Today’s blog is all about Ramen Noodles !!!
If you love eating, planning a ramen sub-themed trip around Japan would be interesting. Knowing the basics should enable you to keep a unique, personal travel notebook since regional knowledge and history of Japan is hidden in each ramen experience. If you do not have enough time, Shinyokohama Ramen Noodles Museum offers a similar journey as though visiting regions of Japan through your ramen tasting.
Ramen Noodles has become one of the most favored soul food among Japanese. Although there are new varieties to ramen, such as tsukemen (dipping noodle in broth), Japanese-western broth mix, and tomato ramen topping, a typical ramen is noodle in Japanese-broth soup. An easy way to understanding ramen is to pay attention to the type of soup (broth).
Ramen soup is broth made from multiple ingredients but is often times categorized by its most dominant taste: shoyu (soy sauce), shio (salt), miso (bean paste), tonkotsu (pork). Recently, its subcategories like gyokai-tonkotsu (fish and pork), miso-shoyu, shio-tonkotsu, are emerging as well.
Each region has their favorite flavor; some have made outstanding prominence that they became nationally known signature ramen of its region. Even ramen in same prefecture has different broth and taste. For example, Hokkaido has three dominant regional ramens: Sapporo, Hakodate and Asahikawa ramen. Sapporo ramen is heart-warming miso flavored ramen from the capital of Hokkaido prefecture where winters are constant blizzards. Hakodate ramen is tonkotsu, maintaining ramen’s Chinese origin, as Hakodate, after opening its port in 1854, was a port area with high accessibility to foreign culture. Asahikawa ramen has an evolving form, sometimes tonkotsu based gyokai mix, and sometimes shoyu based miso mix, since Asahikawa has been the center of commodity distribution as it is located at the center of its prefecture.
What looks like a simple dish actually has complex philosophy and history behind them. Perhaps, by sub-theming ramen Noodles in your travel, you may be able to get a closer look at regions of Japan.