The different types of ramen I am going to introduce today are all the signature dishes of Japanese cuisine. They strongly reflect the culinary tradition of the country. In addition, each type has a lot of regional variations.
This article will give you the most outstanding features of these ramen noodles, including the ingredients, flavors, and how to serve them. A lot of interesting information is waiting for you ahead. Is there any reason to ignore it? I guess not!
7 Main Types Of Ramen That You Should Know First
In Japan, ramen noodles are classified into 7 main types, depending on the ingredients that are cooked with them. This section will provide you with the essential information about these 7 versions. This table outlines their basic features.
|Types of ramen||Flavor||Broth||Topping|
|Shoyu ramen||Light, tangy, and savory||Vegetables, soy sauce, chicken, fish, or beef stock||Kamaboko (fish cakes), boiled eggs, chāshū, and menma (marinated bamboo shoots)|
|Miso ramen||Umami, nutty, tangy, and a little bit sweet.||Chicken, miso, and pork||Vegetables, menma, and seaweed|
|Shio ramen||Salty, light||Chicken, salt, fish, vegetable, or pork stock||Seaweed, chashu, narutomaki (fish cakes), kamaboko, pickled plums, and lean chicken meatballs.|
|Tonkotsu ramen||Light||Pork bone, garlic, ginger, pork back fat, and chicken carcasses.||Eggs, chāshū, corns, and green onions|
|Tsukemen ramen||Strong||Dashi||Boiled eggs, nori, menma, and chashu.|
|Kare Ramen||Curry||Pork bones, curry, and vegetables||Chashu, bean sprouts, and wakame.|
1. Shoyu Ramen
In Japan, “shoyu” means soy sauce. This ramen is called “shoyu” because it contains a lot of soy sauce. The broth often consists of vegetables, chicken, fish, or beef stock. Some cooks love to add Chinese spices or chili oil.
The toppings include kamaboko (fish cakes), boiled eggs, chāshū, and menma (marinated bamboo shoots). Some people serve it with sliced beef instead of chāshū.
Although Shoyu ramen has a lot of soy sauce, it is not too salty. It tastes rather light with some tangy and savory notes.
As for the noodles, the cooks often use curly noodle strands to make shoyu. Sometimes, they also use straight noodles.
A lot of people are crazy about Shoyu ramen. You will also be after you try it.
2. Miso Ramen
Miso ramen comes from Sapporo, Hokkaido Prefecture, and is popular all around the country. It is named after its main ingredient, which is miso (fermented soybean paste). It thickens the broth and adds a unique flavor to the noodle soup.
The broth is also made of pork and chicken, lard, tonkotsu, or fish stock. The soup comes out nutty, tangy, and a little bit sweet.
Miso paste normally consists of miso, rice, or soybeans. It comes in different colors, namely white or red. What is distinctive about miso ramen is that it has a thick and creamy texture and an umami flavor. People often use thick, chewy, and curly noodles to make Miso ramen.
The toppings for miso ramen are mostly vegetables, such as spinach, carrots, bean sprouts, and bok choy. In addition, it also has menma, seaweed, tobanjan (chili bean paste), and ground pork.
3. Shio Ramen
Shio ramen has a very salty flavor since it contains a lot of salt. Notably, it is the oldest ramen variety in Japan. People use straight noodles to make it. But the degree of thickness varies a lot.
The broth is usually made from chicken, fish, vegetable, or pork stock. You can spot shio ramen based on its distinctive light yellow color. Compared to other types of ramen, Shio ramen has a lighter taste since the meat or fish is not boiled for a long time.
The topping of this ramen often includes seaweed. It has a low fat and oil content yet a high amount of sodium. Some other choices are chashu, narutomaki (fish cakes), kamaboko, pickled plums, and lean chicken meatballs.
After trying this Shio ramen recipe, you will be addicted to it.
Tonkotsu ramen came from Fukuoka Prefecture on the Kyushu island of Japan. Local people also call it “Hakata ramen.” Although this variety of Japanese noodles is a delicacy in Fukuoka, it has gained popularity in other parts of Japan and also the world.
In the past, Tonkotsu ramen was served to those who worked in the fish market. It is cheap and is considered fast food only. But now it has become so popular.
