Ramen is so much more than the processed noodles that come in foil packets. When you order fresh-made ramen at a Japanese restaurant, it can truly be an incredible experience. So, what do you need to know to order ramen? Here are the key tips to follow.
Know Your Broths.
Some smaller ramen shops may just serve one signature broth. But most shops will have several broths for you to choose from. Knowing what each one is will allow you to choose wisely. Most often, you will see:
- Shoyu: This dark stock is made with a combination of proteins, such as pork, chicken, and seafood, and it's flavored with soy sauce.
- Shio: This light stock is made with chicken and vegetables, and it's seasoned with fish flakes.
- Tonkatsu: This rich stock is made from pork bones, which are boiled so long they make the stock creamy.
Check what toppings come with the order.
Most ramen restaurants include specific toppings with their ramen. These toppings vary from restaurant to restaurant. If the menu does not list them, ask your server. Once you know what toppings already come on the ramen, you can choose more wisely when adding extra toppings, if desired.
Try the pork belly.
If the ramen does not come with pork belly on top as a default, definitely pay the extra dollars to add it on. Pork belly is widely considered to be a delicious topping for ramen. This is especially true if you order tonkatsu broth. The pork just absorbs the broth and gives you such a rich mouthfeel. And the hot broth melts the fat in the pork belly just a little, bringing out its flavor. For this reason, many restaurants do put some pork belly on top of their ramen by default, but there are exceptions.
Don't go overboard on toppings.
Ramen is filling. You'll get a big, generous bowl of noodles, and the stock is quite filling too. So, resist the urge to overdo it when it comes to adding extra toppings. An extra topping or two—ones you really love—will be fine. Pick 8 or 10 extra toppings, and you might find yourself unable to finish your bowl, which is a shame since ramen doesn't work well as leftovers.
With the tips above, you can order well at a ramen restaurant. Remember to relax and enjoy the dish.
Visit a ramen restaurant if you would like to know more about ordering ramen.