Japan has many delicious dishes including Sushi, Tempura, Yakiniku, and Yakitori, just to name a few. Let us introduce you one of Japan’s favorite comfort food: Ramen. Ramen is a hot bowl of soup with noodles and various toppings.
For many in the U.S. ramen may be more familiar in the form of instant ramen noodles where you can find in most grocery stores. There are close to 32,000 ramen restaurants across Japan, signifying the popularity of ramen in Japan.
It is said that the first ramen restaurant in Japan, Rai Rai Ken, was opened by a Chinese chef back in 1910 in the Asakusa neighborhood of Tokyo. The soup base was soy sauce which is still a favorite to many in Japan. Today there are other soup bases including miso, salt, and pork bone. Toppings and noodle types are carefully chosen based on the soup base used.
Ramen is also known for having special ingredients, noodle types, soup bases, or toppings based on the location of the restaurant. The chef’s craftsmanship of creating a harmony between all the ingredients can be seen in each bowl. The intricacy of this may be the reason why ramen is loved by so many for so long.
Pork bone and soy sauce is always on top of the list for favorite soup base. Many also order Gyoza (fried dumplings) and fried rice as a side.
The most common time for ramen is lunch, but many enjoy a bowl of ramen after drinks or even for breakfast!
Check out the fun ramen Chigiri-e motif created by one of our instructors. Click here to learn more about Chigiri-e.