What makes Tonkotsu ramen special is its broth. People make it by boiling pork bones for a very long time until the broth gets cloudy. Then they add other ingredients, namely garlic, ginger, pork back fat, and chicken carcasses.
Common toppings for Tonkotsu ramen are eggs, chāshū, corn, and green onions. To make the noodle look more attractive, consider using a beautiful and high-quality ramen bowl.
The noodle strands used to make Tonkotsu ramen are also very unique. The center of the strands is often hard. Semi-hard strands are called “futsu,” hard strands are “barigane,” soft strands are “yawamen,” and “barikata” refers to firm strands.
Tsukemen ramen is served differently from other types of ramen. People place the soup and the noodles in 2 separate bowls. Then they dip the noodles into the soup and enjoy it. People often use soba or udon noodles to cook this ramen.
The soup of Tsukemen ramen tastes much stronger than that of common ramen. Adding hot water will make it lighter. It consists of dashi and some other flavors. People also serve it with boiled eggs, nori, menma, and chashu.
I would like to talk a little bit about the history of Tsukemen Ramen. It originated in 1961 in Tokyo. It was a restaurant owner named Kazuo Yamagishi who invented it. Over time, it has become increasingly popular.
Tsukemen ramen is a very popular Japanese dish that is available all around the country. In America, you can find it in Los Angeles.
This Tsukemen ramen recipe will make you feel over the moon.
6. Kare Ramen
Kare ramen is a new and special type of ramen that has the flavor of curry. Its origin is still a mystery. Some people believe that it came from Muroran in 1965. Citizens of Sanjō also say that it originated in this city over 80 years ago. Some theorize that it came from Katori.
The broth for Kare ramen consists of pork bones and vegetables. People add curry to create a tasty signature flavor. The types of noodles used are curly and thick noodles. As for the toppings, you can have chashu, bean sprouts, and wakame.
7. Instant Ramen
In Japan, people also call instant ramen “cup ramen.” It comes in a variety of types and flavors. But the common thing between them is the noodles. Instant ramen most often uses thin and curly noodles. To enjoy the best taste, add an egg to it.
Nowadays, instant ramen is not only popular in Japan, but also in other parts of the world. The largest brand, Nissin Foods, popularized it to the world in 1971.
Instant ramen is delicious and takes a short time to prepare. Many people love it so much that they even wonder if ramen is edible raw. Yet it is not a healthy option. It contains fat and sodium, which can cause several health conditions such as strokes and heart diseases.
Nowadays, instant ramen is also available in the canned version. It contains soup, noodles, pork, and menma. You can find it in Akihabara. It has a lot of flavors. The most common ones are tonkotsu and curry.
13 Regional Varieties Of Ramen To Broaden Your Horizon
Besides these 7 main types of ramen, there are a lot of other regional varieties that you will find in famous Japanese cities. In this section, let me introduce you to the 10 most delicious regional varieties.
1. Hakata Ramen
Hakata ramen is a variety of Tonkotsu ramen. It came from Fukuoka, a region in Southern Japan. It uses thin, straight, and resilient noodle strands.
Unlike other types of ramen, Hakata ramen does not have a lot of toppings because its broth is full of flavors. However, there are various toppings available on the table for you to choose from, such as sesame seeds, crushed garlic, and spicy pickled mustard greens.
Traditionally, Japanese people sold Hakata ramen for fishermen. Nowadays, it has gained popularity all over the world.
Kagoshima ramen originated from Kyushu. The broth consists of dried sardines, dried mushroom, kelp, chicken stock, and vegetables. This ramen has a very light taste. People often serve it with thick noodles and pickled daikon.
The topping for Kagoshima ramen is mainly chashu. Kagoshima is famous for kurobuta pork, so the chashu in this ramen is incredibly tender and delicious.
3. Kurume Ramen
The broth of Kurume ramen is made of pig’s head and trotters. It is rich and incredibly flavorful. This ramen shares some similarities with Tonkotsu ramen in that it also has a broth made from pork bones. People often top Kurume ramen with seaweed and fried pig lard.
4. Abura Soba
Although the name indicates that it is a Soba dish, the noodles used are ramen noodles. Abura Soba is different from other types of noodles in that it does not have broth. Instead, people serve it with a tare sauce.
Abura Soba can go with a variety of toppings such as scallions, nori, egg yolks, seasoned ground pork, and chashu. You will see different toppings depending on the region.
