10 Delicious Toppings for Japanese Ramen
Ramen noodles originally hailed from China but have become an incredibly popular food in Japan, as well. A hearty dish consisting of noodles in a hot broth with a variety of toppings, ramen can be found in every town and city in Japan, whether it be large chain stores or independent hole-in-the-wall eateries.
When buying a bowl of ramen, it is important to know that there are many different kinds you can get.
Typical Ramen Broth Bases
- Miso (soy bean paste). Miso ramen wasn't invented in Japan until the 1960s but is now considered one of the more common varieties. Miso is particularly popular in the Hokkaido region.
- Shoyu (soy sauce). Darker in color and tangy in flavor, shoyu ramen hails from the Tokyo area.
- Tonkotsu (pork bone). Delicious, thick, and meaty, tonkotsu is a popular base for ramen and originally came from the Kyushu area of Japan.
- Shio (salt). Shio ramen is clearer in color and is a common base for Chinese ramen as well. It's considered a more traditional type of ramen.
Toppings also come in a huge variety so every ramen experience is different. Here are ten common toppings you can find on Japanese ramen.
Seaweed is a healthy and common ingredient in Japanese food. You will often find it on top of ramen in neat, dark green squares. It's delicious when dipped into the broth. There are two main types of seaweed found in ramen:
- Wakame, which is sweeter and softer. It's also often found in miso soup.
- Nori, which is harder and crunchier and is a sort of "processed" version of seaweed. You will often find nori on onigiri rice balls and certain types of sushi.
Crunchy strips of bamboo go perfectly with a bowl of hot ramen. Locally called menma, bamboo is one of my favorite ramen toppings and is highly recommended!
Have You Tried Japanese Ramen?
3. Negi Onion
Negi onion (finely chopped scallions) is a refreshing addition to ramen to combat the saltiness of some other toppings. They're crunchy, delicious, and a yummy veggie part of the dish. Choosing negi or other greens is ideal if you're looking for a ramen dish that isn't too heavy or high in calories.
Chashu pork is an incredibly popular ramen topping. Depending on the restaurant, they will either serve thin strips or juicy thick pieces. The latter is just heaven for meat lovers, especially when it's cooked to melt in your mouth!
Eggs often come with ramen dishes but there is nearly always the option to add extra. There are two types of egg you can get:
- Kata-yude tamago (hard-boiled)
- Han-juku tamago (soft-boiled)
I personally love soft-boiled, which goes perfectly with some hot broth. Japanese eggs are often eaten soft-boiled or raw, and their high quality ensures there is no risk of food poisoning. I usually get an extra egg and save it for the end. Yum!
Naruto is a little fish cake sometimes found in ramen. They're easy to eat and their cute shape make them aesthetically pleasing as well as delicious.
Garlic can sometimes be ordered at no extra cost to crush and add to your ramen broth to give it a garlicky kick. Just be careful not to accidentally eat a piece whole!
Butter is less common but still found in some ramen restaurants. I've never ordered it, but I imagine it's yummy when it's melted into the hot broth and onto your noodles.
If you're a fan of corn, it's a good idea to get a handful of it on top of your ramen. It mixes in with the noodles and provides a pleasant crunch to your meal.
Beansprouts, or moyashi in Japanese, are another essential ramen topping! A big pile of crunchy beansprouts is just delicious with hot and salty ramen broth. Give it a try.
These aren't all of the toppings you can find on ramen, but they're the most common! There is nothing like a delicious bowl of noodles with your favorite ingredients to warm you up on a winter's day. If you're a fan of spicy food, you can also find ramen with chili peppers to give your meal a spicy kick. What is your favorite topping?
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