6 Types of Different Ramen Noodles Explained
different types of ramen noodles

What Are The Types of Ramen Noodles? Let’s Explore

Ramen isn’t just a meal, it’s a flavorful adventure. Each type of ramen offers a unique tasting experience that reflects its origins.

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Ramen noodles – the very mention of them evokes images of steaming bowls filled with rich broth, perfectly cooked noodles, and an array of mouth-watering toppings. Originating from Japan but beloved worldwide, ramen isn’t just a dish; it’s a culinary art form that has captured the hearts and taste buds of millions.

If you think that there is only 1 type of ramen, you gotta think again! In this blog, we explore more about what is ramen, its key components and the different types of ramen noodles. So, grab your chopsticks and prepare to slurp your way through the intriguing world of ramen noodles.

what is ramen

Ramen is a popular noodle soup meal that originated in Japan. It consists of Chinese-style wheat noodles served in a meat or (occasionally) fish-based broth. This noodle dish is usually seasoned with soy sauce or miso. The extensive toppings include sliced pork (chashu), nori (dried seaweed), bamboo shoots, and scallions.

Here’s a quick highlight on the key components of ramen noodles:

1. Broth

The broth is the first component of ramen. It is the base of the soup, which can be rich and creamy or light and clear. Some common types of broth include:

  • Tonkotsu: Made from pork bones, resulting in a thick, milky broth.
  • Shoyu: Soy sauce-based, often clear and savory.
  • Shio: Salt-based, typically light and clear.
  • Miso: Made with fermented soybean paste, creating a thick and hearty broth.

2. Noodles

The second ingredient is wheat-based noodles. The noodles come in a variety of thicknesses and styles, including thin and straight to thick and wavy.

3. Toppings

The final component is the toppings that go over the noodles. These could be ingredients that add flavor and texture to the dish. Some of the common toppings include:

  • Chashu: Braised or roasted pork slices.
  • Soft-Boiled Egg: Often marinated for additional flavor.
  • Menma: Fermented bamboo shoots.
  • Nori: Sheets of dried seaweed.
  • Green Onions: Sliced scallions.
  • Bean Sprouts and Corn: For added crunch and sweetness.

Types of Ramen

Let’s delve into the intricacies of each type of ramen noodle, exploring their origins, flavor profiles, noodle styles, broth compositions, and typical toppings in more detail:

1. Tonkotsu Ramen

tonkotsu ramen noodles

Tonkotsu ramen, which originated in Japan’s Kyushu area, particularly Fukuoka, is known for its rich and creamy pork bone broth. This is a rich and satisfying ramen dish with a strong pork taste that lingers on the mouth. This is the ultimate comfort dish, ideal for warming up on a cold day.

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What Does This Consist?

  • Broth: The broth is created by boiling pork bones for hours. This results in a milky-white liquid filled with collagen, velvety texture and a profound umami flavor.
  • Noodles: Traditionally served with thin, straight noodles that have a firm and chewy texture, delivering a pleasing bite.
  • Toppings: Common toppings include tender chashu pork slices, green onions, menma (fermented bamboo shoots), kikurage mushrooms, nori (seaweed), and a seasoned soft-boiled egg.

2. Shoyu Ramen

shoyu ramen noodles

Originating in Tokyo, shoyu ramen is characterized by its clear broth flavored with soy sauce, which lends it a savory and slightly salty taste. It is a well-balanced and versatile ramen dish, with a clean and savory broth that complements a variety of toppings. A classic favorite enjoyed by ramen enthusiasts worldwide.

What Does This Consist?

  • Broth: The broth is typically made with chicken, pork, or a combination of both, seasoned with soy sauce and other aromatics like ginger and garlic.
  • Noodles: Often paired with curly noodles that absorb the flavors of the broth effectively, resulting in a harmonious blend of textures and tastes with each slurp.
  • Toppings: Toppings may include slices of chashu pork, bamboo shoots, narutomaki (fish cake), spinach, green onions, and a seasoned soft-boiled egg.

3. Shio Ramen

Shio ramen is one of the oldest styles of ramen, originating from Hokkaido and other northern regions of Japan, where it’s known for its simplicity and purity of flavor. Shio ramen is refreshing and delicate, with a clean and nuanced flavor profile that allows the quality of the ingredients to shine through. It’s a perfect choice for those seeking a lighter ramen experience.

What Does This Consist?

  • Broth: The broth is clear and light, seasoned with salt and sometimes flavored with chicken, seafood, or vegetables. It highlights the natural sweetness of the ingredients without overpowering them.
  • Noodles: Typically served with thin, straight noodles similar to those in tonkotsu ramen, offering a delicate texture that pairs well with the subtle flavors of the broth.
  • Toppings: Common toppings include slices of chashu pork, green onions, bean sprouts, corn, and a seasoned soft-boiled egg.

4. Miso Ramen

miso ramen noodles

Developed in Hokkaido, miso ramen is influenced by the region’s cold climate and abundant agricultural produce, resulting in a hearty and flavorful noodle soup. Miso ramen is bold and robust, with a rich and savory broth that warms the soul. It’s a favorite among ramen lovers seeking a deeply satisfying and flavorful meal.

What Does This Consist?