5. Okinawa Soba
Although this is a Soba dish, its broth bears some similarities with ramen broth. It contains thick-sliced boneless pork rib, kombu, and katsuobushi flakes. Common toppings include pickled ginger, scallion, and fish cakes. This dish is a delicacy of Okinawa island.
Sapporo ramen is a specialty of Sapporo, which is the capital city of Hokkaido. It is a variety of Miso ramen. Local people love to enjoy it during the cold season. The broth is made of tonkotsu pork bones, and the noodles used are curly noodles.
A wide range of toppings is available for Sapporo ramen. People top it with bean sprouts, garlic, chopped pork, and butter. Sometimes they also add seafood, such as crab, squid, or scallop.
Originating from Hokkaido, Hakodate ramen has a deliciously light flavor. The salty broth is made of chicken. The noodle strands are straight. The degree of thickness varies, which can be thin or medium.
People often top Hakodate ramen with menma, leeks, spinach, corn, chashu, scallions, and fish cakes.
This type of ramen comes from Asahikawa, a city in Hokkaido. The delicious dish consists of fish, pork, and chicken. It is also salty, thanks to the amount of soy sauce. However, there is always a layer of fat on top, but the overall flavor is still amazing.
The noodle type used for this ramen is wavy noodles.
Tokyo-style ramen is one of the oldest varieties. People make the broth using pork or chicken bones, soy sauce, and dashi resulting in the classic dark broth. They serve the broth with slightly thin and curly ramen noodles.
As for the toppings, common choices include seaweed, spinach, fish cakes, bamboo shoots, chashu, soft-boiled eggs, and of course, scallions.
10. Kitakata Ramen
Kitakata ramen got its name from its city of origin, which is Kitakata. It is located in Fukushima. The broth mainly consists of soy sauce, niboshi (sardines), chicken, ve, or tonkotsu. People top it with chashu, bamboo shoots, green onions, and fish cakes.
The cooks use hirauchi jukusei takasuimen noodles for this ramen. They have a thick and wavy shape and firm texture.
11. Wakayama Ramen
If you love the flavor of Tonkotsu and Shoyu ramen, Wakayama ramen is what you should try next. Local people also call it “chuka soba”, which means “Chinese soba”. It combines the essence of pork bone broth and soy sauce, resulting in a mouth-watering dark brown soup.
You have plenty of options when it comes to toppings. You can top it with chashu, menma, green onions, raw eggs, and fish cakes.
Tsukemen originated in Tokyo. Unlike other types of ramen, people serve Tsukemen by putting the soup and noodles into 2 different bowls. They boil the noodles and soak them in cold water to retain the firm texture.
The accompanying soup is very flavorful. You can enjoy it warm or cold. If it is too bold, you can add some dashi to neutralize the flavor.
13. Yokohama Ramen
The broth of Yokohama ramen is very similar to Tonkotsu ramen. People often call it “Tonkotsu-Shoyu”. It uses thick and straight noodles. You can choose to enjoy soft or firm noodles, rich or light soup, and even adjust the amount of oil that goes into your ramen.
Yokohama ramen is served with boiled spinach, roasted pork, nori, soft-boiled or hard-boiled eggs, and negi (shredded Welsh onions).
Ramen noodles have a variety of toppings. Some may be familiar to you, while others may not. In this section, I will present an overview of each type of toppings. Read on!
Soft-Boiled Eggs: This is the most common topping. People often submerge them in soy sauce and then slice them in half for serving.
Bean Sprouts: They add a crunchy texture to the ramen. You should stir-fry or blanch them before serving. They are also a very popular topping in Vietnamese noodle dishes.
Green Onions: Also called scallions, this topping is used for additional color, texture, and aroma. People chop them and sprinkle them on the ramen.
Shiitake Mushrooms: People top ramen with Shiitake mushrooms or add their dried form into the broth to make the ramen more savory.
Sesame Seeds: These seeds aim to add a nutty taste and crunchy texture. You can also use sesame oil instead.
Bok Choy: This is the most popular vegetable topping for ramen. It is best to quarter it before serving.
Menma: Its English name is “fermented bamboo shoots”. It provides the ramen with a sweet and nutty taste.
Kamaboko: Fish cakes are the iconic topping of ramen. They come in white and pink slices.
