Translated by Verity Lane
Japanese Encylopedia: Ramen
Written by MATCHA
The word "rāmen" refers to a dish prepared with Chinese noodles, where the noodles and the ingredients are served together in a soup.
Ramen (ラーメン) refers to a dish prepared with Chinese noodles, served in a hot soup.
The Many Varieties of Ramen
Picturebvb taken from: Try out Iranian Salt Ramen Noodle at “BiaBia”
Ramen can be classified into three general categories: shōyu ramen (with a soy sauce-based soup), shio ramen (salt-based soup), miso ramen (soup flavored with miso, a traditional fermented soybean paste), and tonkotsu ramen (pork bone broth-based soup). There are also original recipes that combine two or three of the basic varieties of soup with added spices and seasoning - depending on the ramen restaurant or area. The soup stock is generally prepared from pork, beef, or chicken bones. You will also often come across soups that include fish stock, niboshi (dried sardine, obtained by boiling the fish before leaving it to dry) and katsuobushi (dried bonito tuna).
Picture taken from: Ramen KAZU – Taste the Comfort food At Kinkaku-ji, Kyoto
The variety of noodles can range from thick to thin and from straight to curly. Moreover, shops often allow the customer to choose whether the noodles are cooked firmly (katame) or normally (futsuu). The combination of noodles and type of soup is decisive for how the dish will taste. Roasted pork fillet (chāshū) and spring onion are the most common toppings for ramen. However, ingredients vary depending on the shop. For example some allow you to choose your own toppings, like eggs or spring onions.
Japanese ramen is also highly popular outside of Japan, with ramen food chains opening up more and more stores overseas every year.
Instant Ramen: An Original Japanese Product
Picture taken from: "The Cup Noodles Museum" in Yokohama to Learn All about Cup Ramen
Instant ramen is a type of preserved food that first appeared in Japan in the 1950's. Its ease of preparation has made it massively popular in a country that places a high priority on convenience. If you have some hot water at your disposal, it can be served immediately. Some types of instant ramen come with the noodles and soup mix placed in a separate package. Other types are referred to as "cup ramen", as the ingredients are placed inside a polystyrene cup. This means that you don't need to move them into another bowl when serving.
The manufacturing technology used to create instant ramen noodles and soup is constantly advancing. There are rehydratable noodles (kanmen 乾麺), which have undergone a freeze-dry technique. There is also the namamen 生麺 noodle type, which tastes like freshly made noodles. Also, the soup is either powdered or in liquid form, and there is a multitude of different flavors available.