Japan is well-known for iconic foods and one of them is ramen. Ramen is a great combination between China-styled noodles and Japanese soup. Besides standard ramen bowls, some restaurants dare to create other strange flavors and make it even more unique.
Although originating from China, after being “Japanized”, ramen noodles have gradually become a popular dish that tourists should not miss when traveling here. Born later than udon or soba but ramen still attracts various diners thanks to its nice taste and elaborate technique. Ramen noodles are made from wheat, processed immediately or aged in a cool place to achieve a certain taste and toughness. The broth is cooked from meat, vegetables, seafood and about 40 spices and simmered for many hours. Common ingredients in a bowl of ramen are thinly sliced pork, halved soft-boiled eggs, seaweed, vegetables, and green onions.
According to the website Statistics Japan, there were at least 35,000 ramen shops nationwide in 2013. Because of fierce competition and high demand, people have been constantly creating new flavors, some of which are sure to surprise many people.
It sounds weird but this combination pleases many who love both chocolate and ramen. On Valentine’s Day (February 14), Japanese restaurants offer ramen with chocolate or cocoa broth. Moreover, to make guests happier, they also serve more toppings such as chocolate bars, whipping cream or strawberries, in addition to basic ingredients.
Visitors can try chocolate ramen at four famous restaurants including Mensho Tokyo, Kipposhi, Kourakuen, and Papapapapine.
Not just simply putting some pieces of pineapple on, the Japanese show their culinary sophistication by fully exploiting the sweet and sour taste of this fruit. For example at Papapapapine restaurant, ramen noodles are cooked with pineapple juice, even medium-boiled eggs are soaked in the juice. Therefore, the noodle becomes more interesting after being made with the tropical flavor of pineapple.
Lemon is another fruit the Japanese use in ramen. Slices of beautiful yellow lemon are covered on top of the bowl, really fit with chicken broth. The mild sour taste absorbed into the noodles will reduce the greasy taste. However, you need to be careful not to soak the lemon slices in the bowl for too long so that the broth does not get bitter. Many diners suggest eating lemon ramen with fried tempura chicken.
Some addresses to try this are Rinsuzu Shokudo, Tenmaru Ramen, UMA Tsukemen, Torisoba Kotobuki,…
For those who like a cup of coffee after meals, coffee ramen promises to be a perfect 2-in-1 option. The dish is renowned at Aroma, a Japanese traditional café in a small corner in Tokyo. Here, ramen noodles are served with boiled egg, steamed fish cakes, bananas, salami and also ice cream, decorated with smiley faces. Both the noodles and the broth are made with coffee, giving you a rich flavor.
Inspired by the beauty of the sea in Hokkaido, a Taiwanese restaurant uses butterfly pea flowers to create a pretty blue color for the broth. When lemon juice is squeezed in the broth, it will turn light purple. Without using butterfly pea flowers, Japanese restaurant Kipposhi puts in a natural colored flour made from green spirulina good for health. The clear and nice blue can ease your mind while enjoying the dish. It is known that the chef of the restaurant wanted to evoke the Hawaiian beach through ramen, so he came up with this idea. Kipposhi’s blue ramen also includes pieces of chicken, fresh vegetables, and a boiled egg.
Matcha is one of the most popular flavors in Japan. That’s why Mensho Tokyo restaurant introduced matcha ramen to diners. Chef Tomoharu Shono doesn’t use common flavoring ingredients from miso, salt, soy sauce, etc., but uses chicken broth. The additional green tea powder creates a distinctive flavor and gives the broth a vibrant color. Toppings are added to make a tasty and beautiful ramen bowl.
Natto is a typical Japanese fermented soybean dish. This dish has a strong smell, so it is difficult for some people to eat, but once you can, you will be addicted.
To experience natto ramen, you can “knock knock” on Ramen Horiuchi. You can choose hot or cold noodles depending on your preference or the weather. Either type will be served with melted soft-boiled eggs and soy sauce, creating a good flavor that is more pleasing to those who don’t like fermented foods.