Of all the types of Japanese noodles out there… ramen (actually originally from China) might be the first to pop in your head.
Ramen is one of the most well-known and unique Japanese foods.
You can also consider it a type of Japanese soup, albeit with noodles.
But did you know that there are different types of Japanese ramen?
In this quick guide, you’ll learn about the 11+ different types of Japanese ramen… what makes them different, and so, so, so delicious.
So, take a look.
1. Miso Ramen
Miso ramen is one of the most common types of Japanese ramen.
Miso ramen uses a miso-based broth that is extremely flavourful. The miso adds a nice earthy umami taste and the noodles are generally thicker to accompany the broth. Miso ramen is said to have originated in Sapporo, Japan but you’ll be able to find this type of ramen all over the country. Although ramen is not the healthiest food, miso does provide some important vitamins and minerals that can improve your health.
One of the fattiest types of Japanese ramen is tonkotsu ramen.
This ramen uses a pork bone broth. It is a popular ramen in Fukuoka prefecture where they call it Hakata ramen. Tonkotsu ramen uses very thin noodles and customers can ask for more noodles to add to their broth if they are still hungry.
In other parts of Japan, there are also various versions of tonkotsu ramen with a variety of differences in toppings and types of noodles. Even outside of Japan, tonkotsu ramen seems to be one of the most well-known ramen types.
Shoyu ramen is one of the first types of ramen in Japan. It’s thought to originate around 1910 in Tokyo.
Shoyu ramen is characterized by a shoyu or soy sauce-based broth. It is usually a mixture of soy sauce and either chicken or pork broth. This is a very classic ramen and you’ll usually find toppings like bamboo shoots, braised pork, seaweed, and green onions. Noodles in shoyu ramen tend to be medium-thick wavy noodles.
4. Shio Ramen
Shio ramen is another classic Japanese ramen which uses a simple broth flavored with salt. It uses either chicken or pork broth that is not boiled for a long time. The flavor of this ramen is light with a pleasing saltiness. Toppings can be similar to other ramen like bamboo shoots, seaweed, green onions, and braised pork. However, one unique topping that can be added is butter and corn.
Tsukemen is a style of ramen in which the noodles and broth are separated.
The noodles are washed in cold water after boiling to remove its stickiness. The broth can come in different flavors but it is a concentrated version of regular ramen broth. This dish is eaten by dipping the ramen noodles in the strong broth. The toppings for the ramen can be placed inside the dipping soup. It is also possible to ask for hot water at the end so that you can dilute and drink the broth. Tsukemen can be a great way to enjoy ramen in a different format with an emphasis on the noodles.
6. Abura soba
Even though the name in this ramen contains “soba,” it’s still considered ramen.
Abura soba is a ramen that contains no broth. Instead, the noodles are flavored with pork fat and soy sauce. The noodles are exactly the same as what you would find in a typical ramen. Toppings can also be the same as a normal ramen with typical ingredients like green onion, egg, and braised pork. What’s attractive about this ramen is that you can fully enjoy the noodles without getting full from a heavy broth.
7. Tori Paitan ramen
This is a ramen which has a thick and fatty chicken broth. Similar to the tonkotsu ramen made from pork bones, this is a version made with chicken. Because it has been cooked for so long, the broth has a unique whitish creamy color. Tori paitan ramen often has simple toppings of chicken and green onions.
8. Gyokai tonkotsu ramen
Gyokai tonkotsu ramen is a type of Japanese ramen which combines a pork bone broth with fish flavors. The fish flavors are made by boiling bonito flakes and small dried sardines. The combination of pork and fish makes an irresistible ramen broth.
9. Black Ramen
Black ramen is a type of Ramen from Toyama.
As the name suggests, it uses a strong dark soy sauce broth with black pepper. It was originally created as a way for people whose work involved physical labor to be able to get more sodium into their diet. This is why this ramen can have a very intense salty taste. As black ramen has spread in popularity, you can now find some black ramen shops outside of Toyama prefecture.
10. Tantan ramen
This is a spicy ramen that is originally based off of dan dan noodles, a Chinese Sichuan noodle dish. Japan has created its own take on these noodles and it is more like a spicy pork bone broth ramen. The toppings can be spicy ground meat with green onions.
11. Curry ramen
Curry ramen is one of the newer types of Japanese ramen.
As the name suggests, It features a curry flavored broth. Why curry exactly? Well, Japanese curry flavor tends to be mild and sweet compared to what westerners might associate with curry. This ramen is popular in Niigata, Hokkaido, and Chiba prefectures. Although you can eat curry ramen at some special ramen shops, it has become widespread as an instant ramen flavor with companies such as cup noodle.
Conclusion – Over to You
Now you know a bit about the different types of Japanese ramen.
And you know what makes each unique and tasty.
Have you tried any of these?
Which one is your favorite?
Leave a comment!
– Team IJ