How to Eat Ramen for Foreign Tourists (1) Shoyu ramen

How to Eat Ramen for Foreign Tourists (1) Shoyu ramen



Japanese ramen is one of the most popular dishes for foreign travelers. According to the Japan Tourism Agency's Survey of Foreign Visitor Consumption Trends in Japan (2019), meat dishes ranked first (26.7%) and ramen second (19.3%) as the most satisfying food and drink, confirming its popularity. Sushi (15.6%) and fish (12.6%) came in third and fourth, respectively.

As you know, ramen has its roots in the noodle cuisine of mainland China. It is said that noodle dishes from the Chinese mainland were introduced to Japan after the opening of ports in the late Edo period (Shimoda and Hakodate in 1854).

Since then, ramen has evolved in various ways, with each restaurant adding its unique Japanese arrangement to the dish. I am a ramen lover, eating about 100 ramen a year. I would like to comment on ramen from various perspectives so that foreign visitors can enjoy more delicious ramen in Japan.

In particular, the "how to order ramen" described in Part 4 of the third part of this article will be useful for foreign travelers who cannot read Japanese.

According to Tabelog, one of the largest gourmet food websites in Japan, only 0.9% of all ramen restaurants in Japan have English menus.

Furthermore, the last item in the third part, "Ramen consumption ranking and local specialty ramen in top cities," introduces cities with unexpectedly high ramen popularity. Cities with high ramen popularity are likely to have a variety of local specialty ramen restaurants that are more delicious and unique.


Shoyu (Soy Sauce) Ramen

Shoyu ramen originated in 1910 when it was offered by Rairai-ken in Asakusa. Along with shio ramen, shoyu ramen has the longest history of any ramen in Japan.

Shoyu ramen soup is made by simmering various ingredients, such as chicken stock, and finishing it with a dark soy sauce. Pepper or black pepper goes well with shoyu ramen.

Vinegar can also be added to shoyu ramen to give it a sour taste and a different flavor in a single bowl of ramen. I like adding vinegar to shoyu ramen, but since taste preferences vary from person to person, I recommend adding a small amount of vinegar at first to see how it tastes.

Pork cha shu pork, ajitama (seasoned egg), and menma (pickled bamboo shoots) are also good toppings for shoyu ramen. For vegetables, chopped green onions and boiled spinach go well with ramen.

Local specialty ramen" includes Asahikawa ramen (Hokkaido), Kitakata ramen (Fukushima Prefecture), Shirakawa ramen (Fukushima Prefecture), Stamina ramen (Ibaraki Prefecture), Sano ramen (Tochigi Prefecture), and Hachioji ramen (Tokyo), all of which are soy sauce ramen.

The aforementioned niboshi ramen, ago dashi ramen, and tonkotsu shoyu ramen are also derivatives of shoyu ramen.

Shoyu ramen is usually a light soup. On the other hand, tonkotsu shoyu ramen such as Ie-Kei Ramen (Kanagawa Prefecture) and Tsubame-Sanjo Back Fat Ramen (Niigata Prefecture) have a richer soup.







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