A Beginner's Guide to Ramen Styles
February 17, 2015
There are lots of varieties of ramen, and they’re all wildly delicious
Shio, which literally translates to “salt,” is lighter and less milky than tonkotsu. The stock is made with dried seafood and seaweed, making the end result briny and incredibly rich in umami.
If you’ve ever had miso soup, made with fermented bean paste, you’ll be familiar with the flavor of miso ramen. Brown and rich, it’s certainly high in umami, but lacks the unctuous texture of a tonkotsu ramen.
You’ll probably also see tsukemen on the menu at ramen shops. While not exactly a bowl of soup, it’s still a ramen style worth knowing. Order tsukemen and you’ll receive noodles and soup separately. The noodles are extra-wide, and the concentrated shoyu soup is rich, fishy, sweet and spicy, and slightly vinegary. Dip the noodles in the broth and you’re good to go.
Traditional Tokyo ramen uses a shoyu broth that’s seafood-heavy, but also integrates pork, chicken, and vegetables. Standard toppings include roast pork, minced pork, fish cake, nori, spinach, bamboo, garlic, corn, ginger, butter, and scallions.
Shoyu-based Kyoto ramen employs a pork and chicken-based broth, generally topped with roast pork, bamboo, scallions, nori, and the occasional pat of butter.
This famous ramen style is tonkotsu (pork)-based, and it’s known for being particularly rich and creamy. It’s topped with roast pork, scallions, and nori, and there’s generally a wide variety of toppings that the diner can add, including garlic, sesame seeds, pickled ginger, and mustard greens on the side.
This mild shio-based broth is typically made with chicken and pork bones, and toppings usually include roast pork, fish cake (naruto), scallions, spinach, nori, and bamboo.