A Beginner’s Guide to Ramen

Do you know RAMEN? A Beginner’s Guide

Ramen is one of Japan’s most well-known dishes but it’s still hard to find outside of Japan. For those who don’t reside in large cities, instant noodles may be the only way to experience a taste of ramen. Umai Crate is dedicated to bringing you a new selection of flavors and textures that aren’t offered in local grocery stores. Along with monthly noodles, we will give you tips and descriptions so that you can become a ramen pro from your own home.

To get you started, we will be starting with the basics of ramen. There are four main components: the noodles, the broth, the flavoring, and the toppings.

ramen contents

NOODLES – Alkaline water is used to create the springy texture of the noodles that the broth can cling to. There are many variations in size and texture and the broth will determine the type of noodle that the chef uses.

BROTH – The broth is usually made by simmering animal bones, fish, or seaweed. Combining different stock and vegetables give each ramen shop a signature flavor and the broth is considered one of the most important parts of ramen.

FLAVORING – The saltiness of the broth comes from three types of seasoning: salt, miso, or shoyu (soy sauce). Depending on the style, oils or fat can also be used to add extra flavor. Trendy ramen may use non-traditional ingredients as well.

TOPPINGS – The most common toppings are chopped green onions, seaweed, and a boiled egg. Depending on the style and region, slices of pork, bamboo, fish cakes, and vegetables can be added as well. There are endless possibilities for ramen toppings!

Because ramen is such a simple dish, it’s very easy to change the flavor by changing the ingredients. Outside of Japan, Tokyo (shoyu), Sapporo (miso), and Hakata (tonkotsu) ramen are the most well known flavors. However, Japan has 47 prefectures divided into 8 regions and almost every prefecture has their own style of ramen. Whether you prefer seafood to pork, chili to miso, or lighter broths to heavier ones, there is a regional flavor for any preference. There are also different styles of ramen such as tsukemen, a dish where the broth and noodles are separate, and hiyashi chukka, cold ramen.

Even in it’s instant form, ramen has many different variations of noodles and flavors. The fried-dehydrated noodles with a powder soup packet is what people tend to think of when it comes to instant noodles. Now, you can find vacuum sealed packs of noodles with concentrated soup packets that offers a richer flavor and texture. Spruce up a bowl with some fresh toppings and you can create your own ramen experience at home!

We’re excited to bring you another part of Japanese culture through our crates. Even if you’ve visited ramen shops in Japan or have them in your city, our crates will always ensure that you have Japan’s comfort food available in your pantry.

Sip, slurp, and enjoy!

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