  • Broth: Broth is produced with miso paste, which adds depth and complexity to the flavor profile, as well as additional components such as chicken, pork, and shellfish.
  • Noodles: Typically served with curly noodles that absorb the thick miso soup, delivering a delicious and warming slurp with every bite.
  • Toppings: Toppings may include pieces of chashu pork, corn, butter, bean sprouts, garlic, green onions, and a seasoned soft-boiled egg.

5. Tsukemen (Dipping Ramen)

Tsukemen originated in Tokyo as a variation of traditional ramen, offering a unique approach to enjoying noodles and broth separately. Tsukemen offers a unique and interactive dining experience, allowing diners to customize the intensity of flavor by controlling the amount of broth they dip their noodles into. It’s a popular choice for those who enjoy bold and robust flavors.

What Does This Contain?

  • Broth: The broth is more concentrated and intense in flavor compared to traditional ramen, often made with a combination of soy sauce, fish broth, and aromatics.
  • Noodles: Served with thicker and chewier noodles that are meant to be dipped into the hot broth, allowing for a more controlled and concentrated flavor experience.
  • Toppings: Toppings may include slices of chashu pork, soft-boiled egg, bamboo shoots, nori, and grated garlic or chili paste for dipping.

6. Vegetarian Ramen

While ramen is usually made with beef, vegetarian ramen has grown in favor as a healthier and more sustainable option, especially in modern culinary scenes. Vegetarian ramen is colorful and aromatic, with a healthful and nourishing character that highlights the richness of plant-based ingredients. It’s a fantastic alternative for both vegetarians and omnivores.

What Does This Consist?

  • Broth: The broth is made from a variety of vegetables, mushrooms, seaweed, and sometimes miso or soy sauce, resulting in a flavorful and aromatic base without the use of meat.
  • Noodles: Similar to other ramen varieties, vegetarian ramen can be served with a variety of noodle types, catering to different preferences and dietary restrictions.
  • Toppings: Toppings may include a colorful array of vegetables such as spinach, mushrooms, bamboo shoots, corn, tofu, and nori, offering a nutritious and visually appealing bowl.

Ways of Serving Ramen Noodles

Ramen is not only a culinary staple in Japan but has also become a global phenomenon, enjoyed by people worldwide for its rich flavors and versatility. There are two variations in which ramen noodles can be served:

  • a. Tsukemen : This is a ramen dish in which the noodles and broth are presented separately, and the noodles are dipped into the concentrated broth.
  • b. Vegetarian Ramen: Made with veggie broth and toppings, it is suitable for vegetarian diets.

DIY Ramen Recipe To Try Out 

ramen noodles inline 2

Here’s a simple and easy to make DIY ramen recipe that you can recreate at home. The following segment highlights the ingredients required and the detailed instructions to go about with the preparation process.

Ingredients Required For Homemade Ramen Recipe

a. For the Broth

  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon miso paste (optional, for added depth)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-inch piece ginger, grated
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil or sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon mirin (or substitute with 1 tablespoon sugar and a splash of vinegar)
  • 1-2 tablespoons salt, to taste

b. For The Noodles

  • 200 grams fresh or dried ramen noodles (available in many supermarkets or Asian stores)

c. For The Toppings

  • 2 boiled eggs, halved
  • Sliced cooked chicken, pork, or tofu (for a vegetarian option)
  • Sliced green onions
  • Blanched spinach or bok choy
  • Sweet corn kernels
  • Nori (seaweed), cut into strips
  • Bean sprouts (optional)
  • Sesame seeds (optional)

Instructions

1. Broth Preparation

  • In a large pot, heat the vegetable or sesame oil over medium heat.
  • Add the minced garlic and grated ginger, sautéing until fragrant (about 1 minute).
  • Add the chicken or vegetable broth, water, soy sauce, miso paste (if using), and mirin (or sugar and vinegar substitute).
  • Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and let it simmer for 15-20 minutes. Adjust salt to taste.

2. Cooking The Noodles

  • While the broth is simmering, cook the ramen noodles according to the package instructions. Drain and set aside.

3. Preparation of Toppings 

  • Boil the eggs, cool them in ice water, peel, and cut in half.
  • If using meat, cook and slice it thinly. If using tofu, cut into cubes and pan-fry until golden.
  • Blanch the spinach or bok choy in boiling water for 1-2 minutes, then drain.
  • Slice the green onions and prepare any other desired toppings.

4. Assembling

  • Divide the cooked noodles into serving bowls.
  • Pour the hot broth over the noodles.
  • Arrange the boiled egg halves, meat or tofu slices, green onions, spinach or bok choy, corn, and any other toppings on top.
  • Garnish with nori strips and sesame seeds if desired.
  • Serve the ramen hot, and enjoy your homemade bowl of comfort!

Additional Tips 

Feel free to customize your ramen noodle bowl with additional toppings like mushrooms, bamboo shoots, or chili oil for extra flavor. Use vegetable broth and tofu for a vegetarian or vegan version. Skip the egg or use a plant-based egg substitute if needed. If you can’t find ramen noodles, you can substitute with instant noodles (discard the seasoning packet) or any thin wheat noodles.

Conclusion

From the creamy richness of Tonkotsu to the delicate simplicity of Shio, ramen offers something for every palate and preference. That’s a wrap on our detailed article on the types of ramen noodles. If you are a noodle lover, you must try out these delicious varieties of ramen noodle.

Choose among your choice of broth, noodles, and toppings, and get on to exploring these ramen noodle variations.

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