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Types of Ramen

Updated: Aug 29, 2022

Japan has many different types of ramen which are categorized according to their two main ingredients: noodles and broth. Most noodles are made of four basic ingredients: wheat flour, salt, water, and kansui (—a type of brine).

Kansui is what makes ramen different. Kansui is water that comes from several lakes in the Inner Mongolia region that contain high minerals. This mineral is what makes the noodles yellowish in color and has a strong texture. Eggs can be used as a substitute for kansui.

Some noodles are made without eggs or kansui and should only be used as yakisoba because they have a more crumbly texture, are less prone to moisture absorption, and are very soft when served in soups.

For ramen soup, it is generally made from chicken or pork-based broth. The broth is combined with seaweed, skipjack flakes (katsuobushi), dried baby sardines (niboshi), beef bones, pork bones, shiitake mushrooms, and onions, or it can be a vegetable-based broth.

Tonkotsu (豚骨—pork bone) is a type of white ramen soup. This soup is similar to Chinese baiting and has a thick broth made of pork ribs, fat, and collagen that forms after hours of cooking.

From the combination of soup and noodles, ramen is divided into four categories:

Shōyu (醤油—Soy-Sauce)

Shōyu Ramen is the oldest of the four types of ramen. This type of ramen has a clear brownish soup. Made from basic ingredients of chicken and vegetables, this broth is seasoned with soy sauce so that it tastes more savory and salty but still feels light on the tongue. Shyu Ramen is usually served topped with boiled egg, carrots, kamaboko (fish cake), bean sprouts, and spring onions.

Shio (塩—Salty)

The salty ramen soup is pale yellowish in color and clear, made from salt-based ingredients and combined with chicken, vegetables, fish, and seaweed. Sometimes, pork bones are also used as a stock base but are not cooked for as long as in tonkotsu soup. This type of ramen is usually served with kamaboko topping and pickled plums.

Miso (味噌)

This type of ramen is one of the new types of ramen because it was only known nationally around 1965. This ramen was first made in Hokkaido with a combination of miso and chicken or fish broth. The gravy is slightly thicker, slightly sweeter, and very tasty. Miso soup ramen is usually served with corn, green onions, bean sprouts, and minced pork as toppings.

That's all types of ramen. Regular ramen restaurants are more crowded during winter because they can warm the body.

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