Japanese Noodle Soup – These Types Exist

Japanese Noodle Soup: Ramen Types Introduced

For many, ramen is the ultimate Japanese noodle soup. The term describes both the noodles and the soup, which also applies to soba and udon. The noodles came to Japan from China in the 19th century and were adapted by the islanders to their own preferences. They consist of wheat flour, salt, and water, which have a high proportion of potassium and sodium carbonate. Depending on your choice, there is also ramen with eggs. Ramen noodles are available fresh, dried, steamed, or instant. They are often slightly yellow in color and quite thin. The broth is also important. Five typical variants exist in addition to the regional versions:

  • Miso Ramen: The main ingredient in miso ramen is miso. This is a paste made from fermented soybeans that are used in a variety of dishes and provide the color of the broth. It is often served with chilies.
  • Shio Ramen: Shio is the Japanese word for salt, which indicates the flavor of ramen. Sea salt is typical for the clear broth and fish and seafood are often boiled down as a basis.
  • Shoyu-Ramen: Shoyu is the Japanese word for soy sauce and also indicates the flavor of the ramen. The broth is significantly darker and spicier. Shoyu ramen is very popular in Tokyo.
  • Tonkotsu ramen: A specialty of the southern island of Kyushu is tonkatsu ramen. The broth has an intense whitish-gray color due to the long period of boiling pork bones. The escaping gelatin provides the flavor and texture of the ramen. The preparation time takes about 18 to 20 hours.
  • Paitan-Ramen: Paitan-Ramen is tonkotsu’s cousin, so to speak. Instead of pork, chicken bones are boiled down, which cuts the preparation time in half. The taste is a little softer, but the chicken can be tasted clearly.
  • All ramen variants can be prepared differently. The individual types only provide information about which ingredient clearly determines the taste. If no specific meat is required for the broth, even vegan ramen can be prepared.
  • Typical ingredients for ramen include pork, nori, naruto maki (fish cake), boiled eggs, and spring onions. However, the possibilities in terms of ingredients are infinitely varied and you can determine them yourself.

Japanese noodle soups with soba and udon

Compared to ramen, udon and soba are purely Japanese noodles. They are two different types of pasta served in the same broth. For this reason, they are presented together. Udon is the thickest noodle from Japan and is made from wheat flour, salt, and water. Seawater is used for traditional udon. They are very elastic and a bit difficult to eat for chopstick novices. Soba, on the other hand, consists of at least 30 percent buckwheat flour, optionally wheat flour, salt, and water. They are significantly thinner and easily brittle, which makes processing difficult. The following types of preparation can be mentioned:

  • Zaru: The cooked noodles are served on the zaru, a special bamboo sieve that also serves as a plate. The noodles are then dipped in a spicy sauce (Mentsuyu) and eaten. Nori is also often served with it.
  • Kitsune: Kitsune is the Japanese word for fox and refers to the legend that fried tofu (aburaage) is eaten by animals. The noodles are served in a dashi broth (tuna and kombu stock) and served with aburaage.
  • Tanuki: Tanuki is also an animal, namely the raccoon dog (Nyctereutes procyonoides), which according to another legend stole fried fish and vegetables from the dough. What remains are dough crumbs (tenkasu), which are also served in a dashi broth together with the noodles.
  • Curry: Curried udon and soba are fairly new and combine the taste of Japanese curry with a dashi broth. This gives the soup an extremely spicy character, even spicy depending on your taste. The combinations of ingredients are even more extensive here.
  • The number of different udon and soba noodle soups does not stop there. If you travel to Japan, you will encounter the most diverse variations of the popular dishes.

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