Ramen is one of those foods that tends to go well with a wide variety of ingredients. As such, people all the time are coming up with new and exciting ways to enjoy their ramen. If you’re having a hard time deciding how to eat your ramen, consider these excellent topping ideas.
We also discuss the most popular types of ramen and how it’s usually served if you get it from a restaurant rather than a store.
What Is Ramen?
Ramen is simply a type of noodle soup that originally came from China. So popular is the food that it’s become one of Japan’s most beloved dishes in the past few decades. And in America, people often buy up ramen when they need a quick and easy meal.
What’s more, ramen is cheap, and you can get it just about anywhere. These two factors make ramen an ideal choice for people on a budget. Plus, ramen tends to have a pretty good shelf life.
Ramen bought from retail stores is usually far less extravagant than what you get in restaurants. As such, we’re covering the popular ramen types that you’d find in ramen shops and restaurants that serve ramen.
As you’ll see, there is a world of difference between pre-packed, store-bought ramen and what’s served in dining establishments. If you want the real deal, we recommend dining out or making your own ramen.
Popular Types of Ramen
Ramen noodles are usually classified according to the soup base, but it is not uncommon to combine different base ingredients. The primary types of ramen include:
Shio Ramen Soup is a light and clear soup that’s been seasoned with salt. While this type usually has a chicken broth base, other common flavorings include meats like pork.
Shoyu (Soy Sauce)
Soy sauce, or shoyu, ramen is a brown but clear broth. As its name implies, soy sauce serves as the primary flavoring. This soup typically has a chicken broth base. Depending on the region, however, it is likely to contain other meats, which can include beef, pork, or fish.
The soy sauce variety is the most common ramen type. As such, it’s usually offered whenever the menu doesn’t specify what type the soup is.
Tonkotsu (Pork Bone)
Tonkotsu Ramen, which is especially popular in Kyushu, Japan, is made with pork bones that are boiled until they dissolve into a white, cloudy broth. This thick and creamy soup often comes seasoned with pork fat and chicken broth.
Miso (Soybean Paste)
The miso type of ramen soup comes seasoned with miso (soybean paste). This thick and brown soup features a complex and rich taste. This style originates from Hokkaido, Japan, at a time when the cold winter months resulted in a need for a richer ramen soup. Today, this type of ramen is enjoyed by vegans in the United States and elsewhere in the world.
The following list details the most commonly used ramen toppings.
Chashu is fatty braised or roasted pork slices. Chashu is quite common among ramen toppings. Most standard ramen bowls typically come with a slice or two.
Salty and dried bamboo shoots.
Negi is shredded or chopped leeks. It can also be green onions. Karanegi is a shredded spicy chive mixed with chili oil. Negi is a standard for ramen, and karanegi often appears with miso ramen.
Cooked or raw bean sprouts add a crunchy sweetness that is suitable for ramen of all types.
Pickled, soft-boiled, and hard-boiled eggs are all popular ingredients for virtually any kind of ramen noodles. But like many other ramen toppings, tamago isn’t vegan-friendly, so proceed with caution if you’re on a strict diet.
Many different kinds of seaweed are commonly served with ramen in Japan and elsewhere. This vegan-friendly addition is sure to add flavoring to your ramen.
Kamaboko is steamed slices of fish cake. Naruto (narutomaki) is one of the main types of fish cake traditionally served with ramen.
The same corn you get in a can is usually served with butter and often comes with shio or miso ramen noodles. The corn helps add depth to your meal.
Butter helps add creaminess to ramen while also making it heartier. It is usually added to shio or miso ramen noodles.
Side Dishes for Ramen
Although ramen can easily be a dish all on its own, many restaurants that serve ramen offer various side dishes to eat with the noodles. The sides vary from restaurant to restaurant, but almost all offer potstickers.
These pan-fried Chinese dumplings are served with a blend of vinegar, soy sauce, and hot chili oil. They go well with ramen, so be sure to order potstickers if they aren’t automatically served with your order of ramen.
Some places even offer set meals. These sets come with an order of ramen, potstickers, and sometimes dishes like fried rice and a drink. Ramen sets are like combo meals at fast-food restaurants, where you get additional items at a discounted price.
Ramen is usually eaten using chopsticks. At home, however, most people eat store-bought ramen with a fork. In restaurants, Chinese spoons may be provided to help add toppings and to consume the soup. It’s also acceptable to pick up your bowl of ramen and drink it.
Ramen noodles will get soaked and soggy pretty quickly. As such, you should eat them right after they are served to you. Try sipping your ramen, as doing so can enhance the flavor and help cool the hot noodles. It’s perfectly OK if you leave your unfinished soup in your bowl after eating.
You don’t need to finish the entire bowl in an effort to be polite. However, doing so is considered showing compliments to the chef.
Looking for More?
We hope you enjoyed our best ramen topping ideas. If you’d like to learn about other interesting recipes, ingredients, or discussions on cooking, be sure to head on over to our info page. We focus primarily on vegan-friendly foods, but you can find other topics there, as well.