Ramen is one of the most popular Japanese foods in the world and there is good reason for it! A big, hot bowl of silky noodles mixed with a salty broth, meat, and vegetables – mmm!
What is Ramen?
Ramen is a Japanese noodle soup served in a rich broth usually along with cooked sliced pork, fresh scallions, and a soft-boiled egg. Ramen are noodles made from wheat flour, water, and salt, but not just any type of water – alkaline water. This gives the noodles their signature springy texture. The broth can contain a soy sauce or salt or miso – this changes the flavour of the ramen slightly, but it is dependent on what sort of ramen dish it is.
History of Ramen
There is a lot of debate over whether ramen originates from Japan or China. Ramen noodles actually gained popularity in both countries in the early 1900s but they were called ‘Chinese soba’ noodles at the time. Historians think that it was the Chinese workers who had food carts that introduced ramen to Japan, but nevertheless, the popularity of ramen rose after the second Sino-Japanese war and brought home the return of Japanese troops from China. Suddenly, Chinese restaurants were popping up all over Japan. In 1958, Ando Momofuku, a Japanese-Taiwanese businessman invented instant ramen – the biggest invention to come out of Japan in the 20th century. In the 1980s, ramen had become a cultural icon of Japan.
Different types of Ramen
There are various types of ramen from different regions in Japan: Sapporo, Kitakata, Tokyo, Yokohama, and Hakata ramen.
Sapporo ramen – is a real winter warmer and is cooked using miso. The toppings include sweetcorn, butter, chopped pork, and garlic. Sometimes, local seafood like squid, crab, and scallops are added.
Kitakata ramen – is famous for its thick noodles in a broth made with pork and niboshi (dried sardines).
Tokyo ramen – has a salty broth, made from chicken broth and soy sauce. Dashi (a Japanese cooking stock) is also used and topped with scallions, egg, nori, spinach and sliced pork.
Yokohama ramen – in Japanese, this ramen is called ‘Ie kei’ and thick noodles in a pork broth with soya sauce.
Hakata ramen – pork bones is the main ingredient as the soup turns white and thick from the bones. Thin noodles are added.
Where to find ramen in Singapore?
There are lots of restaurants and cafes in Singapore that serve piping hot ramen. Check out The Ramen House and the Ramen Stall. They both serve ramen at a moderate price and are rated highly on foodpanda!