Nori: This topping is dried seaweed. It comes in dark green and crunchy sheets.
Beni Shoga: This is a type of pickled ginger with a bright red color. It is commonly served with tonkotsu broth.
Noodles are a very important element in a bowl of ramen noodles. The chewy texture and light flavor go well with the flavorful broth. In this section, let’s learn about the types of ramen noodles.
Ramen noodles vary in shape, texture, size, and degree of thickness. But most of them have a distinctive yellow color and elastic texture. This is because they are made from the same ingredients, namely water, salt, wheat flour, and kansui.
Kansui is the element that provides the noodle strands with a beautiful yellow color. It is a kind of alkaline water made from sodium carbonate and potassium carbonate.
Some cooks replace kansui with eggs, resulting in the common egg noodles. This noodle is now one of the most popular types of noodles used to make ramen.
In the past, people made ramen noodles by hand. People make the dough, stretch it, and fold it for a long time in order to create a thin, long, and even shape. But nowadays, they are commercially produced using machines.
While making ramen, you should boil the noodles in advance and add them to the soup. Boiling it directly in the broth will alter the flavor.
The section below will dig into specific types of ramen noodles according to their shapes and dehydration level.
Try the traditional method of making ramen, and it will be a great experience.
Ramen noodles come in various shapes. Some of them may not be familiar to you. In this section, let me show you all the different ramen noodles types classified according to their appearance.
Round noodles are probably the most common type of ramen noodle. You should always store some in your kitchen.
Using a wide-groove cutter results in flat ramen noodles that resemble the look of pasta and kishimen-style Udon noodles.
With a rectangular shape, reserved-flat ramen noodles can easily bring along the flavor of soup when you pick them up with chopsticks.
Straight is the most common shape of ramen. Probably it is used for most noodle dishes except for instant noodles.
Square ramen can be created easily by using the cutter grooves that have the same width as the ramen dough.
Used in instant ramen and some other ramen types, curved ramen is created by a special attachment that can turn the straight strands into wavy ones.
Classify Ramen Noodle By Level Of Dehydration
Besides flour, water is also a very important ingredient in ramen noodles. It decides the degree of thickness as well as other features. There are 3 main types of ramen noodles
When noodles are made with a low amount of water, they tend to be very thin. They are also tough and hard. Ramen noodles classified into this group often have a water content of about 30% of the flour weight.
A ramen noodle is considered to have a medium water content if the proportion of water lies between 31% and 39%. This type is moister and softer.
If the amount of water in a ramen noodle is above 40%, it has high water content. As a result, the noodle strands are super moist and tender, just like udon noodles.
There are thousands of ramen noodle recipes. How can you choose among them? It is no more a difficult task with these simple and delicious recipes. Let’s find out what to make for today’s dinner!
1. Shoyu Ramen
This is a very basic Shoyu ramen recipe with a classic broth made from dashi, mirin, sake, and soy sauce, delivering a salty and tangy flavor. To make it healthier, I recommend that you use soy sauce with a low amount of sodium.
Do you love spicy noodles? Are you concerned about whether ramen is the right choice for a vegan diet? If yes, try this spicy miso ramen recipe, a superstar recipe in Japanese cuisine. The spiciness does not come from fresh or dried pepper but from a special Japanese chili oil called Rayu.
The star of miso ramen, fermented soybean paste, will give you a delightful culinary experience.
The recipe for Tonkotsu ramen seems to be complicated because it has a lot of steps and requires plenty of ingredients. You have to make the noodles, broth, and tare. But trust me! The result will be more delicious than you expected.
This creamy and rich Tonkotsu ramen recipe will be a crowd-pleaser.
4. Shio Ramen
There is nothing better than a bowl of shio ramen in winter. It is warm, salty, light, and so comforting. You can make the broth in advance and store it for up to 3 days. Amazing, isn’t it? Don’t forget meat, corn, and soft-boiled eggs. They are must-have toppings.
Ramen noodles have been the traditional dish of Japan for so many years. When mentioning Japanese cuisine, ramen noodles are always the first thing that pops up in people’s minds. It will be a shame if you don’t give them a try.
If you want to challenge your cooking skill, then making them at home is a great idea. With the recipes I have shared with you, nothing is impossible. Before you start making ramen noodles, don’t forget to give this article a share.