How to Eat Ramen for Foreign Tourists (8)  Toppings

How to Eat Ramen for Foreign Tourists (8) Toppings


Many toppings exist for various types of ramen.

Negi (green onion)
Negi is a topping found in almost all types of ramen. It is an indispensable part of ramen. Although they are often included in ramen from the start, many ramen restaurants also allow you to order leeks as an additional topping.

Menma (bamboo shoots)
Like leeks, menma is an essential ingredient in ramen. However, Kyushu-style tonkotsu ramen often does not contain menma. This is said to be because red ginger was used as a substitute for menma in Fukuoka Prefecture, where menma was hard to come by during the food shortage after the Pacific War.

Cha-shu (barbecued pork or chicken)
There are two types of cha-shu: one is included in the ramen from the beginning, and the other is not included unless ordered additionally. In the past, pork cha-shu was the most common type of cha-shu, but in recent years, the variety of cha-shu has become more diverse, including chicken cha-shu. Many restaurants have independently placed cha-shu noodles on their menus as cha-shu noodles with more cha-shu on top. Recently, some ramen stores have begun to serve roast beef instead of cha-shu.

Many ramen restaurants offer ajitama, which is a boiled egg dipped in sauce. Ajitama is a boiled egg dipped in soy source. In some cases, the eggs are served half-cooked. Some restaurants serve a boiled egg without dipping it in the sauce. Some ramen, such as Tokushima ramen, also includes a raw egg in the ramen. The type of egg varies, but it is rarely included in the ramen from the start, and many ramen restaurants require an additional order.


Nori (seaweed)
Nori can either be included in the ramen from the start or ordered as an add-on. Like menma, tonkotsu (pork bone) ramen does not often contain nori. On the other hand, soy sauce and tonkotsu ramen with a rich broth, such as Ie-kei Ramen, often include nori from the start.

The seaweed used in tsukemen and abura soba is usually chopped nori.

Bean sprouts are a classic vegetable to be added to ramen. It is an indispensable ingredient in shoyu ramen and miso ramen. In particular, the crunchy and refreshing taste of bean sprouts in tonkotsu shoyu ramen and other rich ramen allows you to drink the soup to the end without getting bored. However, some seafood-based ramen, such as shio ramen and niboshi ramen, as well as tonkotsu ramen, may not use bean sprouts.

Spinach goes well with shoyu ramen, and cabbage goes well with miso ramen.

Onions and chives may also be added to ramen. Hachioji Ramen in Tokyo is famous for adding chopped onions.

Corn goes well with miso ramen. This reason is probably that miso ramen originated in Sapporo and Hokkaido, a corn-producing region.

Red Ginger and Takana
Red ginger and hot spicy takana (leaf mustard) are used almost exclusively in tonkotsu (pork bone) ramen. Red ginger is sometimes served as white ginger without soaking in plum vinegar.

Garlic is offered free of charge at many ramen shops. In some cases, customers squeeze fresh garlic themselves and add it to their ramen.

Tokusei (special), Zenbu-nose (all on top)
When all toppings are ordered, they may be called “Tokusei (special)” or “Zenbu-nose (all on top).” Some ramen shops use names such as “Deluxe,” “DX,” or “SUPREME.”

In addition to regular soup noodles, “special” and “all toppings” are also available for tsukemen (dipping noodles).

The price of all toppings is the most expensive. If you have trouble ordering one by one or if you do not understand Japanese, ordering “Tokusei (special)” or “Zenbu-nose (all on top)” may be a good option.


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