to Japan are convinced that there is practically only one type of ramen and that the differences between the various restaurants are minimal.
In reality there are mainly 4 types of ramen.
Depending on the type of ramen, the broth is prepared differently. There are broths prepared with dashi (fish-based) and broths prepared by boiling the meat.
Do not focus too much on the type of broth but more on how it is seasoned.
In addition to the type of preparation of the broth there is also to consider the seasoning of the broth:
- Shio: it is simply salt. In this case the broth seems almost transparent.
- Shoyu: it is the soy sauce, but not the one used for sushi but usually a special type. The broth becomes slightly brown.
- Miso: it’s fermented soy paste. It has a very strong taste and the broth becomes opaque.
- Tonkotsu: it’s a kind of ramen with a broth made from boiling pork bones for many hours. The color of the broth becomes opaque and the flavor is very strong and someone may not like it as well as make an impression after knowing the way it is prepared.
What is the best type?
There is no type that is better than others, it is a bit like pizza: there are those who like the Neapolitan style and therefore soft, those who like with the crunchiest pasta, those who prefer the one with the sauce and those with the white one, those who want mushrooms and those who love it with fresh tomatoes, etc..
Personally I think that the best ramen is the one with a strong and strong flavor, so usually I choose miso ramen or tonkotsu ramen but many do not agree with me of course.
I found the best ramen at the fish market in Hakodate, on the island of Hokkaido from “Kamome Ramen”: they prepare it with fish and add crab claws, scallops, shrimps etc. to the bowl. Even when I was in Fukuoka, in southern Japan, I ate a fantastic tonkotsu ramen in the famous Yatai.
To talk about areas easier to reach, in my opinion the real “ramen experience” is from Nagahama Ramen Miyoshi to Kyoto, a real tavern where only the most intrepid enter; there the tonkotsu ramen has a strong taste and the environment is definitely not very well cared for, but you will remember it forever.
However, I have the impression that generally the “shio” type and the “shoyu” type are more suitable for girls because they are lighter, the “miso” type is suitable for everyone but more for boys, while the tonkotsu type is suitable especially for boys. Maybe it’s an exaggeration, but I don’t think I’m wrong.
You don’t need to travel all over Japan to try out regional ramen varieties and even in Tokyo for example you can find different types of ramen from other areas. I’m not going into detailed descriptions but I’ll just give you a small summary.
Tokyo Ramen: seasoned with soy sauce. It was born in the district of Ogikubo, where there are still some historic restaurants like Harukiya Ramen: I have been there, good but it is not among my favorite ramen.
- Hakata Ramen: ramen tonkotsu.
- Asahikawa Ramen: made with seafood and pork, seasoned with soy sauce.
- Hakodate Ramen: seasoned with salt, with pieces of chicken.
- Karume Ramen: it is a type of tonkotsu, but even tastier.
- Kumamoto Ramen: is a type of tonkotsu, with the addition of garlic.
- Kagoshima Ramen: tonkotsu, with the addition of pork stock.
- Kitakata Ramen: pork broth with dashi made from dried sardines.
- Nagasaki Champon: with pork, seafood, cabbage. The tagliolini are cooked together with the soup.
- Sapporo Ramen: the most classic ramen made with miso.
- Tokutshima and Wayama Ramen: made with tonkotsu and soy sauce.
Recipe sent by Francesco Ristori with the collaboration of Yumi Morita and Kriss Yuka Goffi.
- Durum wheat flour (about 300 grams for 4 people)
- 7 eggs
- 1 Leek
- Nori seaweed
- 4 slices of pork
- Broth (or nut or powdered broth)
- Tagliolini, ramen (if you don’t want to prepare them at home)
- Pasta machine
- Frying pan
- Small saucepan
- Ramen is a Chinese recipe, but it has become much more popular in Japan, where they have specialized.
Preliminary remark: the broth can already be prepared by you (chicken or beef broth), or prepare it with a stock cube or powdered broth.
Prepare the egg pasta dough, placing the flour on a flat surface, then put the eggs in the center of the flour and knead for about 10 minutes, until the dough is homogeneous. Wrap in cellophane and put in the fridge to rest for about 2 hours. If you want to take advantage, clean the leek, remove the leaves too much and cut it into thin slices, a full handful will suffice. Prepare the broth (if you have not already done so) with a meat cube, according to the quantities specified on the label. Then boil the eggs in shell in a saucepan with water for a few minutes (better if the yolk does not cook too much).
After the set time, remove the dough from the fridge, rework it for a few seconds, and operate the pasta machine (mine can either roll out the dough with two adjustable rollers that make noodles and noodles), or roll out the dough (it should not be too fine) and then pass it through the rollers for noodles (if you do not have the machine, roll up the dough well floured and cut with a knife thin strips, when you open them will result in noodles).
At this point, take the slices of meat, heat them in a pan without oil (the pork always goes without) avoiding that they become hard.
Meanwhile, cook the tagliolini in the prepared broth, it takes 3-4 minutes, it is fresh pasta.
Serve the broth with the tagliolini in ceramic bowls, to which you will add the eggs cut in half (one egg per bowl), a slice of pork, a strip of nori, leek and a little ‘corn.
Of course there are hundreds of ramen recipes, and you can have fun changing some ingredients!